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London’s Old Vic Teams with Claire Foy, Matt Smith and Bernadine Evaristo on Major Audience Initiative

The Crown Series 2 World Premiere
Jo Davidson/SHM/REX/Shutterstock

London theater The Old Vic has unveiled a major initiative to connect with audiences amid social distancing, including an educational hub supported by Claire Foy and Matt Smith and a new monologue commission for Booker Prize-winning “Girl, Woman, Other” author Bernadine Evaristo.

The “Your Old Vic” initiative includes the launch of an online Old Vic Education Hub with resources, how-to guides and interviews, supported by Hub Ambassadors Claire Foy and Matt Smith.

Meanwhile, Evaristo’s new monologue commission will celebrate the country’s National Health Service (NHS). It comes as the Old Vic says it is planning a major artistic celebration of the NHS, from inception to present day, which is currently in development for 2021.

The theater is also set to make several of its archive recordings available for free starting with “A Monster Calls,” as part a first step to share productions digitally with audiences.

First seen on stage in 2018, the Sally Cookson-directed production, featuring the original cast, will go live at 7 p.m. BST on June 5, and will be available to watch until June 11.

The Old Vic has also started a new podcast collaboration with the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff, Wales, called “Playcrush,” hosted by Joe Murphy as he talks to well-known names about their favourite plays.

Other strands of the initiative include online youth employment and training scheme, Front Line, which teaches customer service training, CV skills, cover letter writing and interview technique plus mentoring sessions and task work.

Meanwhile, Creatives’ Corner hosted on The Old Vic’s Instagram Live will see playwright Ella Hickson, an Old Vic associate artist, discuss theater making with emerging creative talent.

Artistic director Matthew Warchus said: “We seem to be turning a corner with the government’s conditional plan to reopen society, but we can expect events like theater, which involve mass gatherings, will be amongst the last to return. There’s clearly still some way to go before we can resume performances from our stage.”

U.K. theaters remain closed until the end of June. Government said earlier this week that leisure venues, such as cinemas and theaters, will be among the businesses that are last to open, from July 4 onwards.