Andrew Scott and Sheila Atim Support The Old Vic

Andrew Scott and Sheila Atim Support The Old Vic

The Old Vic has placed a time capsule in the ground that will remain in the foundations of the new Backstage building, currently under construction. Old Vic Trustee Sheila Atim and Andrew Scott were both present to witness the time capsule being buried.

Items in the time capsule included a piece of lighting equipment signed by Dame Judi Dench, part of the auditorium’s red velvet seats and famous chandelier, signed show programmes and show props, amongst other things representing The Old Vic’s past and present.

The Old Vic’s 205-year-old building is expanding its footprint for the first time in its history, creating a new six storey building for creativity, education and community. The new building called Backstage will include a cafe-workspace, studio theatre, Clore Learning Centre, Writers’ Room and Script Library.

Sheila Atim said: The Old Vic is a special building and very dear to my heart. Having performed here and supported as a Trustee, I am proud of both the onstage work and the theatre’s commitment to sharing joy and enrichment through the arts. Their work through free-to-access education and community programmes and emerging talent support reaches 5,000 people a year. The Backstage building offers the chance to house and nurture this work, cementing The Old Vic’s ability to invigorate and inspire – offering theatre for all long into the future.’

Laura Stevenson, Executive Director of The Old Vic, said: We are delighted to have started work on the Backstage building which will expand The Old Vic by almost a quarter and, crucially, allow us to increase our education and community activities to reach at least double the number of people we reach today. This new building will give vital space for developing artists, writers and performers, be a welcoming hub for the local communities of Lambeth and Southwark and give thousands of children and young people the opportunity to come to the theatre, often for the first time. We don’t know when – or even if – this time capsule will be opened, but by burying it today, we preserve it as a piece of our history whilst looking ahead to a future where anyone can experience, make and benefit from theatre.’

Works are underway for the new building, which is due to open in autumn 2025. The Architect and Principal Designer are Haworth Tompkins.

To learn more visit

Sheila Atim, Laura Stevenson, Matthew Warchus and Andrew Scott with the Time Capsule on the building site — credit Manuel Harlan