Tourist Information Guide

Visitor's Guide To The Young Vic Theatre in London's Waterloo

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The Young Vic at night. Photo by Ellie Kurttz
The Young Vic at night. Photo by Ellie Kurttz
As you enter the Young Vic you will get a taste of their unorthodox approach from the plays that they show to the building they are housed in. The main entrance was once an old butchers shop - in respect to the butchers who made their livelihood there the chipped away old sign remains but mounted on top of it is a neon red sign welcoming you to the theatre. What lies inside is a bar and restaurant area that buzzes from day into the night with people who come to soak up the theatre's creative atmosphere, whether they have tickets to the play or not. There are three theatre spaces - each a modern blank canvas, ready to take on the personality of the show that will be staged there.

On this page you'll find an overview to the Young Vic and why it's worth a visit. We'll show you how to get to the Young Vic Theatre along with contact details (address, telephone number and official website). You will also find our advice on buying tickets and how to find out about what plays are showing whilst you are in town.

London Young Vic Theatre overview: what makes the theatre special

To understand the Young Vic you have to look at it in conjunction with its more grown-up counterpart - the Old Vic. The two theatres symbolise two different beliefs - if the Old Vic is about tradition and history, the Young Vic is about modernity and discovering what is fresh and new (for a guide to the Old Vic, see our Guide to the Old Vic theatre in London).

Young Vic Theatre in The Cut
Young Vic Theatre in The Cut

The Young Vic's beginnings give an insight into what they stand for - it was opened in 1970 by Laurence Olivier as a place where young directors and writers could showcase new work. The ethos of the theatre is still alive today and it is a place where you can go to see new works by up and coming writers and directors.

It was supposed to last for four years as a temporary venture, but due to its popularity, it is still running today.

At the start of this century the theatre looked in danger of having to close as the building was getting run down. Jude Law figure-headed a fundraising campaign to keep the theatre open. The refurbishment that was possible because if this is what you will see if you go to the theatre today. Pete Postlethwaite made his last theatre performance here before he died, as King Lear.

It offers an alternative to West End theatres - a more affordable (there are 10 pound tickets available for all shows in the main house), experimental theatre that offers something a little bit different if you are a tourist with a sense of adventure. Past examples include a South African remake of the Magic Flute and an opera version on the David Lynch film 'Lost Highway'.

The theatre is known for specialising in a wide range of performing arts - where other theatres might specialise in something like Shakespeare plays or musicals, it is possible to see virtually any kind of theatre performance at the Young Vic. They stage musicals, operas, plays or dance.

The venue has a lively bar and restaurant area that is visited by both people attending performances and those simply wanting to experience the atmosphere. The bar is known throughout London as a lively place for a night out.

Their alternative Christmas shows are some of the popular ones at the venue. Past performances have included Magic Flute and A Christmas Carol.

The Young Vic are famed for their strong links with the local community. For every show (regardless of ticket sales) 10% of the tickets are given away for free to members of the local community.

The venue has three theatre spaces, offering you a variety of up to three show options at any one time.

The Young Vic tends to attract a younger crowd alongside the usual theatre-going crowd. Events attract children as young as five-year-olds (in the past special plays have been staged that are pitched specifically at junior school children) to teenagers and theatre-goers of all ages. This is partly due to the nature of the plays that are often staged here, the fact that free tickets are often given away to school children, and because of the theatre's name. This often makes for a more vocal and animated crowd during shows.

The Young Vic's Facebook page has lots of interactive features that you can take a look at in relation to the plays that are showing.

How to get theatre tickets

If you want to go to the Young Vic Theatre to see a play, you may have less difficulty getting a ticket on the day of the performance than theatres such as the Old Vic. However, it is still worth booking in advance if there is a particular play that you would like to see. To book tickets for the Young Vic Theatre, you have a number of options:

Box Office: You can buy tickets at the venue when it is open (you will need to contact the venue directly to find out when they are open as this will vary depending on what plays are showing - see contact details below).

Website: Head to the booking section of the official website (see link below) and book online.

Telephone: You can call the Young Vic Theatre and book your tickets over the phone on the number below.

tip To get the 10 pound tickets it is important to buy them as quickly as possible once they have gone on sale. You will need to keep an eye on the website (link below) and check their programme of upcoming events - here you will find the date that the tickets go on sale.

Young Vic Theatre Booking Line
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7922 2922
Website: Official Booking page on the Young Vic Theatre website

Opening times

The Operating hours of the Young Vic Theatre will differ depending on what plays are showing and the length of the play. If you would like to find out the opening times during your visit, check the official website (link below).

Contact details

Young Vic Theatre
66 The Cut

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7922 2922

Email: [email protected]
Website: Official Young Vic Theatre Website

Closest tube

Tube Tube: Waterloo (Black Line / Northern Line and Brown Line / Bakerloo Line and Grey Line / Jubilee Line and Pink Line / City Line)

On exiting Waterloo tube station you will be in the Waterloo train station main building (to find out more about the train station, see our Guide to Waterloo Train Station in London.

Once you have arrived in the station building, head towards a large Marks and Spencer's Simply Food supermarket. You will find a station exit to the right of the Marks and Spencer's shop. Go down an escalator that will lead you out of the station building. You will exit at the large Waterloo Road. Cross Waterloo Road and head to your right. In less than one minute you will reach a street called The Cut on your left. Head down the Cut, walking for about one minute - The Young Vic theatre will be on your left about half way down the street.

Restaurants in the area

Livebait restaurant near The Young Vic
Livebait restaurant near The Young Vic

Inside the Young Vic theatre you will find a bar and restaurant area that will rival any of the other eating and drinking options around the theatre. It is called "The Cut" and is home to a restaurant, bar and café. They are open throughout the day serving coffees, laidback foods and well-made drinks. You will find a bar and restaurant area sprawling throughout the ground floor - there are large tables where you can sit and socialize with friends. Upstairs you will find another bar area and even a first-floor outdoor terrace. For a guide to the bar and restaurant, including opening times and menu, see the Official The Cut Bar website.

If you would like to look slightly further afield, The Cut (the street on which the Young Vic is situated) offers a generous selection of places to grab a bite. Some examples include the following: for meat-focused gastropub cuisine, try The Anchor and Hope in Waterloo.

For oysters and other fresh seafood treats, try out Livebait Restaurant.

If you are watching a play at the Young Vic you are at the heart of Waterloo and in easy walking distance of a wide selection of restaurants. To get a general overview to what Waterloo has to offer, see our Guide to Restaurants in Waterloo.

If you are going to see a play, it is worth keeping an eye out for the places that offer pre-theatre and post-theatre dining options and deals. You will find out more about this at the link above.

Also, don't forget that when you are at the Young Vic, you can walk to the banks of the River Thames (the Southbank area) in about ten minutes. At the Southbank, there is a selection of places to enjoy breakfast lunch or dinner. Choices include: Canteen Restaurant, Strada Restaurant, Ping Pong and Giraffe Restaurant.

Parking in the area

The Young Vic Theatre does not offer a car park service. Therefore, driving to the theatre can be inconvenient. However, you could head to one of the car parks at the Southbank. For more information on the parking options, see the Southbank Official Website Car Park page.

The Young Vic Theatre offers a cultural experience for both theatre buffs and for those who are new to theatrical adventures. The atmosphere in the theatre buzzes every evening, with both people who are here to see one of the plays and those who have just popped in for a drink or a bite to eat. If you like trying out things that are new and different, make sure that you don't miss the opportunity to head to the Young Vic during your trip to London.

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