Kevin Spacey appointed director of Old Vic

Story by Jack Foley

OSCAR-winning actor, Kevin Spacey, is set to continue his love affair with London’s West End theatre after being named director of the Old Vic Theatre Company.

The appointment, announced on Wednesday, February 5, 2002, was marked with a special fundraising concert in aid of the theatre, in which stars including Elvis Costello, Sting and Sinead O’Connor performed the songs of Sir Elton John.

Spacey, who appeared at the Old Vic in 1998, in the highly-acclaimed The Iceman Cometh, and who is also a trustee of the 185-year-old venue, promised that he would return to the stage in the very near future, as well as drawing in some big-name talent.

He has also pledged to make a ‘significant’ time commitment for the job - although he does not intend to give up making movies. He maintains that theatre is now his ‘primary allegiance’.

The star of movies such as American Beauty and The Usual Suspects intends to appear on stage at least twice, as well as directing, and claims that he has not underestimated the level of commitment the project is going to require.

He told a press conference on Wednesday: "It is something that I feel deeply about, have put over two years of thought towards and, frankly, is something I am utterly overjoyed at having reached a decision upon."

Spacey has, for some time, been in love with the Old Vic, having been taken to the Southwark-based theatre during a childhood holiday.

His appointment was described by theatre chairman, Sir Elton John, as fantastic news.

He said: "Kevin's talent is exceptional, but what has truly inspired me is his passion for, and commitment to, this theatre. I know that under his leadership, a permanent company at the theatre will bring a totally new dynamic so that the Old Vic remains one of the most important theatres in the world."

The concert which followed Wednesday's announcement is expected to have raised over £700,000 towards theatre funds, with members of the audience paying up to £1,000 each for tickets.

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