Old Vic Tunnels closure due to funding shift

The Old Vic Tunnels events venue under Waterloo Station will close on 15 March after three years in operation.

The tunnels will close next month
The tunnels will close next month

The disused railway tunnels opened in 2009 and have since hosted events including Wahaca’s Day of the Dead festival and a fundraiser by former US President Bill Clinton. The venue was voted number nine in Event's Top 20 Venues poll, published in the November/December issue of the magazine.

The Old Vic Theatre leases the tunnels from British Rail as a not-for-profit enterprise. Event understands it has been reviewing its plans since the start of the year. The majority of staff at the venue are freelance.

The theatre told Event it wanted to concentrate its resources and funding on other projects like its theatre education initiatives.

A spokesperson said: "There was never a longevity plan, the project emerged organically and was originally meant to be a one-off event. A space like the tunnels is a huge undertaking. It’s a complicated venue and a big commitment resource-wise. To keep the theatre programming fresh and new, we want to look at other projects we are working on."

Hamish Jenkinson, creative director of the tunnels, told Event the project had been "a three-year success" and added "all good things must come to an end".

Caterer The Recipe has supplied Christmas parties at the tunnels for the last two years. John Stockton, managing director of The Recipe, said: "We are very disappointed to learn that the tunnels will be closing because we were looking forward to working with them again this December after building up a Christmas party business at the tunnels. We had every reason to believe that this year would have been more successful than the years before."

Event professionals reacted to the news with surprise and sadness on Twitter. Production and AV company Metro Broadcast tweeted: "Sorry to hear that @oldvictunnels are closing. It was a really cool, unusual space there, a sad day for the city." Theatre producer James Quaife tweeted: "It's a great shame as it was such an exciting venue."

What do you think about the tunnels closing? Do you have any more information? Comment below and let us know.

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