The new cafe is designed by Lauren Johns, who with her partner Jules Porter designed Milk in Balham and Fields in Clapham. Johns is also an occasional actress who appeared in new Old Vic artistic director Matthew Warchus’s hit film Pride.
She told the Evening Standard she got the gig after a chance encounter with Warchus in Fields: “I recognised him and we got talking. He said how much he liked the place and it was his local. A little while later we got an email from him saying he wanted to think about changing the Pit Bar and could we come and see him.”
Penny is named after the Penny Lectures held at the Old Vic in 1882; they cost a penny and were designed to encourage new thinking and ideas.
According to press material: “The space will be inclusive and functional. During the day it will be a place to meet, have good coffee and/or brunch over a meeting, but will then seamlessly transition into a place to drink modern and engaging wines and grab something delicious to eat.”
The Old Vic’s front of house spaces are also being “refreshed”, marking the start of a five-year project to completely restore the historic Grade II listed theatre.
Penny opens in September. Its opening hours will be 8am-1am Monday to Wednesday, 8am-2am Thursday to Friday and 10am-2am on Saturdays.