Old Vic, London repertory company and theater. The Old Vic theater opened in 1818 as the Coburg, and was renamed the Royal Victoria in 1833, soon familiarized to the Old Vic. In 1914 it became a Shakespearean repertory company organized by Lillian Baylis; by 1923 the entire stage works of Shakespeare had been presented. After Baylis's death in 1937, other directors such as Michel St. Denis and Michael Benthall used the space for productions and actor training. From 1963–76 it was the temporary home of the National Theatre of Great Britain (see Royal National Theatre). Briefly closed due to funding cuts, it reopened in 1983. Again threatened by lack of funds, it was purchased and preserved by a charitable trust in 1998. In 2003 Sir Elton John became the theater's president, a restoration drive was organized, and the formation a new Old Vic company was announced. Directed by the American actor Kevin Spacey, the group is intended showcase new theatrical talent.