It also stated that the seating capacity was 2,800. After a very checkered career it was again opened by Miss Emma Cons as the Royal Victoria Coffee Music Hall for the presentation of wholesome Variety and Ballad Concerts. Miss Cons' aim was to provide good and cultured entertainment for the people of South London, a change from the conditions under which t'hey worked and lived. She was succeeded by her niece Lilian Baylis and there then commenced 39 years of marvellous endeavour that was to put the Theatre and its Company of'' His Majesty's Servants'' on the very top pinnacle of Thespian Art. Lilian, as she was known and will always be remembered, gradually improved the presentations on more and more cultural lines. Her work and zeal was such that Oxford University conferred on her the Honorary Degree of Bachelor of Arts and her passing in 1937 was a deep loss to the Company and the South London patrons whom she dearly loved. During the last war the Theatre suffered severe damage in 1941 by enemy action and was closed until November 14th, 1950, when it re-opened having been entirely re-furnished in its traditional Victorian style under the guidance of the architect Douglas W. Rowntree, F.R.I.B.A. To Dame Edith Evans fell the honour of speaking the first lines, a prologue by Christopher Hassall and we quote son1e of the lines.
'' This is Lilian's day, From war time wreck, refresh' d with paint and brick Rises no Phoenix but the fabl'd Vic, The new Vic yet the same Vic as of old Resplendent in her plush and native gold ' '
There is little alteration to the Auditorium save with the proscenium which has been cleverly designed by the French architect Pierre Sonrel, D.P.L.G., which gives to the extensive forestage a pleasing surround and introduces the two side doorway entrances to the f orestage so beloved of the students of the early English tl1eatre. As in 1819 it again has its'' extensive machinery and mechanical changes '' for there is an ingenious oval-shaped lift in its apron stage.
The lighting control room at the Old Vic is situated at the bacl<. o.f' the d1~ess circle. The observation port may be seen over the centre section of tlie desk.