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New Inspiring Visitors announced this week for Spring 2018: Gecko, simple8, Frantic Assembly and Freckle Productions

Bristol Old Vic today announced the inspiring visitors that will head to the Theatre in Spring 2018. Priority booking will open on Tuesday 10 October, with tickets available to the general public on Wednesday 11 October.

Combining movement, imagery and provocative narratives in Gecko’s trademark style, The Wedding is inspired by the complexities of human nature; the struggle between love and anger, creation and destruction, community and isolation.

Multi award-winning ensemble simple8 join forces with director Simon Dormandy(Julius Caesar) to transport us to Imperial India, conjuring up the elephants and caves, courthouses and temples with the simplest and boldest means. Full of humour and rich humanity, but with vast philosophical and political scope, A Passage To India is one of the great novels of the 20th century and simple8’s thrilling new adaptation reimagines it for contemporary Britain.

Featuring Frantic Assembly’s celebrated physicality, Things I Know To Be True is a complex and intense study of the mechanics of a family that is both poetic and brutally frank. As beautifully touching as it is funny and bold, it tells the story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings struggling to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations. Co-produced with State Theatre Company South Australia, Andrew Bovell’s play is directed by Scott Graham and Geordie Brookman.

Under the sea, out on the farm and into the jungle, terrific tales from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s best-loved titles are woven together with live music, puppetry and a whole host of colourful characters in Tidder and Other Terrific Tales, “a masterpiece” (Broadway Baby) suitable for all the family. Funky moves, toe tapping tunes and giggles are guaranteed from Freckle Productions, the team behind smash-hits Stick Man and The Gruffalo! Snap up your tickets, it’s sure to sell-out.

Listings

The Wedding
Presented by Gecko
17-20 Jan
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
7.30pm, 2.30pm (Sat mat)
£24-£12
Tickets: www.bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877

A Passage To India
Presented by Royal & Derngate, Northampton and simple8 Theatre Company
30 Jan – 3 Feb
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
7.30pm, 2.30pm (Sat mat)
£29-£10
Tickets: www.bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877

Things I Know To Be True
Presented by Frantic Assembly
6-10 Feb
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
7.30pm, 2.30pm (Sat mat)
£29-£10
Tickets: www.bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877

Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales
Presented by Freckle Productions
15-18 Feb
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
4.30pm (15-18 Feb)
10.30am and 1.30pm (17-18 Feb)
£12.50, £45 family ticket
Tickets: www.bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877
 

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Bristol Old Vic confirms groundbreaking musical The Grinning Man will transfer to West End!

Doing the Triple: Bristol Old Vic up for Three prestigious UK Theatre Awards

The Grinning Man, nominated for two UK Theatre Awards, Lucy Briggs-Owen nominated for The Rivals
The Grinning Man, nominated for two UK Theatre Awards, Lucy Briggs-Owen nominated for The Rivals

The Grinning Man, nominated for two UK Theatre Awards, Lucy Briggs-Owen nominated for The Rivals

Bristol Old Vic is today celebrating three nominations in the UK Theatre Awards 2017. The phenomenal new musical The Grinning Man from director Tom Morris, picks up two nominations, with Best Performance in a Musical for lead Louis Maskell and a Best Design nomination for Jon Bausor. While the sparkling co-production The Rivals (Bristol Old Vic, Citizens Theatre and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse) also receives a nomination for best supporting performance for Lucy Briggs-Owen.

Speaking today, Executive Producer Chloe Elwood said:

The Grinning Man was by far the most ambitious and creatively daring production of our 250th anniversary season. It perfectly encapsulated the creative ethos of Bristol Old Vic and featured a constellation of talents. We’re delighted that the phenomenal Louis Maskell has been recognised for his work in creating the role of Grinpayne, and that the visionary Jon Bausor is similarly acknowledged for leading the design team who created the world he inhabited.”

“Lucy Briggs-Owen completely transformed the way in which you viewed the character of Lydia Languish in the brilliant revival of The Rivals from director Dominic Hill. Lucy is an actress of fierce talent and creativity and her performance opened up this 18th-century play to a whole new generation of theatre goers. It goes without saying, she was also hysterically funny and a joy to watch.”

Chloe Elwood continued: “We are thrilled whenever the work we create here in Bristol is recognised on a national level. These nominations are a lovely acknowledgement of the extraordinary 250th anniversary year we had in 2016 which was shared by so many people in Bristol.  We’re proud to be flying the flag for the city”.

The UK Theatre Awards celebrate regional theatre achievements both on and off stage in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They are recognised as the regional equivalent to the Olivier Awards for productions that take place outside London. Winners will be announced on the 15 October at an awards ceremony taking place at Guildhall in central London.

Bristol wins big at Edinburgh Fringe – Bristol Old Vic Ferment supported shows triumphant at iconic festival

Bristol Old Vic is heralding a bumper year of success for Bristol and South West artists who have each been supported by the theatre’s Ferment initiative – a year round quest to find, support and nurture local talent. Ferment provides local artists with an opportunity to explore their theatrical ideas in an ongoing dialogue with audiences and recent projects have proved a triumph with critics and audiences north of the border at the iconic Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Ferment supported successes this year include:
  • A Fringe First and The Stage Edinburgh Awards for Made in Bristol success story The  Wardrobe Ensemble with Education, Education, Education, which returns to Bristol Old Vic in November
  • Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas’ Palmyra wins Total Theatre Award while their second piece, Eurohouse is labelled a must-see
  • Viki Browne’s Help! tackles mental health at the Fringe and heralded a 4-star hit.
  • Idiot Child’s What if the plane falls out of the sky? reviewed as “a wee gem of a show”
  • Christopher Harrisson’s The North! The North! scores a flurry of brilliant reviews and described as “intelligent, exhilarating and strikingly original and moving”

Each of the shows has been supported in bespoke ways by Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment initiative – whether though financial support, free rehearsal space, creative feedback or a professional platform during the highly respected and often imitated Ferment Fortnights which occur each January and July at Bristol Old Vic. These nights allow work at various stages of development to be presented in front of an audience for feedback before being taken to the next stage.

By inviting artists whose work spans genre and form to experiment, play and make the theatre of tomorrow, Ferment continues to develop these vital local voices by offering tailored advice to creatives both emerging and established, and works closely with them through the development process.

Emma Bettridge, Ferment Producer said: “I insufferably bang on about the importance of supporting an artists’ process. For an artist to be given the space around an idea to let it breathe, and for Ferment to be able to properly support that process, the idea really does become the very best it can be. I’m so, so thrilled with the work we’ve backed this year. These works are proudly shining in a sea of over 3000 other shows A DAY. This is epic. It is proof that the recipe works; discover the idea, flesh it out, give it space and support and time and belief and there you have it – work of exceptional quality standing tall amongst the very best out there.

Bristol audiences can see The Wardrobe Ensemble’s award-winning Education, Education, Education at Bristol Old Vic this November.

Education, Education, Education runs from 1-4 November at Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
Tickets £15-£10. 7.30pm 

www.bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877

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What the critics said…
PALMYRA
Total Theatre Award WinnerInnovation, Experimentation and Playing with Form.
“Smashing fable about power, ego and war” 4 stars, The Guardian – Lyn Gardner
“Sublime” 4 stars, Whatsonstage.com
“Weird, wonderful” 4 stars, The StageEDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION
The Wardrobe Ensemble won The Stage Edinburgh Award for the second year running.
Fringe First award for Education, Education Education. 
“something special” 4 stars, Time Out – Andrzej Lukowski
“Smartly entertaining” 4 stars, The Guardian- Lyn Gardner
“slick, polished and highly entertaining” The Stage, 4 stars- Natasha Tripney

WHAT IF THE PLANE FALLS OUT OF THE SKY?
“a wee gem of a show” The List, 4 stars
“endearing” The Stage, 3 stars
“Hilariously absurd” Exeunt

HELP!
“do yourself a favour and get down to see Help!” 4 stars, Broadway Baby
“a brave and refreshing production” 4 stars, To Do List

EUROHOUSE
wonderfully playful, intimate and ultimately moving show” 4 stars, The Guardian – Lyn Gardner
timely and refreshing” 4 stars, The Reviews Hub

THE NORTH! THE NORTH!
intelligent, exhilarating, strikingly original and moving, I cannot recommend this play enough” 4 stars, Edfest Magazine
It’s a darkly twisted version of a revenge story… with enough mythical aspects and a good dollop of humour to lift it far above the pack” 5 stars, British Theatre Guide

Full cast announced as rehearsals begin for blistering new production of The Caretaker this Autumn

Cast of The Caretaker
Cast of The Caretaker

Cast of The Caretaker

Bristol Old Vic and Royal & Derngate, Northampton announce the full cast for The Caretaker which will begin rehearsals today.

Patrice Naiambana, previously announced in the iconic role of Davies, is joined by dynamic young actors David Judge and Jonathan Livingstone, bringing this radical revival of Pinter’s classic to life for a new generation. The vulnerability and aggression in the homeless Davies and the bitter wrangling between the brothers who offer him a kind of asylum rings out of the play with startling clarity for the present-day social tensions between those who feel they “belong” and those who do not.

Jonathan Livingstone will play Aston. Since graduating from RADA in 2008, Jonathan has made a name for himself on stage, working with director Daniel Kramer as Benvolio in the Shakespeare Globe production of Romeo and Juliet, in the Young Vic’s Now We Are Here (director Ian Rickson)the National Theatre’s Our Country’s Good, the RSC’s Taming of the Shrew and Cheek by Jowl’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. He was also part of the National Theatre/West End production of War Horse and is best known on screen for the role of Boy Tracy in E4’s Chewing Gum.

David Judge will play Mick. A graduate of the E17 acting school and the National Youth Theatre, David went on to be a regular in the Channel 4 series Hollyoaks in the role of Danny Valentine. His film and TV work includes the UK series Prey and the film 28 Weeks Later. Stage work includes Fatherland and Scuttlers (both Manchester Royal Exchange), Eleventh Capital (Royal Court) and A Taste of Honey (Sheffield Crucible).

Patrice Naiambana has most recently starred in the sell-out National Theatre production Barber Shop Chronicles. Describing himself as an “African performing artist from Sierra Leone”, his previous work includes the title role in Kathryn Hunter’s Othello, Warwick the Kingmaker in Michael Boyd’s Olivier Award-winning Histories Cycle Ensemble, and Aslan in Adrian Noble’s The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe, all for the RSC. He has played in Steven Berkoff’s Coriolanus and Marcello Magni’s Tell Them I am Young and Beautiful.  Patrice is also the founder and facilitator of Tribal Soul Arts, an organisation which creates innovative and functional arts in collaboration with citizens and communities to bring about positive social transformation.

The production will be directed by Christopher Haydon, his first major production since his celebrated tenure at London’s Gate Theatre (Grounded, Image of An Unknown Young Woman, The Convert). Christopher’s previous credits include Twelve Angry Men at Birmingham Rep and in the West End, and Grounded (Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, Studio Theatre Washington DC, national and international tour) which won a Fringe First and Best Production in the Off West End Awards. He reunites with Designer Oliver Townsend for The Caretaker, after previously collaborating on Grounded (Best Set Design, Off West End Awards).

The Caretaker will open at Bristol Old Vic running from 9 – 30 September with Press Night on Thursday 14 September. It then tours to Nuffield Southampton Theatres (10-14 Oct) before a run at Royal & Derngate, Northampton from 17 – 28 October.

Listings information:

The Caretaker
a Bristol Old Vic and Royal & Derngate, Northampton co-production
Writer Harold Pinter
Director Christopher Haydon
Designer Oliver Townsend
Cast: David Judge (Mick), Jonathan Livingstone (Aston) and Patrice Naiambana (Davies).

9-30 Sep
NATIONAL PRESS NIGHT: THURSDAY 14 SEP AT 7PM

Bristol Old Vic, King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED
7.30pm2.30pm (selected Thu & Sat mats)
£31.50 – £7.50*
Box Office: 0117 987 7877 or online www.bristololdvic.org.uk
* from 17 July 2017,  Bristol Old Vic will no longer apply booking fees

10-14 Oct
Nuffield Southampton Theatres, NST Campus, University Road, Southampton SO17 1TR
7.30pm2.30pm (Sat mat)
Tickets starting at £27, £22, £17, £10
Book tickets: 023 8067 1771 or online www.nstheatres.co.uk

17-28 Oct
PRESS NIGHT: Wed 18 Oct at 7pm
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP
7.45pm2.30pm (Thu & Sat mats)
£10 to £30**
Box Office:  01604 624811 or online www.royalandderngate.co.uk
** A charge of £3 applies for all transactions over £15.
Does not apply to Groups, Friends or Disabled Patrons, and is per transaction, not per ticket.

West End transfer announced for acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production Long Day’s Journey into Night

Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville 

Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville 

Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville 


Following its sold out run as part of Bristol Old Vic’s 250th Anniversary season, Jeremy Ironsand Lesley Manville will reprise their roles in Richard Eyre’s acclaimed production of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Considered one of the most powerful American plays of the 20th century, the production will play a strictly limited 10 week West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre from 27 January to 8 April 2018.

The Tyrones’ summer home, August 1912. Haunted by the past but unable to face the truth of the present, the Tyrones and their two sons test the bonds of a family caught in the cycle of love and resentment. As day turns to night and the family indulge in their vices, the truth unravels leaving behind a quartet of ruined lives. 

Jeremy Irons said “Over forty years ago I saw Laurence Olivier play James Tyrone. I never dreamed I would one day be given the opportunity to play him myself. I am so glad I have the chance to work again with Richard Eyre and Lesley Manville on this, one of America’s greatest plays.”

Lesley Manville said “Shortly after Richard Eyre and I worked together on Ghosts he asked me if I’d be interested in doing Long Day’s Journey Into Night with him at Bristol. Ghosts is a big, emotional and epic play but not even that prepared me for the challenge of O’Neill’s masterpiece which is, by far, the hardest play I have ever done. But at the same time thrilling. I cannot wait to play those scenes again to a wider audience. O’Neill is a genius and Richard Eyre’s production gives nothing but credit to this classic American family saga.”

Richard Eyre said “I’m excited that I’m having the opportunity to revive a production that I loved. We had a wonderful time doing this play in Bristol and it’s marvellous to be able to share the production with audiences in the West End.”

Jeremy Irons plays James Tyrone. A Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate, he began his professional career on the Bristol Old Vic stage in 1969. After years of success in the West End, Irons made his Broadway debut in 1984 opposite Glenn Close in The Real Thing, which won him a Tony Award. An internationally renowned actor, he is well known not only for films such as The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Mission, Reversal of Fortune, Being Julia and Lolita, but also for the variety of his work – everything from The Lion King to The Borgias. He is one of only a handful of actors to have won an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy for his work.

Lesley Manville plays Mary Tyrone. An award-winning actress, she is a frequent collaborator with director Mike Leigh, winning the London Film Critics’ Circle Award for British Actress of the Year for her work in both his 2002 film All or Nothing and his 2010 film Another Year, for which she also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress. Manville’s extensive stage career includes roles in Top Girls (Royal Court 1990), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (RSC 1986), His Dark Materials (National Theatre 2005), Pillars of the Community (National Theatre 2005). and Six Degrees of Separation (Old Vic 2010). In 2012, she was nominated for an Olivier Award for her role in Leigh’s play Grief (National Theatre 2011), before going on to win the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Actress for her role in the revival of Ghosts (Almeida 2013) directed by Richard Eyre.

Director Richard Eyre is widely considered to be the UK’s greatest living director. Eyre was director of the National Theatre between 1987 and 1997. His most noted theatre productions include Hamlet (twice), with Jonathan Pryce at the Royal Court in 1980 and Daniel Day-Lewis in 1989; Richard III with Ian McKellen; King Lear with Ian Holm; Henrik Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman with Paul Scofield, Vanessa Redgrave and Eileen Atkins; and numerous new plays by David Hare, Tom Stoppard, Trevor Griffiths, Howard Brenton, Alan Bennett, Christopher Hampton and Nicholas Wright. He also directed the musical Mary Poppins in London and on Broadway. He has been the recipient of numerous directing awards including five Olivier Awards, including an Olivier Lifetime Achievement Award, and awards from The Directors’ Guild of Great Britain, the South Bank Show, the Evening Standard and the Critics’ Circle. In November 2013, he once again won the Evening Standard Award for Best Director for Ibsen’s Ghosts starring Lesley Manville at the Almeida Theatre. This production transferred to the West End and to Broadway.

Richard Eyre is joined by set designer Rob Howell who has designed sets and costumes for numerous plays and musicals in the UK, in London and on Broadway over a 20-year period. Howell has won three Olivier Awards for Best Set Design. The most recent of these was for his work on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda the Musical, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.

International Lighting Designer Peter Mumford has been working in theatre for over 40 years. He is a two-time Olivier Award winner, with work in the West End including Top Hat, Much Ado About Nothing, An Ideal Husband, The Lion in Winter and Absent Friends. He has recently worked with Chichester, Sheffield Crucible, Royal Court, Almeida and the Peter Hall Company.

Sound Designer John Leonard ran the sound department at Bristol Old Vic from 1970 to 1976. He went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 1984 he was made the company’s first head of sound and an associate artist of the company. He works regularly for the Almeida Theatre in London, for whom he is Sound Associate, as well as the National Theatre and in the West End.

LISTINGS
LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
by Eugene O’Neill
Director Richard Eyre
Designer Rob Howell
Lighting Design Peter Mumford
Sound Design John Leonard
Wyndham’s Theatre
Charing Cross Rd,
London WC2H 0DA

27 January – 8 April 2018
Opening night – 6 February

There will be no matinee performance on Saturday 27 January

Tuesday to Saturday evening performances at 7.30pm
Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2pm
Wyndham’s Theatre Box Office: 0844 482 5120
www.LongDaysThePlay.com
Tickets from £12.50
Facebook: LongDaysThePlay
Twitter: @LongDaysThePlay

A year away from revealing the new foyer and studio: Bristol Old Vic Autumn season announced, new Associate Artists announced + booking fees scrapped

Bristol Old Vic
Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic

September marks the 12-month countdown to the completion of Bristol Old Vic’s redeveloped front of house and Studio theatre. While builders focus on creating a welcoming space for the whole of Bristol to enjoy in 2018, the theatre is also preparing a warm onstage welcome. This autumn sees a flagship revival of a Pinter Classic, four Christmas productions to blow the socks off your festive season and a fanfare welcome to some of the Associate Artists whose work you will be able to see at Bristol Old Vic over the next five years.

Flagship production of The Caretaker

The autumn season is kicked off to a flying start with the award-wining director Christopher Haydon’s The Caretaker, his first major production since his celebrated tenure as Artistic Director of London’s Gate Theatre. This blistering new interpretation will star great RSC actor Patrice Naiambana as ‘Davies’, currently wowing audiences and critics alike at the National Theatre in Barber Shop Chronicles.

Christmas for everyone

Adding to the welcome, Bristol Old Vic has made sure there is a Christmas treat for everyone…and we mean everyone. You’re never too young with Bristol Old Vic’s first babe-in-arms show Ice Ice Baby, giving the smallest babes and toddlers a gentle introduction to the sights and sounds of theatre magic at The Lantern at Colston Hall. For 3 to 7 year olds, the legendary Kid Carpet will be creating Christmas chaos (again at The Lantern) with Snow GlobeFor adults and brave children alike, the exquisite The Little Matchgirl and other Happier Tales comes to Bristol Old Vic Theatre following its smash-hit premiere at Shakespeare’s Globe. Full of music, magic, puppetry and laughter, this truly remarkable theatrical experience is directed by the visionary Emma Rice (countless Kneehigh hits and Artistic Director of the best-ever-selling season at Shakespeare’s Globe). And for those who may need a Christmas antidote, Blah Humbugreturns with punk poet, Thick Richard.

Associate Artists showcase their work in Bristol

Autumn also allows Bristol Old Vic to showcase the talents of its Associate Artists: Headlong, who recently collaborated with Bristol Old Vic to create the Bristol musical Junkyard, return with People, Places & Thingstheir smash hit from the National Theatre, the West End, and now Broadway.

Out of Joint, the brainchild of the legendary director Max Stafford-Clark, returns with the classic 80s comedy Rita, Sue and Bob TooMax directed the original production of Andrea Dunbar’s semi-autobiographical play, and revisits this coming of age story for a major UK tour.

Acclaimed director Emma Rice is setting up her new company Wise Children here in Bristol and we’re delighted to include them in our growing family of Associates. Emma’s hit production from Shakespeare’s Globe The Little Matchgirl… will be her Christmas gift to Bristol to launch her special relationship with the city.

Kneehigh – where Emma Rice discovered her voice and where the visionary Mike Shepherd (Dead Dog in a Suitcase) continues to create jaw-dropping theatre – bring their new show Tin Drum to Bristol Old Vic in November. Part opera, part psychedelic white-out, part epic poem, Tin Drum is a story of love, war and fizz-powder for our troubled times.

Inspiring Visitors and Studio Walkabout continues

Other highlights through the autumn include the return of English Touring Theatre with Conor McPherson’s Olivier Award-winning The Weir. This chilling modern classic embarks on its first ever UK tour this autumn to mark its 20th Anniversary.  Former Made in Bristol company, The Wardrobe Ensemble, return to Bristol Old Vic with their love letter to the schools of the 90s, Education, Education, EducationUsing their trademark inventive theatricality and irreverent humour, they ask the big questions about a country in special measures, exploring the stories that have shaped our recent history.

The Studio Walkabout season continues with an array of events taking place across Bristol, enriching our Studio-scale work for the opening of the new studio in 2018. St Brendan’s Sixth Form College Theatre hosts T***k You, the latest work from Bristol Old Vic’s award-winning Young Company which looks at the relationship between youth and power. BlahBlahBlah continues its sell-out monthly spoken word events at The Wardrobe Theatre with headliners including Adam Kammerling, Laurie Bolger and Selena Godden. And back by popular demand, Bristol Old Vic and SS Great Britain’s fright-fest The Spooky Ship takes place for Halloween on board the historic ship, bringing its history to life in ghoulish Bristol fashion.

As a final autumn gift, Bristol Old Vic today announced that the theatre will be scrapping its booking fees from 17 July, to simplify the process of buying tickets.

Chief Executive Emma Stenning said: “Our aim is always to provide a wide range of ticket prices for each of our productions, particularly a significant number at our lowest prices. By scrapping the booking fees, we hope our audiences will find the process of buying tickets clearer and more transparent at the point of purchase. From this week, the price you see is the price you pay”.

Bristol Old Vic’s season of work from September- January 2018 will go on sale to priority bookers from 18 July and on general sale from 20 July.

Following a blistering sold out first week at Arnolfini, Ferment Fortnight heads home to showcase exciting new work in the Theatre


This week, scratch performances at Arnolfini have played to sold out crowds as now legendary work-in-progress festival Ferment Fortnight welcomes some of the South West’s finest artists to a process which helps them light the spark of an idea.

With powerful work from Sharon ClarkGive It A NameUnchartered CollectiveAgnieszka Blonska and Betrand Lesca & Nasi Voutsas already shared with an eager audience, the Arnolfini bar has been packed post-show as immediate feedback is shared directly with the artists over a drink or two.

Next week (18-20 July), Ferment Fortnight returns with a bang as it makes Bristol Old Vic Theatre its home for the second week of exhilarating work. The mini festival will showcase new and original work from Verity StandenMotherlode TheatreWorklight TheatreSleepdogs and Dom Coyote, with the aim that Bristol Old Vic Ferment can support these works to an explosion of a production, whilst offering keen theatre-goers an opportunity to gain unprecedented access to this vital part of the creative development process.

Ferment Producer Emma Bettridge said: “It is an absolute joy to see these exciting works by brilliant artists find their feet in front of a Bristol audience. As ever, this dialogue between creator and the audience member is an incredibly thrilling opportunity – for both parties. The feedback offers the chance to make changes, to re-route, to find the moments that work, but also, when do we as punters ever get to stick our heads in a rehearsal room and influence a final production? For a fiver, you quite literally can next week!

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Ferment is the artist development department of Bristol Old Vic. A year round quest to find, support and nurture local talent, Ferment provides South West artists with an opportunity to explore their theatrical ideas in an ongoing dialogue with audiences. By inviting artists whose work spans genre and form to experiment, play and make the theatre of tomorrow, Ferment continues to develop these vital local voices by offering tailored advice to creatives both emerging and established, and works closely with them through the development process.

Southmead residents take to the streets to perform in live soap opera as the culmination of a major Bristol Old Vic Engagement project

Simon Callow lends his support to Bristol Old Vic’s Studio Seat Appeal

Simon Callow, and Simon in Titus Andronicus in the ‘New Vic’ Studio, 1978
Simon Callow, and Simon in Titus Andronicus in the ‘New Vic’ Studio, 1978

Simon Callow, and Simon in Titus Andronicus in the ‘New Vic’ Studio, 1978 (Photo: Derek Balmer, courtesy University of Bristol Theatre Collection).

Renowned Shakespearean actor and movie star, Simon Callow visited Bristol Old Vic today to see first-hand how the theatre’s multi-million pound redevelopment work was coming on and to launch the Sponsor a Seat campaign, part of the final phase of fundraising for the brand-new Studio theatre.

Simon Callow played the title role in Titus Andronicus in Bristol’s original “New Vic” Studio in 1978, performing alongside relative newcomer Pete Postlethwaite and directed by Adrian Noble, who went on to run the RSC.

Speaking today, Simon Callow said:

“It is vital that every regional theatre has a successful Studio and that’s why I’m delighted to launch this appeal. That’s why I’m asking you to sponsor a seat in the new Studio. It will be an investment down the years, down the decades. It will be sowing the seeds to turn into mighty oaks.”

Sponsoring a Studio seat provides an opportunity to directly support the development of new writing, performers and artists – many of whom will begin their careers in this space from 2018 onwards. The seats can be sponsored for £500 and £1000 and would include an engraved plaque.

The original Studio theatre opened its doors on 30 May 1970 and over its 46 year life became an engine for theatre in Bristol, helping to establish the careers of many of Bristol and the region’s playwrights, artists and technicians. It has also been the home to many Young Company productions, some of the most cutting-edge new work from inspiring artists from the UK and beyond, and for the last 7 years Bristol Ferment, Bristol Old Vic’s much-imitated artist development programme.

In 2018, the spirit of the original Studio will be carried through to a new 188 seat Studio to be housed in the ground floor and basement of the beautiful Coopers Hall, allowing a new welcoming front of house areas to be constructed in the Studio’s original location.

You can sponsor a seat by visiting out website bristololdvic.org.uk/seat or pledge your support to Sarah Watts on 0117 317 8654 or by emailing [email protected]uk