Time lapse footage captures milestone in ongoing Bristol Old Vic redevelopment project

Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic has reached a milestone in its ongoing redevelopment project. Captured by time lapse over the last few months, the careful work undertaken by Gilbert-Ash to carefully remove the unwanted sections while protecting the iconic Coopers’ Hall can be seen in the video.

The old 1970s section of the building has finally been demolished, making space for Bristol Old Vic’s new entrance to begin construction.

While the space is clear of buildings, for the first time in living memory, the actual 251 year old Theatre – built on a plot of land behind King Street – can now be seen from the street itself. Since its construction in 1766, the Theatre has been hidden from view by either terraced houses – belonging to the now infamous Mr Foote and Mr Gill, or with various versions of a foyer space or later, a studio theatre and office space.

The next incarnation, due to be opened in September 2018, will be a beautiful glazed entrance, housing a new bar, box office and the revealed 1766 wall of the theatre, open to view and accessible to all.

Bristol Old Vic’s “immersive and soaring” Handel’s Messiah to stream exclusively on Apple Music this Easter weekend.

Handel's Messiah
Handel's Messiah

Handel’s Messiah

Bristol Old Vic has announced that this Easter weekend, four short films recorded during Messiah’s triumphant return to the theatre will be available to stream exclusively on Apple Music.

Filmed live at Bristol Old Vic, the thrilling performances can now be watched for the first time by audiences worldwide, made available exclusively to Apple Music subscribers.

Tracks including Behold The Lamb of God, All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray, How Beautiful Are The Feet of Them and the glorious Hallelujah! will be available to watch exclusively at from Friday 14 April.

The four-night run saw a different actor perform each night as the “Beloved” in Bristol Old Vic and The English Concert’s immersive staged performance. As seen on the downloadable clips, renowned actor Jamie Beddard was surrounded by the brilliance of Europe’s greatest Baroque orchestra, The English Concert, world-class soloists Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Julia Doyle, Joshua Ellicott and Brindley Sherratt, and the thrilling Erebus Ensemble. All under the baton of Harry Bicket in a production directed by Tom Morris.

Emma Stenning, Bristol Old Vic Chief Executive said: “Bristol Proms is all about making classical music accessible for everyone, and this weekend it takes a huge step forwards with the support of our friends at Apple Music. Making these short films available for streaming is a brilliant way for us to continue to share the extraordinary work of The English Concert, the Erebus Ensemble, and our terrific soloists, actors and creatives. It’s a little bit of Bristol Proms, available for you, wherever you are.”

Returning to Bristol Old Vic following an experimental sell-out debut at Bristol Proms 2013, this powerfully dramatised performance was described as “notably fresh”, “immersive and soaring” and “an experience like no other”.

Moving on to further UK dates next year, this production explored new ways of presenting classical music, opening it up to new interpretation and new audiences with on-stage seating, projection, powerful dramatisation and the famous Bristol Proms rules – allowing Handel’s greatest work to fizz with accessibility once again.

For more information on Apple Music or to start your free three month trial, please visit:


Interview Mayfest – MAYK – Director Kate Yedigaroff: “Do we doggedly keep on trying to deliver although we would have had to compromise extremely on quality scope, breadth and impact?”

Kate Yedigaroff

Mayfest is Bristol’s unique festival of contemporary theatre, dedicated to presenting a broad range of unusual, playful and ambitious work from leading theatre makers from Bristol, the UK and beyond

Kate Yedigaroff is co-director of Mayfest.
We are at the Watershed in Bristol – total brilliant cinema & digital creativity hub–  by the docks. Amazing.

Here is what we discussed…

Kate Yedigaroff

Kate Yedigaroff

Hi Kate, first thing is first: can we talk about THAT The Stage headline and the whole Mayfest Festival going bi-annual thing. 
We have made the decision to pause and we made it for lots of reasons. Of course, the thing that was picked up was that part of that reason was to do with the current funding landscape. We decided to pause because although we are an NPO this is only a part of the picture and we had had a bad year in terms of additional fundraising amongst other things. These decisions are hard – do we doggedly keep on trying to deliver although we would have had to compromise extremely on quality scope, breadth and impact?  Or do we take a breath and give time and space to strategic thinking and creating a really good festival for 2018 and beyond.  We’ve been going year on year for some years and there is a kind of breathlessness to that – it was getting to a point where we were being responsive all the time, rather than looking at where we actually are, contexts are shifting, the world is changing etc etc. Also our other producing work is growing and growing.

Would it be accurate to say that Mayfest may have become a of victim of its own success? 
It feels entirely appropriate that this festival goes bi-annual. Our intention is that this festival spreads right out across Bristol. So, another reason for delivering every other year is to build relationships that are going to take time, planting seeds for really exciting collaborations to grow and extending our national and international relationships too.

Talk to me about Bristol. I love Bristol. Do you? 
Bristol is an extraordinary place and I’ve found it impossible to leave. There is an ever shifting gang of artists making work, and a strong core. Strong networks and great audiences. Mayfest started at BOV in 2003 and at that point it was a programme of work in the studio that was deliberately being the alternative offer to a classical main house programme. It very quickly became clear that there was a huge community of artists and audiences that wanted to engage with it.

It seems like there is a lot of joined up thinking and collaborative team spirit, no?
There is a generosity here, and people’s peripheral vision is quite good but there is a lack of resource and at the moment there is not a lot of space to actually do stuff in. It’s tough for mid-career artists who are beginning to want and need to make work of scale and there isn’t enough hard cash and real opportunity to make those things happen.

What are the biggest challenges that you are hearing from the mouths of artists?

Lack of decent commissioning, co-production potential and proper supported development time, the scratch culture reigns supreme. Naturally people are frustrated as it’s getting harder to take risks on work that hasn’t been seen or artists that are ‘unknown’.  But if nobody’s going to take a punt how the hell are we going to move on from here.

You are co-director of Mayfest alongside Matthew Austin. What’s that relationship like? 
Matthew and I are very good friends and I suppose the ethos of the company is built on that – we are very different creatures but our tastes are mostly similar and we share a leaning to leftfield with a desire to not exclude. We are different spirits and we have different backgrounds. At work we pretty much share responsibility for everything but crudely speaking I’m more likely to be in a rehearsal room or having long meetings with artists about new ideas and he’ll be gathering speed with the important practical stuff that makes the work happen. It isn’t possible to think of doing this without him. We seem to make sense.

So, no festival this year. What have you got coming up?

Part of not doing a festival this year is a load of other projects that we are producing – in May we are premiering a show with a company called Firebird theatre. They are a company of disabled actors and they are making an autobiographical show that amongst other things celebrates 25 years of them making theatre. There are also the beginnings of a really exciting project with Stillhouse and LIFT. New works in development with Sleepdogs, The British Paraorchestra, Jo Bannon. And we are developing a programme of presented work outside Mayfest –  new ways of staying in touch with our audiences and experimenting with new things.

What is the Fringe culture like in Bristol?
The Wardrobe Theatre is a great project that’s becoming a big deal quite quickly. A lovely space with a really lively theatre. Brunswick Court, Residence and Interval – groups of independent artists who are co-working and experimenting with new ways of peer to peer support etc.

Who has been your mentor? Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to?
I feel quite lucky to have been well supported in Bristol – Dick Penny – CEO of Watershed – really backed me when I needed it –Tom Morris and Emma Stenning at the Old Vic too.

As we are all running to stand still and spinning plates, do you ever stop and take time to think about your own professional development?
I am more and more interested in finding new ways of creating unusual projects with greater and deeper public engagement. I’d like more time to explore this.  I find it quite easy to have a crisis of meaning – is this all enough?  There are so many people really being fucked over.  What can we do? Let’s not sit in an echo chamber etc etc. I wonder if there will become a way that my theatre producing can connect more overtly to these questions.
And I want to make sure that I keep trying to be a good mum. And that is constant learning. I have a son. I want to help him to be a happy man. Able to be vulnerable and silly and to find power in that too.

What happens when you lock six writers, six directors and thirty actors in a rehearsal room overnight? The 24 Hour Plays returns to Bristol Old Vic

The 24 Hour Plays®: Bristol company gathers theatre makers and artists from across the city in one of theatre’s most bold, dynamic and immediate events. Showcasing local talent – including artists from Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment, Made in Bristol and Open Session programmes and students from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School – the very best creative minds of the city will join forces for this electrifying evening of performance.

On Saturday evening, six writers will come together to work through the night to create six new plays. By Sunday evening, a company of directors, stage managers, designers, musicians and over thirty actors will have plotted, rehearsed, staged and scored six brand new performances. All in the space of 24 hours. It is truly seat-of-your-pants, skin-of-the-teeth, down-to-the-wire theatre making, and audiences will be treated to these immediate and vital new works by some of the hottest talent in town.

Working within the rules set out by The 24 Hour Plays® Company which originated in New York, their aim is to bring together extraordinary artists to create time-limited theatre around the world. The 24 Hour Plays®: Bristol is just one of many collaborations inspired by the original company, collaborations which have raised millions for charities across the globe.

The 24 Hour Plays®: Bristol is a fundraiser for the Peter O’Toole Prize – an award that helps kick-start the careers of young actors. Tickets are £15, and all profits from ticket sales will help fund the award.

If watching from the audience isn’t enough for you, there is also the once in a lifetime opportunity to bid in an auction to be part of the company and perform on Bristol Old Vic’s stage in your very own world premiere! If you want to be part of the action, please email your pledge to Joe Spurgeon, Development Manager ([email protected]k). The highest pledges will win one of two spots in the company, with the winners announced on Friday 7 April.

Bristol Old Vic announces latest productions for 2017, including major new co-production of The Caretaker

Bristol Old Vic today announced the next raft of productions to hit its stage throughout 2017.

Classic theatre for the 21st century
Highlights include a brand new co-production with Royal & Derngate, Northampton of Pinter’s 20th century masterpiece, The Caretaker, which changed the face of modern theatre. Now directed by one of the UKs hottest young directors Christopher Haydon, in his first production since stepping down as Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, this production will explore the 21stcentury resonances of a play dealing with the desire to belong, the threat of alienation and the paranoia of living in a changing cultural landscape.
In Autumn 2017, English Touring Theatre will present Conor McPherson’s chilling, modern classic The Weir. This Olivier award-winning play comes to Bristol Old Vic as part of its first ever UK tour, marking its 20th Anniversary year.
The semi-autobiographical play Rita, Sue and Bob Too, which was adapted into a cult film, returns to the stage in all its sharp, vivid and disarmingly direct glory. The classic 1982 play’s original director Max Stafford-Clark directs this major new production for one of the UKs most exciting theatre companies, Out of Joint in co-production with Octagon Theatre Bolton and the Royal Court Theatre.

New work in 2017
Kneehigh Theatre bring their brand-new show The Tin Drum to Bristol Old Vic this autumn. From the team that brought the internationally acclaimed Dead Dog in a Suitcase.., writer Carl Grose, composer Charles Hazlewood and director Mike Shepherd, The Tin Drum is a folktale for troubled times: one political, profane and profound.
Bristol Old Vic is also delighted to announce two Bristol Old Vic Young Company alumni, The Wardrobe Ensemble and Young Company director Jesse Jones, who present their brand new co-production with Royal & Derngate and Shoreditch Town Hall. Education, Education, Education explores power, responsibility and change through the eyes of a hapless group of schoolteachers trying to make it through the day.
Devised by The Wardrobe Ensemble, who won huge critical acclaim with their 2015 production of 1972: The Future Of Sex at the Edinburgh Fringe, they use their trademark inventive theatricality and humour to explore the stories that have shaped our recent political history, and what the future might look like. We are delighted to welcome them back to Bristol Old Vic for this innovative and irreverent production.

Family theatre
The highly anticipated early years Christmas show was also announced today as Kid Carpet once again brings his unique and much-loved style to Bristol Old Vic’s audiences with Snow Globe. Taking place once again at The Lantern Theatre in Colston Hall during the Bristol Old Vic refurbishment, audiences will be swept away in a magical tale of mixed up stories and music for the littlest theatre fans.
Little ones can also see Julia Donaldson’s magical Stick Man on the theatre stage in November as part of a nationwide tour. Scamp Theatre’s delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s hugely popular children’s book is back by popular demand.  Touching, funny and utterly original, this award-winning production features a trio of top actors and is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves.
For slightly older families, Metta Theatre bring their high-octane version of The Jungle Book to the Theatre this summer. Complete with spectacular street dance and circus skills, Kipling’s classic story is transported to the urban jungle in a heart-warming and critically acclaimed production.

Looking to the future, engaging with the city.
Now in its 7th year, Bristol Old Vic’s ground-breaking Made in Bristol project provides training for 18-25 year olds from across the southwest to become theatre makers. This year’s Made in Bristol theatre company, INKBLOC ensemble will perform a brand new piece of theatre this July. This annual Made in Bristol show has been a springboard for young theatre makers to begin touring their work, and gives audiences a chance to see the freshest theatre created by one of Bristol’s newest companies.
The Engagement team also announced Bristol Old Vic Young Company’s latest collaboration with St Brendan’s Sixth Form College Performing Arts Academy. This production will feature young people from both organisations, inspired by their own personal stories, exploring the relationship between youth and power. The last collaboration between St Brendan’s and Bristol Old Vic Young Company led to the acclaimed production The Grandfathers, which was presented at the National Theatre in 2013.
These productions join other Bristol Old Vic shows already on sale, including new Greek tragedy Medea which weaves the ancient myth together with a modern day story of a mother’s fight for her children; Julian Glover returning to his favourite theatre to play the title role in Julius Caesar alongside the graduating year of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students; and the long-awaited return of the Bristol Proms 2013 phenomenon Messiah.

Toby Jones joins team of four actors in Tom Morris’ staged performance of Handel’s Messiah this April

For four nights this April, four extraordinary actors will join renowned opera and concert conductor Harry Bicket, Europe’s most celebrated Baroque orchestra The English Concert, the glorious Erebus Ensemble and four giants of classical music Julia Doyle, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Joshua Ellicott and Brindley Sherratt for four one-off stagings of Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah.

Renowned stage and screen actor Toby Jones, Theatre Ad Infinitum co-artistic director Nir Paldi, Extraordinary Bodies lead artist Jamie Beddard and actor and poet Jessica Murrain will each play the role of the Messiah for one night only. Drawing on the tradition of Passion Plays, from Europe to the Philippines, each night will offer a ritualised and entirely unique performance carried by some of the most sublime music ever written.

When he wrote his sacred masterpiece Handel was at the height of his powers as a musical dramatist, turning to the subject of the greatest story ever told with music of huge emotional power. Too controversial for performance in churches, the piece premiered in a concert hall in Dublin and Handel insisted that the singing actress Susannah Cibber be cast at the emotional core of the piece, in the alto role.

This Easter re-staging is a Bristol Proms event, building on an experimental scratch performance in the Bristol Proms of 2013. It will explore the drama and struggle of faith, showing a group of people whose grief at the loss of their leader is transformed into hope through a narrative of resurrection.

Presenting the talents of the world’s most accomplished musicians, Handel’s Messiah will receive the full Bristol Proms treatment, complete with the riotously affordable standing pit, on-stage seating and the legendary Bristol Proms rules. Performers and audiences will inhabit the same intimate space, while a heightened theatricality will make Handel’s greatest work fizz with accessibility.

Tom Morris said:

“Bristol Proms was created with the ambition to release the gut-punching power of “classical” music for both experienced and new audiences alike. Performers from Paganini in 1831 to Daniel Hope in 2015 have felt the relationship between classical music and its audience intensify by the addition of theatrical techniques on our unique stage. Handel’s dramatic power and the intensity of the Messiah story lends itself to this kind of reinterpretation.”

Widely regarded as the one of greatest stage and screen actors, Toby Jones’ credits include Elizabeth I, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre and his Olivier-award winning performance in The Play What I Wrote. His film work includes the role of Truman Capote in the biopic Infamous, Oliver Stone’s W., the Oscar-nominated Frost/Nixon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hunger Games and Dad’s Army. He also provided the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter films. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role as Alfred Hitchcock in The Girl and in 2017 portrayed Culverton Smith in “The Lying Detective”, an episode of the BBC crime drama Sherlock. Toby is an Associate Artist for Bristol Old Vic.

Jessica Murrain is an actor, poet and theatre maker. She has recently worked with companies such as Complicite, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Travelling Light, LIFT and has just completed a critically acclaimed run at Bristol’s Wardrobe Theatre in The Long Trick. Co-founder of the company Theatre With Legs, her most recent work Digs was performed at New Wimbledon Studio and The Pleasance.

Nir Paldi was born in Jerusalem and spent his childhood living in the disputed Palestinian territories, before moving to Tel Aviv as a teenager, and then to Paris where he trained at the École Internationale de Théatre Jacques Lecoq. Nir is co-Artistic Director for Theatre Ad-Infinitum and directed the company’s multi-award winning Odyssey in 2009, which still tours the world today. He continues to create many award-winning productions for the company, including The Big Smoke (Best International Show at the United Solo Festival 2014, New York), Ballad of the Burning Star (The Stage Award for Best Ensemble and Off West End Award, 2013) and Ad Infinitum’s latest piece, Bucket List (winner of the 2016 Spirit of the Fringe Award). Bucket List has recently embarked on a two-month UK tour.

Jamie Beddard is a director, writer and actor and part of the creative team behind Extraordinary Bodies, a collaboration between Diverse City and Cirque Bijou, the UK’s only integrated circus company. Jamie’s acting career began in the BBC film Skallagrigg. Since then Jamie has taken the arts world by storm. He recently performed in the National Theatre’s The Threepenny Opera, directed by Rufus Norris, appeared in the West End production Carrie’s War and the BBC series All The King’s Men with David Jason. He has been an associate director for Graeae Theatre company, co-editor of ‘Disability Arts in London’ magazine, in 2012 he directed ‘Breathe/Battle for the Winds’ for the London 2012 opening ceremony celebrating the Olympic Sailing, and in 2013 he became a Clore Fellow. Jamie acts as an advocate for the integrated sector, working tirelessly for change.

Listings Information

6-9 April
Handel’s Messiah
– presented by Bristol Old Vic and The English Concert
0117 987 7877 /

6 April – Nir Paldi as the Leader
7 April – Jamie Beddard as the Leader
8 April – Jessica Murrain as the Leader
9 April – Toby Jones as the Leader


New Studio Walkabout shows announced, priority booking opens on 14 March

What If A Plane Falls Out Of The Sky
What If A Plane Falls Out Of The Sky

What If A Plane Falls Out Of The Sky

Bristol Old Vic’s high-octane Studio Walkabout season breaks out once again from the theatre to present the next flurry of work across the city. The Studio Walkabout began in 2016, allowing Bristol Old Vic’s Studio programme to continue during the theatre’s extensive redevelopment work. The best new work from local companies will pop up in eclectic venues across Bristol this May, with work appearing at the Trinity Centre and The Loco Klub.

Bristol based Idiot Child bring their new show What if the plane falls out of the sky? to The Loco Klub. A playful and unusual tale of fear, anxiety and the absurb strategies we employ to manage our sense of impending doom, this has the company’s familiar style of playful and peculiar work about the struggles of being alive. The Loco Klub is a new and exciting underground arts venue hidden beneath the passenger shed in Temple Meads. Rising from the ashes of the old railway social club that formerly stood on site, it is an atmospheric, unique and jaw dropping performance space unlike anything else in the city.

Bristol Old Vic Associate Artists Firebird present A Spark and a Beating Heart, a story which mixes the many myths of the firebird with a collective reflection on lives lived. Found in Easton, The Trinity Centre is a much-loved, stunning Grade II Listed historic building housing a cultural hub for the city. Firebird are currently enjoying an anniversary year, celebrating 25 years of theatre making together, and telling stories of shifting attitudes towards difference and disability, of understanding and ignorance. Bristol Old Vic is delighted to have supported Firebird since their beginning and look forward to the next 25 years working together.


Blah’s Big Weekend
17 – 19 March
After the success of last year’s brilliant word-filled bonanza, Bristol’s premier spoken word cabaret Blah’s Big Weekend returns for a three day festival packed with performances, workshops and one roaring stand up and slam.

Featuring the biggest headliners of poetry and spoken word including Vanessa Kisuule, Tongue Fu and Roundhouse Collective’s Cecilia Knapp and Bohdan Piasecki, Bristol will be buzzing with some of the greatest wordsmithery around.

Escaped Alone
22 – 26 March
As short, sharp and “revolutionary” (5* Observer) as we have come to expect from seminal playwright Caryl Churchill, Escaped Alone is “Churchill at her best” (4* Guardian); in fact “it’s hard to imagine you’ll come across a more brilliant play this year” (5* Time Out).

Escaped Alone was first staged at the Royal Court in January 2016 and received critical and public acclaim. Original cast members Linda Bassett, Deborah Findlay, Kika Markham and June Watson, as well as the original creative team, return for the 2017 production.

Escaped Alone will visit Bristol Old Vic for a strictly limited run, fresh from a New York transfer. Tickets are selling fast for the Bristol Old Vic run of this award-winning play.

1-2 April
Following two hugely successful tours in 2016, BalletBoyz will visiting Bristol Old Vic this April with their UK tour of Life. Back by popular demand, the production received its world premiere at London’s Sadler’s Wells to widespread critical acclaim and sell-out shows.

Life. features an original score and the evening takes an elegant, powerful and provocative look at life and death, presented in BalletBoyz’ inimitable style. The show features stunning commissions by celebrated choreographers Javier de Frutos and Pontus Lidberg.


Cheek by Jowl’s “deft, disturbing, and entirely absorbing” The Winter’s Tale visits Bristol Old Vic this month

A WINTER’S TALE by Shakespeare,
A WINTER’S TALE by Shakespeare,

A WINTER’S TALE by Shakespeare, Credit: Johan Persson/

Following sell-out runs in Brooklyn and Chicago, Cheek by Jowl’s “ferocious” (4* Independent) production of The Winter’s Tale finishes the UK leg of its tour at Bristol Old Vic this month.

The “legendary” Cheek by Jowl return to Bristol Old Vic with “a savage production” (4* Time Out), the inimitable company “bring fresh life to the classics using intense vivid performance like a laser of light to set the text ablaze” (The Telegraph). The Winter’s Tale offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see this internationally acclaimed company in Bristol.

One of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, The Winter’s Tale, though written at the same period as The Tempest, smashes all the rules that The Tempest follows. Unity of time, place and action are hurled aside as the action ranges across Europe, from court to country, from high tragedy to low comedy, across a time span of sixteen years.

The Winter’s Tale tells of a delusional and paranoid king who tears his family apart. But this is the new Shakespeare, after he completed his great tragedies, and the tough struggle for redemption yields flickers of hope. Initial darkness gives way to joy as Time leads the characters to a shattering conclusion…

Declan Donnellan directs The Winter’s Tale. He is joint founder of Cheek by Jowl with Nick Ormerod. Donnellan has directed productions for the National, the RSC, the Avignon, Edinburgh and Salzburg Festivals and has received awards in Moscow, Paris, New York and London, including three Laurence Olivier Awards. In France he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and this year was presented with the Golden Lion of Venice for Lifetime Achievement. In opera he has directed Bryn Tervel, in dance, the Bolshoi Ballet and in film Kristin Scott-Thomas, Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman.

Tickets are selling fast for the Bristol Old Vic run of this innovative and exciting production, visiting the Theatre between 14 – 29 March. Tickets are available from Bristol Old Vic Box Office: 0117 987 7877 |

Kneehigh’s brand new show The Tin Drum to visit Bristol Old Vic this November

The Tin Drum
The Tin Drum

The Tin Drum

From the team behind sell-out smash hit Dead Dog in a Suitcase… Bristol Old Vic is delighted to announce that Mike Shepherd’s (Kneehigh Artistic Director and Founder) new version of Gunter Grass’s epic novel The Tin Drum will play at Bristol Old Vic this November.

On Oskar’s third birthday he rails against the adult world and decides to remain a child forever. Armed with a heart full of rage, a singing voice that shatters glass, and a seemingly indestructible tin drum, Oskar sets about to reveal the world for what it truly is.

However, the world has other plans for our hero…

Often hailed as one of the greatest novels ever written, Gunter Grass’ surreal post-war masterpiece has never been more prescient. Kneehigh will retell this extraordinary story of love, war and fizz powder as a startling musical satire. Part Baroque opera, part psychedelic white-out, part epic poem: a burlesque, a blitzkrieg, a tsunami.

Written by Carl Grose (The Grinning Man), composed by Charles Hazlewood and directed by Mike Shepherd, the team that brought you the internationally acclaimed Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), The Tin Drum is a folktale for troubled times: one political, profane and profound.

Kneehigh Artistic Director Mike Shepherd said: “I have reassembled the creative team behind Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) to make a new version of Gunter Grass’ extraordinary novel The Tin Drum. Our iconic anti-hero, Oskar, will lead us through a world as delicate as moth’s wings and as incandescent as a blazing saw mill. A grand musical satire, it promises to be furious, funny and fiercely full of hope – a story very much for now.”

Prepare to dance to the beat of a different drum!


Bristol Old Vic is also welcoming back its adopted Cornish cousins Kneehigh with two of their most beloved tales. In July, the legendary Cornish love story Tristan and Yseult will return. This production, which catapulted Kneehigh onto the national stage, is one of Kneehigh’s most loved shows; full of comedy, live music, grand passion and tender truths. In 2014 and 2015 it toured the US and returns to launch a tour of the UK beginning at Bristol Old Vic. The Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic co-production The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk follows in August, again launching a UK tour from Kneehigh’s adopted Bristol home. Having premiered at Bristol Old Vic in May 2016, it tells the story of the love affair between the painter Marc Chagall and his wife Bella, who were immortalised on canvas as the picture of romance, while in reality, they walked through some of the most devastating times in history.