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Fuel announces more work for 2018

Kate McGrath
Kate McGrath

Kate McGrath

  • Fuel Director, Kate Mcgrath announces more new work for 2018
  • Inua Ellams’ Acclaimed hit Barber Shop Chronicles to tour to America and Canada
  • World Premiere production of first-ever stage adaptation of international best-seller Touching The Void by David Greig and Tom Morris
  • Roy Alexander-Weise directs a new auto-biographical play, The Dark, by Poet Nick Makoha about his childhood escape from Idi Amin’s Uganda
  • Sound&Fury’s Charlie Ward plunges audiences into the world of recovering first world war soldiers in hospital wards
  • Andy Smith’s new play Summit Plays with time to show how a single moment can change the future
  • Tonight We Fly: Fuel presents a week-long festival of performance, conversations and workshops
  • Fuel’s ongoing collaboration with the wellcome trust sees artists throughout the programme consulting and learning from the work of scientists

Fuel Director, Kate McGrath confirmed more projects to take place in 2018 in the UK and beyond.

Barber Shop Chronicles, Inua Ellams’ acclaimed play (co-produced by Fuel, the National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse) about the melting pot world of the male barber shop, has completed two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre and a hugely successful tour of Australia and New Zealand. Seen now by more than 62,000 people it has been attracting new and diverse audiences wherever it plays. This autumn it will embark on a tour of the USA and Canada, including a five week season at ART in Boston.

Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director Tom Morris will direct David Greig’s brand new adaptation of Joe Simpson’s huge international best-seller Touching the Void. It tells the terrifying story of Joe and Simon Yates’ successful but disastrous and nearly fatal climb of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. It was made into an award-winning film in 2003 and here is adapted for the stage for the first time. David Greig worked with psychologists and physiologists to try and understand better the mental and physical effects of surviving in such extreme conditions.  Touching the Void is a co-production between Fuel, Bristol Old Vic, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and Royal & Derngate Northampton.

The Dark is a new play by poet Nick Makoha. It tells the harrowing auto-biographical story of how he and his mother escaped from Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1978. Two performers play multiple characters in this exploration of memory which will be directed by the award-winning  Roy Alexander-Weise (Nine Night, National Theatre).

As part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, Charlie Ward tells the story of how hospitalised First World War soldiers were played Charlie Chaplin films in an effort to cheer them up as they recovered from their wounds.  Sound&Fury is acclaimed for plunging audiences into highly immersive worlds, and this production is no exception as the sounds of war and the sounds of home merge to create a visceral and emotional soundscape that asks the question: Is laughter really the best medicine?

Andy Smith’s new play Summit mixes up timeframes and language to explore how a global crisis can turn the world on its head and how people attempt to cope. The production will go on a UK tour including a two-week run at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Tonight We Fly, a festival of performances and conversations, will take place in Leeds in autumn 2018. Full details of the programme will be announced in due course, but it will include workshops, discussions and performances including: Summit and Charlie Ward. Partners include West Yorkshire Playhouse, SlungLow, Transform, and Leeds International Film Festival.

Fuel has formed a three-year partnership with the Wellcome Trust which involves artists and scientists collaborating and sharing their experience and expertise. For this season David Greig will be working with academics Professor Mike Tipton – whose research examines the physiological and psychological impact of adverse environments on the human body – and Dr Magda Osman – who explores the psychology of decision-making in every changing situations.  In this collaboration the scientists are helping David to gain a deeper understanding of his characters.

LISTINGS

BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES

By Inua Ellams

#BarberShopChronicles

 

The tour will visit Tempe, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Seattle, Stanford, London (Canada), Washington, Boston and Hanover

Full details will be announced soon.

SUMMIT
By Andy Smith
#summit

27 – 28 September 2018
Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, Manchester
PREVIEWS                      
https://www.martinharriscentre.manchester.ac.uk
0161 275 8951
The University of Manchester, Bridgeford St,
Manchester M13 9PL

2 October 2018
Axis Arts Centre, Crewe
www.axisartscentre.org.uk
0843 2080500
Cheshire Campus, Manchester University, Crewe, Cheshire,
CW1 5DU

3 October 2018
Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton
www.wlv.ac.uk/arena-theatre
01902 321321
Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY

4 October 2018
New Wolsey, Ipswich
www.wolseytheatre.co.uk
01473 295900
Civic Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2AS

9-19 October 2018
Shoreditch Town Hall
PRESS NIGHT: Thursday 11 October 2018
www.shoreditchtownhall.com
020 7739 6176
380 Old street, London, EC1V 9LT

26 October 2018
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre
www.lpac.co.uk
01522 837600
Lincoln Arts Centre, University of Lincoln, Brayford
Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS

30 October 2018
Lancaster Arts Centre
www.lancasterarts.org
01524 594151
Lancaster University, Great Hall Complex,
N Spine, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YW

1 November 2018
Rose Theatre, Edge Hill Unversity
https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/artscentre/
01695 575171
St Helens Road, Ormskirk
Lancashire, L39 4QP

6 November 2018
South Street, Reading
www.readingarts.com/south-street
0118 960 6060
21 South Street, Reading RG1 4QU

7 November 2018
Lakeside Theatre, Colchester
www.lakesidetheatre.org
01206 873261
University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Square 5,
Colchester CO4 3SQ

8 – 9 November 2018
Dartington Arts Centre
www.dartington.org
01489 779471
Dartington Hall, Totnes, TQ9 6EL

 

TOUCHING THE VOID
Based on the book by Joe Simpson
Adapted by David Greig
Directed by Tom Morris
#touchingthevoid

8 September-6 October 2018
Bristol Old Vic
PRESS NIGHT: 18 September 2018 @ 7pm
www.bristololdvic.org.uk
0117 987 7877
King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED

9-20 October 2018
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
PRESS NIGHT: 10 October 2018 @ 7pm
www.royalandderngate.co.uk
01604 624811
19-21 Guildhall Rd, Northampton, NN1 1DP

24 January – 16 February 2019
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
PRESS NIGHT: 25 January 2019 @ 7.30pm
www.lyceum.org.uk
0131 248 4848
Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AX

CHARLIE WARD
By Sound&Fury
#charliewardtour

11-22 September 2018
Theatre Deli, Sheffield
www.theatredeli.co.uk
202 Eyre Street
Sheffield S1 4QZ

25 September–6 October 2018
York Army Museum
www.yorkarmymuseum.co.uk
01904 461010
3a Tower Street, York, YO1 9SB

15 – 19 October 2018
Perth Theatre
www.horsecross.co.uk 
01738 621 031
Mill Street, Perth PH1 5HZ

30 October –  12 November
Leeds Town Hall as part of Leeds International Film Festival
www.leedsfilmcity.com
0113 376 0318
The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3ADt

THE DARK
By Nick Makoha
Directed by Roy Alexander Weise
#thedark

9 & 10 November 2018
Tobacco Factory, Bristol
PREVIEWS
www.tobaccofactorytheatre.com
0117 902 0344
Raleigh Road, Bristol, BS3 1TF

21 November –   1 December 2018
Ovalhouse, London
PRESS NIGHT: 22 November 2018 @ 7.30pm
www.ovalhouse.com
020 7582 7680
52-54 Kennington Oval, London, SE11 5SW

The Grinning Man extends for three final weeks at Trafalgar Studios

The Grinning Man
The Grinning Man

The Grinning Man

London’s critically acclaimed new British musical The Grinning Man, now playing at the Trafalgar Studios, has today announced a final extended three week booking period until 5 May.  This is the very last chance for West End audiences to see this adored, award-winning production set in a fantastical world with a dark heart.  Directed by Tony-award winning Tom Morris (War Horse) The Grinning Man has enchanted audiences again and again, receiving wildly enthusiastic standing ovations at every performance.

The Grinning Man transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in December last year, following a hugely successful premiere at Bristol Old Vic, and has become an instant hit across the board – with a wealth of critics, bloggers and audiences raving about The Grinning Man’s London incarnation. As with the Bristol run, critics have heaped praise on the show, with a wealth of glowing reviews for the London production. The Times said “the cast are outstanding”, adding that “it’s a triumph”.  The Observer hailed the production as “miraculous” and the Daily Telegraph raved about the “spectacular puppetry”. The Sunday Express called it a “brilliant production” and praised the “awe-inspiring” puppetry. What’s On Stage sums it up: “It is a remarkable, entrancing achievement and a treat for anyone who likes their storytelling with plenty of dark magic thrown in.”

As well as critics and the general public, celebrities and creative minds have also heaped praise on the show. Graham Norton exclaimed: “What a magical, moving, funny treat of a show it is!” Harry Enfield said “the whole thing is amazing”, while Hannah Waddingham was “overwhelmed” by the production and Mel Giedroyc applauded the “beautiful score” which is “clever and haunting”, declaring ‘’I want to see it again”. Simon Callow said the show is “spectacular, theatrical and exciting,” while Ciarán Hinds declared: “There’s a speed of energy that’s going through everybody, the cast is phenomenal, the humour is brilliant.”

The Grinning Man, directed by Tom Morris, features an “outstanding” cast (The Times) led by Louis Maskell in the title role of Grinpayne, and Sanne den Besten as Dea, with Julian Bleach as vengeful clown Barkilphedro.  Also starring are Sean Kingsley, Julie Atherton, Amanda Wilkin and Mark Anderson.

Based on the classic Victor Hugo (Les Misérables) novel The Man Who Laughs, this romantic gothic musical love story, is brought to life by Kneehigh writer Carl Grose (Dead Dog in a Suitcase) and “powered by an outstanding score” (Sunday Times) by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler. The Grinning Manreunites Tom Morris with two puppeteers who began their careers inside Joey and Topthorn in the original production of War Horse – Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié – now leading their own puppetry company Gyre & Gimble.

The Grinning Man joins several other recent Bristol Old Vic hit shows transferring to the London stage, including Swallows & Amazons at the Vaudeville, Peter Pan and Jane Eyre at the National Theatre and Long Day’s Journey Into Night starring Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville at the Wyndham’s.

The Grinning Man is produced by Bristol Old Vic, Trafalgar Entertainment Group, Eilene Davidson, Richard O’Brien, KHAM Inc., David Adkin, Neil Laidlaw Productions and Pieter Toerien.


CREATIVE TEAM

Tom Morris is Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and was previously Artistic Director at BAC where he met many of the creative team behind this show.  Previous productions at Bristol Old Vic include: A Midsummer Night’s DreamKing LearThe CrucibleSwallows & AmazonsJuliet & Her Romeo, and Messiah (Bristol Proms). Tom has been Associate Director of the National Theatre since 2004 and was co-director of War Horse, widely considered to be amongst the most successful theatre productions of all time.

Tim Phillips is a Canadian composer who has written music for many screen productions, including HBO’s Entourage, the ITV serial Talk To Me and (with Murray Gold) the Channel 4 series Shameless.  He honed his theatrical craft at BAC through Filter Theatre. Marc Teitler is a composer whose work spans musicals, opera, film soundtracks and albums and has had music featured in Game of Thrones. His current commissions for original musicals include The Ghost Map (dir. Bijan Sheibani).  In collaboration, Marc and Tim have composed music and lyrics for The Circle (National Theatre).

Writer Carl Grose has worked extensively with Kneehigh theatre as writer and actor. His writing for the Cornish-based company includes The Tin Drum,Dead Dog in a SuitcaseThe Wild Bride and Tristan & Yseult. Other recent writing credits include Grand Guignol (Southwark Playhouse) andOedipussy (Spymonkey).

Puppetry was created by Gyre & Gimble, founded in 2014 by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié having met whilst performing in the original production ofWar Horse. Their work has appeared in productions as varied as The Hartlepool Monkey (Stratford Circus and Touring), The Lorax (Old Vic), The Light Princess (NT), Running Wild (Regents Park), Elephantom (NT and West End) and Shrek: The Musical (West End).

The creative team is completed by award-winning designer Jon Bausor (London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, Bat Out of Hell – West End), Costume Designer Jean Chan (Lionboy – Complicite), Music Supervisor Tom Deering (Wonder.Land – National Theatre, Jesus Christ Superstar – Regents Park), Lighting Designer Rob Casey (Up Next – National Theatre) and award-winning Sound Designer Simon Baker (Matilda The Musical – Olivier for Best Sound, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare’s Globe and The Caretaker – Old Vic).

 

LISTINGS INFORMATION

Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2:30pm
Box Office: www.atgtickets.com/trafalgarstudios  0844 871 7632

Ticket Prices: From £22.50

Website: TheGrinningManMusical.com

Twitter: @GrinningManLDN

Bristol Old Vic’s “Messiah” to be screened at over 300 cinemas this Easter

Image from 2017 Bristol Old Vic revival of "Messiah"
Image from 2017 Bristol Old Vic revival of "Messiah"

Image from 2017 Bristol Old Vic revival of “Messiah”

CinemaLive are to release Handel’s Messiah from Bristol Old Vic in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on Wednesday 28 March 2018.

Bristol Old Vic is delighted to announce their partnership with Event cinema specialists CinemaLive to deliver the theatre’s critically acclaimed 2017 production of Handel’s Messiah to cinema audiences for Easter 2018. It is due to be screened in over 300 cinemas on the 28 March, including Bristol’s Vue Cinemas (Cribbs Causeway and Longwell Green), The Everyman and Bristol Showcase Cinema De Lux.

This dramatised production of Messiah is staged by Bristol Old Vic’s Tony Award-winning Artistic Director Tom Morris. It features internationally-renowned soloists Catherine Wyn Rogers and Julia Doyle, The Erebus Ensemble (Songs of Hope) and Europe’s most celebrated Baroque orchestra The English Concert, under the revered baton of Conductor Harry Bicket. Jamie Beddard (actor and Artistic Director of Bristol company Extraordinary Bodies) reprises his role from the 2017 theatre production as he performs the central non-speaking role of The Beloved.

Recorded in April 2017, Messiah returned to Bristol Old Vic following its sell-out debut at Bristol Proms in 2013. UK Theatre Web, Stage Talk, Classical Source, and The Reviews Hub all gave the production five-star reviews. The Times said “Director Tom Morris makes good use of the Old Vic’s intimate auditorium for this direct and impactful interpretation of Handel’s oratorio”. The Stage called it a “astonishingly beautiful” and “a relatable and very human story of loss and grief.”

Positioned between opera and theatre, this powerfully accessible interpretation of Handel’s seminal work explores the drama and struggle of faith, showing a bereaved community whose grief at the loss of their leader is transformed into hope through a narrative of resurrection. Inspired by early performances of the work, which were staged in theatres and concert halls rather than churches, including its first performance at Bristol Old Vic in 1782, it is a rare treat for connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.

CinemaLive Director Janelle Mason commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Bristol Old Vic to bring such a highly acclaimed and powerful production to our cinema audiences for Easter.”

Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and director of Messiahsaid: “The Bristol Proms, staged in our ancient Georgian theatre set out to bring live audiences closer to classical music. For this staging of Messiah, we collaborated with the peerless English Concert and some of the world’s finest vocalists: Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Joshua Ellicott, Brindley Sherratt and Julia Doyle, alongside the charismatic actor Jamie Beddard.  Our aim was to explore the emotional drama of Handel’s music in the unique intimacy of our theatre, and thanks to the talents of film director Nick Wickham, a broader audience beyond our theatre can now also feel this intimacy from a cinema seat.”

For more information, ticketing and a list of all participating cinemas in the UK and Ireland, please visit cinemalive.com

Bristol Old Vic unveils major rebrand in its Year of Change

Bristol Old Vic
Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic

As Michael Boyd’s new and ground-breaking version of The Cherry Orchard nears its opening, Bristol Old Vic celebrates this first production in the Year of Change programme by unveiling a new brand and website fit for its future.

At a moment when the world is experiencing unprecedented social, political and environmental upheaval, the theatre is exploring these ideas through a series of major productions looking at change in all its forms. The programme begins with The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov’s masterpiece, which bridges the divide between the longing to hold onto what is familiar, and the irresistible lure of the new. It opens on 1 March for a five week run, before transferring to the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Further highlights include the world premiere of Sally Cookson’s A Monster Calls, David Greig’s adaptation of Touching the Void, a fantastical Twelfth Night and the ultimate comedy of human change, A Christmas Carol.  Alongside these, Bristol Old Vic is also collaborating with The Bristol Post, Ujima and other arts organisations across the city in a re-examination of Bristol’s relationship with the Transatlantic Slave Trade which will culminate in a new production The Meaning of Zong, workshopped in the Autumn of 2018 and premiering in 2019.

2018 also marks huge change for Bristol Old Vic’s organisation as the theatre completes a major redevelopment project, this autumn. Since the 18th century, the theatre has been hidden from view and for the last 40 years could only be accessed through an imposing and very grand Georgian Hall. Finally, Bristol Old Vic can fling opens its new front doors and reconnect with its city once again.

Chief Executive, Emma Stenning said:“Bristol Old Vic is in the middle of a huge transformation. We are continuing to develop as a world-class theatre, alongside developing into a major heritage destination and commercial business able to provide beautiful events spaces for hire. We have had the previous logo since before Tom Morris and I arrived in 2009 so, at a moment of huge change to the organisation, it was fitting to mark this milestone through a new visual change too. We are absolutely thrilled by the finished product.”

Artistic Director, Tom Morris continued:
“As we knock down the walls which have hidden the most beautiful theatre in the country for 250 years, our aim is to welcome people from every part of the city to explore it, create work for it and share in its rich history and programme.  Throughout its long and turbulent life, this unique theatre has time and again been rescued and restored by the people of Bristol. It is above all, a theatre that belongs to Bristol and its people. The entire aim of the refurbishment has been to celebrate that relationship and better share the theatre with present and future generations of Bristolians. The new brand is designed to make that invitation loud and clear, in a welcoming, bold and truly Bristolian style.”
As Michael Boyd’s new and ground-breaking version of The Cherry Orchard nears its opening, Bristol Old Vic celebrates this first production in the Year of Change programme by unveiling a new brand and website fit for its future.

At a moment when the world is experiencing unprecedented social, political and environmental upheaval, the theatre is exploring these ideas through a series of major productions looking at change in all its forms. The programme begins with The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov’s masterpiece, which bridges the divide between the longing to hold onto what is familiar, and the irresistible lure of the new. It opens on 1 March for a five week run, before transferring to the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Further highlights include the world premiere of Sally Cookson’s A Monster Calls, David Greig’s adaptation of Touching the Void, a fantastical Twelfth Night and the ultimate comedy of human change, A Christmas Carol.  Alongside these, Bristol Old Vic is also collaborating with The Bristol Post, Ujima and other arts organisations across the city in a re-examination of Bristol’s relationship with the Transatlantic Slave Trade which will culminate in a new production The Meaning of Zong, workshopped in the Autumn of 2018 and premiering in 2019.

2018 also marks huge change for Bristol Old Vic’s organisation as the theatre completes a major redevelopment project, this autumn. Since the 18th century, the theatre has been hidden from view and for the last 40 years could only be accessed through an imposing and very grand Georgian Hall. Finally, Bristol Old Vic can fling opens its new front doors and reconnect with its city once again.

,

First Look: Production Image of The Grinning Man

More celebrity recordings for The Grinning Man! Score of new British musical wows stars

The Grinning Man
The Grinning Man

The Grinning Man

Hot on the heels of last week’s celebrity recordings announcement, more stars have jumped on board to perform their own versions of songs from the West End’s newest British musical, The Grinning Man. Matt Lucas, Kelsey Grammer and Hannah Waddingham have now joined Harry Enfield, Alexander Armstrong and Louise Dearman in a star-studded line-up of celebrities releasing unique versions of their favourite tracks from The Grinning Man.

Directed by Tom Morris, The Grinning Man is now showing at Trafalgar Studios following a hugely successful 2016 premiere at the Bristol Old Vic. This visually stunning production, “powered by an outstanding score” (Sunday Times) composed by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, has entranced audiences and critics alike. Now, unleashed on the West End, the sheer quality of each carefully-considered element of this award-winning musical – from the story, to the set, to the music – has inspired some of the most well-known names in TV, comedy, musical theatre and beyond to make the music of The Grinning Man their own.

The latest songs to be released are now available on YouTube. They are: I Have Never Seen a Face, a stunning duet performed by comedian Matt Lucas and musical theatre star Hannah Waddingham and Stars in the Sky by Frasier actor Kelsey Grammer.

These tracks follow the recordings of Stars in the Sky, by actor Alexander Armstrong, Laughter is the Best Medicine by comedian Harry Enfield, and Born Broken by musical theatre star Louise Dearman. There may be more to come – watch this space!

The critically acclaimed production of The Grinning Man, is based on the classic Victor Hugo (Les Misérables) novel, The Man Who Laughs, and directed by Tony award-winning Tom Morris (War Horse).  A romantic gothic musical love story, set in a fantastical world with a dark heart, which is brought to life by Kneehigh writer Carl Grose (Dead Dog in a Suitcase). The cast is led by Louis Maskell, in the title role of Grinpayne, and Julian Bleach, who plays Barkilphedro, a vengeful clown with a heart of lead. Macabre, magical and visually astonishing, this ultimately elating love story is a distinctive delight that barges through the gateway carved by the Nineties cult hit Shockheaded Peter with the full-blooded emotion of Les Misérables.

The Grinning Man reunites Tom Morris with two puppeteers who began their careers inside Joey and Topthorn in the original production of War Horse – Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié – now leading their own brilliant puppetry company Gyre & Gimble.

The Grinning Man is produced by Bristol Old Vic, Trafalgar Entertainment Group, Eilene Davidson, Richard O’Brien, KHAM Inc., David Adkin, Neil Laidlaw Productions and Pieter Toerien.

All tracks can now be enjoyed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFC-8E5PQjc&list=PL7ER5L51ctdHVtFTCZkUOCxMYSE9feHZr

 LISTINGS INFORMATION

Previews:                     From Wednesday 6 December

Press night:                 Monday 18 December at 7.00pm

Performances:                        Monday – Saturday7:30pmThursday & Saturday matinees: 2:30pm
Box Office:                  
www.atgtickets.com/trafalgarstudios/ 0844 871 7632

Ticket Prices:               From £15.00

Website:                      TheGrinningManMusical.com

Twitter:                                   @GrinningManLDN

 

The producers of The Grinning Man are delighted to continue Bristol Old Vic’s commitment to ensuring that tickets for the highest quality productions remain affordable and accessible, particularly to younger audience members, by offering the following special rate:

£25 UNDER 25 RATE: A general under 25 rate of £25 (redeemable for any standard-priced seat, subject to availability at time of booking) will be available throughout the run for every performance Monday – Thursday inclusive.  Meaning that anybody under 25 will be able to see the show during the week at this special accessible rate. This rate will be available through ATG Tickets, the principal ticketing provider for Trafalgar Studios.

Bristol Old Vic announce 2018: Year of Change

Year Of Change
Year Of Change

Year Of Change

Tom Morris and Emma Stenning today outlined the 2018 programme of work from Bristol Old Vic, under the banner Year of Change, which was suggested as a theme for 2018 by Roger Griffith of Bristol Old Vic Associate Company, Ujima Radio.

Bristol Old Vic’s aim for 2018 is not just to reopen a brand new Front of House and Studio theatre, thereby completing its multi-million pound redevelopment project, but also to renew its own relationship with the city, both as a place of entertainment and as a place where the most important concerns of the day can be explored, contested, discussed and understood.

A PROGRAMME OF TRANSFORMATION

Tom Morris today revealed Change as the governing theme for the year, pointing to a context of unprecedented political, social, economic and environmental changes in our world. Exploring some of these ideas, he announced a series of major productions which will play at Bristol Old Vic across the year.

This will include:

  • A brand new translation of The Cherry Orchard from Rory Mullarkey in March. Directed by Michael Boyd, celebrated former Artistic Director of the RSC, for the first time directing a play by the literary love of his life: Anton Chekhov. This mournful comedy, Chekhov’s final masterpiece, reels from farce to heartbreak as it maps an insecure world on the brink of seismic change. Written by an artist at the height of his powers and nearing the end of his life, it bridges the divide between the longing to hold onto what is familiar, and the irresistible lure of the new. It will be produced in co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre, and designer Tom Piper will reconfigure Bristol’s 250 year-old auditorium into an ‘in-the-round’ space. On general sale 17 Nov. The production will transfer to Manchester in Spring 2018.
  • The return of Mayfest, curated by Bristol Old Vic Associates MAYK, brings the change of innovation to a city which thrives on it. This year, Mayfest will once again take over the city with some of the best and brightest theatre from around the world. Bristol Old Vic is delighted to host the festival’s flagship production in the theatre where Mayfest began back in 2002.
  • In May, we present the first stage adaptation of Patrick Ness’ transformative insight into love, loss and hope, A Monster Calls. Commissioned by Matthew Warchus (alumnus of Bristol Old Vic) this production forms part of the 200th anniversary of our ‘mother’ theatre company, The Old Vic, London. This brand-new production is created by Bristol Old Vic Associate Artist Sally Cookson, whose successes with Peter Pan and Jane Eyre (both of which originated at Bristol Old Vic) have won her a global reputation.
  • The ongoing partnership with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the summer will be further developed into a three-way collaboration with our new Associate Company, Diverse City. As the theatre industry changes to reflect the diversity of its performers and audiences, the Theatre School’s graduating class of 2018 will create a new, professionally integrated production with Diverse City. Speaking at the launch, Emma Stenning said: “Over the last two years we have been thrilled by the reinvigoration of the relationship between Bristol Old Vic and its sister company the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. To be now in a position to develop this further by working with the incredible Diverse City is very special. Their brilliant and enlightening work with us so far has helped us to change the way we think about accessibility and integration on stage and off.”
  • In September, Bristol Old Vic will throw open the doors of its brand-new Front of House redevelopment with Tom Morris directing the first stage adaptation of Joe Simpson’s memoir Touching the Void, an international bestseller and BAFTA-winning film sensation, looking at personal change in its most vivid and catastrophic form. The heart of the story is Joe Simpson’s mental battle as he teeters on the very brink of death and despair in a crevasse from which he can’t possibly climb to safety. Also unforgettable in the story is the appalling dilemma of Simon Yates, perched on an unstable snow-cliff, battered by freezing winds and desperate to rescue the injured Simpson, who hangs from a rope below him. Knowing that they will both ultimately fall into the void, he makes the critical decision to cut the rope, forever changing the lives of both of them. Tom Morris directs a Bristol Old Vic, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Royal & Derngate Northampton and Fuel co-production which also brings award-winning writer David Greig back to Bristol for the first time since his college days. On general sale 17 Nov.
  • In October, Bristol Old Vic will present the joyous Shakespearean comedy, Twelfth Night. This brand new production will be co-produced with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and directed by The Lyceum’s Associate Director Wils Wilson (The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart). Wilson’s bold and playful style will bring a fresh energy to Shakespeare’s mischievous story of identity, gender and love in all its forms. On general sale 17 Nov.
  • And what better way to finish the year off, than with the greatest comedy of change in English literature, A Christmas Carol, depicting the archetypal story of a wicked man who looks at his wasted and cruel life and resolves, successfully, to change everything about it! (Creative team to be announced in January). On general sale 17 Nov.
  • And as our theatre itself reveals a changed entrance and a changed welcome to the city, 2018 will also see Bristol Old Vic opening a new Studio theatre, dedicated to new and emerging work. It will be Bristol Old Vic’s telescope into the future of theatre, providing a new home to Bristol Ferment (which has been supporting artists of Bristol and the region for almost a decade) and a space for young people to make and watch inspiring work, both through the award-winning Bristol Old Vic Young Company and the Engagement team’s city-wide collaborations.  A full Studio programme will be announced in Spring 2018.
THE POWER OF CHANGE

When Roger Griffith first suggested 2018 as a Year of Change, he was inspired by the anniversaries of some significant and powerful advocates for change; by the 50thanniversaries of the assassination of Martin Luther King and the Black Power salute and the 70th anniversary of the voyage of the Windrush, to which we add the centenary of women’s suffrage and the bicentenary of the birth of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

As Bristol Old Vic looks to its future, we are also re-examining our relationship with our past and, alongside many others in the city, resolving to look afresh at Bristol’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, which made it so wealthy and contributed so strongly to many of its most beautiful buildings, including our theatre.

Bristol Old Vic’s ambition as a theatre is to be a place where the city can hold itself, its history and its future to account, and where those histories can be re-understood, so we are pleased that our Year of Change can also accommodate this powerful and important conversation.
We are therefore also announcing a major new play about the slave trade, The Meaning of Zong, by Giles Terera, jointly commissioned by the National Theatre and presented and developed with partner theatres in Liverpool, Glasgow and London. It will be presented in workshop form in October 2018 and fully staged in 2019.

These performances will sit alongside a series of conversations curated in collaboration with Bristol’s Festival of Ideas, and will be introduced by a series of City Conversations, jointly organised by The Bristol Post, Ujima Radio and Bristol Old Vic. These conversations will be on topics related to the city’s commemoration of, and attitude towards, the transatlantic slave trade. The first conversations will happen in venues across the city with the final conversation held in the theatre.

Speaking at the launch today, Tom Morris said: 
“Liberal-minded Bristolian folk like me are often reluctant to talk about the slave trade. When drawn into conversation we tend to bemoan its atrocity and condemn it as an outright wrong, but we moderate our moral judgment by saying that people thought differently in the eighteenth century, that the transatlantic slave trade was a fact of life at that time, that we should be careful not to judge the past by today’s standards, because our eighteenth century forbears simply didn’t see it as wrong.

“In the research for Giles Terera’s play The Meaning of Zong, I have discovered that this opinion is startlingly false. A close reading of the primary sources shows that many of those directly involved in the trade knew very well that it was wrong, but found it too difficult politically, economically, and socially to stop.

“So part of the conversation we are going to have connects at root with the role which Emma and I hope our theatre can have in the future in this city. If we are brave enough to judge the people who were involved in the transatlantic slave trade in this city by our own standards, then it becomes possible to judge ourselves by their standards too. It allows us to look at ourselves and our role in the world and ask: what are the things we are doing which we know to be wrong, but which we keep doing, because it is socially, politically and economically difficult to stop doing them? Then we can work out together how we can generate and share the courage and the vision, TO MAKE THOSE THE THINGS WHICH WE START TO CHANGE IN 2018.”

First Look: Rehearsal Images: War Horse

Rehearsals begin for the new War Horse UK Touring Company

War Horse Tour 2017

War Horse Tour 2017

War Horse Tour 2017


Rehearsals began this week for the 34-strong cast of a major tour UK tour of the National Theatre’s internationally acclaimed production of War Horse, which begins performances on 15 September 2017 (with press night on 3 October) at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and continues on a 15 city tour until February 2019.

Thomas Dennis, fresh from playing Christopher Boone in the National Theatre’s West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will play the central role of Albert Narracott with fellow Curious cast member Jo Castleton as his mother Rose Narracott. Celebrated folk musician, Bob Fox, returns as Song Man.  They are joined by:  Marcus Adolphy (Carter), Adam Barlow (Greig/Schweyk/Sergeant Fine), Peter Becker(Friedrich), Joelle Brabban (Emilie), Lucas Button (Joey Hind), Jasper William Cartwright (Billy/Heine/Klebb),Chris Charles (Joey/Topthorn Heart), Jonathan Charles (Bone/Vet Martin), Sebastian Charles (Topthorn Heart),Anna Chessher (Joey/Topthorn Head), Nicky Cross (Joey/Topthorn Hind), Max Gallagher (Geordie), Chris Garner (Allan/Manfred), Andrew Hodges (Sergeant Thunder), Lewis Howard (Joey Heart), William Ilkley (Arthur Narracott), Ben Ingles (Lt Nicholls), Billy Irving (Goose/Schnabel), Elan James (Topthorn Hind), Kiran Landa(Annie Gilbert), Gwilym Lloyd (Ted Narracott), Jack Lord (Klausen), Stephen Love (Topthorn Head), Toyin Omari-Kinch (David), Samuel Parker (Joey/Topthorn Hind), Tom Quinn (Joey/Topthorn Head), Domonic Ramsden (Joey/Topthorn Heart), Arinder Sadhra (Paulette), Tom Stacy (Joey Head), Elizabeth Stretton (Matron Callaghan), Simon Victor (Stewart/Heine/Ludwig).

War Horse is rehearsing in London in a 470 square meter rehearsal space, custom built by MDM Props, to accommodate the large company.

War Horse, which has been seen by over seven million people worldwide, completed its record-breaking eight year London run at the New London Theatre on 12 March 2016.  It has won 25 awards including the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway.  Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom MorrisNick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s remarkable story of courage, loyalty and friendship, about a young boy called Albert and his horse Joey,  set against the backdrop of the First World War is the most successful play in the National Theatre’s history.  It features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing, galloping horses to live on stage.

War Horse received its world premiere on 9 October 2007 at the National Theatre, where it played for two seasons before opening at the New London Theatre in March 2009.  Since then, War Horse has been seen in 97 cities in 10 countries, including productions on Broadway, in Toronto and Berlin, with touring productions in the UK and Ireland, North America, the Netherlands, Belgium and China.

Michael Morpurgo said:  ‘After a few months rest, out at pasture, Joey, the War Horse and his great team from the National Theatre, will be touring the UK again, from 2017 through to 2019 and the centenary of the end of the First World War, taking their show all over the country, to towns and cities, many of them places War Horse has not been seen before.  I am so pleased this is happening; that so many more people will have the chance to enjoy this unique theatrical event. Steady boy, steady Joey. Trot on!’

War Horse is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, with puppet direction, design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmerfor 59 Productions, songmaker John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.

Katie Henry is the revival director and Craig Leo is the associate puppetry director.  They are joined by resident puppetry director, Matthew Forbes and resident director, Charlotte Peters.

The tour of War Horse coincides with the Centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War and follows the production’s sold-out tour of the UK and Ireland in 2013-2014.

War Horse is produced on tour by the National Theatre.

War Horse Tour Dates

Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury                                   15 September – 14 October 2017

Bristol Hippodrome                                                   18 October – 11 November 2017

Empire Theatre, Liverpool                                        15 November – 2 December 2017

New Theatre Oxford                                                  13 December 2017 – 6 January 2018

Brighton Centre                                                         25 January – 10 February 2018

Bradford Alhambra Theatre                                      14 February – 10 March 2018

Nottingham Royal Concert Hall                                14 March – 7 April 2018

Edinburgh Festival Theatre                                       18 April – 12 May 2018

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton                            16 May – 9 June 2018

The Lowry, Salford                                                    13 – 30 June 2018

Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff                                4 – 28 July 2018

New Victoria Theatre, Woking                                   1 – 18 August 2018

Plymouth Theatre Royal                                           29 August – 15 September 2018

Milton Keynes Theatre                                              19 September – 6 October 2018

Glasgow SEC                                                            15 January 2019 – 2 February 2019.

www.warhorseonstage.co.uk