Bristol Old Vic announces new Ferment Producer as longstanding producer Emma Bettridge moves on

Ben Atterbury (photos by Aenne Pallasca and D.J. Cooper)

Ben Atterbury (photos by Aenne Pallasca and D.J. Cooper)

As the now legendary Ferment Fortnight enters its second week this summer, Bristol Old Vic introduced new Ferment Producer Ben Atterbury. He takes over from Emma Bettridge as her seven years at the helm ends in glorious style.

Ben Atterbury was a founding staff member of Cardiff’s The Other Room, a small but influential producing house with an emphasis on supporting the very best Welsh artists in making brave, bold theatre. Ben rose through the company to become the venue’s Associate Artistic Director, responsible for devising the visiting programme of work with a particular focus on the organisation’s artist development aims. While there, the venue won The Stage Award for ‘Fringe Theatre of the Year’ in 2016, and last year was nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award.

His most recent post was as Out of Joint’s interim producer, helping to shape the next chapter in the company’s history under the new executive leadership of Kate Wasserberg and Martin Derbyshire. He joins Bristol Old Vic full-time from August.

Speaking from Ferment Fortnight rehearsals, Ben said:
Being around for Ferment Fortnight in my first week is a gift. It’s a brilliant opportunity to see the huge amount of amazing work this programme is doing right now. Before I’ve even seen a desk, I get to chat to artists about their lives and their ideas.

I lived in Bristol before, and got to know the city well. I’m very passionate about it – it’s home. There is a creative energy running through the heart of this place like a stick of rock. I was always incredibly inspired by the work of Emma and of Bristol Ferment – applying for the job felt inevitable and I’m delighted and excited that I get to take on the challenge. 

The timing is also perfect; we’re about to reopen our new Studio and Front of House spaces, and there are exciting opportunities for artists in the city. There is a real drive to build on the tremendous successes of Ferment so far and we’re renewing our invitation to the artists of Bristol and the region to collaborate with us and make this new space their own. There will be many opportunities for the creative community in this incredible city to work together as we confront the ongoing challenges of meaningful artist development. I’m so excited to see where those conversations take us.”

Bristol Old Vic Ferment centres on artist development by representing a vibrant community of theatre-makers from Bristol and the South West, with whom we support and develop exciting and adventurous new work.

Ferment creates a playful structure through which the best artists can explore theatrical ideas in an ongoing dialogue with audiences. Over the eight years it has existed, Ferment has become a benchmark for other regional theatres, working with a huge variety of inspirational artists in a variety of ways to make the theatre of tomorrow.

Chloé Naldrett Elwood, Bristol Old Vic’s Executive Producer said:
“We are incredibly pleased to be welcoming Ben Atterbury into the fold, and to support him as he takes Ferment through the next stage of its evolution at this extraordinary time in the history of Bristol Old Vic. Ben is a brilliant creative producer who brings bucket-loads of passion for both Bristol and for its amazing community of artists. It is particularly exciting that he has lived and worked in Bristol before, and that Ferment has been able to draw such a great talent back to the city.  We can’t wait to see what Ferment looks like under his leadership.”  

She continued: “Under the passionate and inspired direction of Emma Bettridge, Ferment has grown and evolved over the last seven years, becoming a standard-bearer for artist development nationally and exemplifying the extraordinary creative spirit of Bristol. Emma’s legacy is seen in the work that she has carefully sown and nurtured and in the numerous artists she has championed and supported, and it is fitting that she herself is now off to tread her own creative path – we send her huge love and wish her luck.”

Bristol Ferment is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Grants from the Foundation are invested directly in artists and the development of their work, through bespoke programmes of research and development, mentoring, dramaturgical support and a variety of public-facing performances, including work-in-progress scratch events, such as Ferment Fortnight.

Ferment Fortnight runs at Bristol Old Vic until Sat 21 July
https://bristololdvic.org.uk/whats-on/mini-series/ferment-fortnight-july-2018