Bristol Old Vic’s lockdown winter-warmer season announced

Live-stream of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk and online release of A Christmas Carol headline Bristol Old Vic’s lockdown winter-warmer season 

  • A second online season of Bristol Old Vic hits, to include the release of the theatre’s best-loved Christmas show – A Christmas Carol – full season announced next week.
  • A brand-new collaboration with Wise Children and Kneehigh revives the Bristol Old Vic/Kneehigh hit 2016 co-production, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. Available to view online or live in the theatre.
  • A live-streamed production of Lucy Kirkwood’s searing drama Hedda in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre school, innovatively filmed by Rod Maclachlan (Bristol Proms).
  • A live knock-out comedy caper – Living Spit’s Beauty and the Beast, a new musical production for adults and older children this Christmas.

Bristol Old Vic today launched the second season of its digital offer, Bristol Old Vic At Home. This online “virtual theatre” brings together a second season of hits and classic shows from our back catalogue (available to view via our website with a Season Pass) alongside live-streamed theatre events, determined to see its audiences through to the end of 2020 and throw some COVID-defying light into a theatre-less winter.

The Bristol Old Vic At Home pilot season was launched during the UKs summer lockdown to provide a creative digital lifeline to its audiences across the city and beyond. It included a five-week season of streamed productions, achieving 335,000 views through the summer when the UK was unable to access live theatre. At the start of the next  lockdown, once again Bristol Old Vic is finding ways for audiences and theatre-makers to stay connected and stay creative.

Bristol Old Vic At Home Season 2, once again includes five much-loved hit productions from Bristol Old Vic’s back catalogue, watchable via the theatre’s website. One of the theatre’s best-selling shows of all time will be available to watch as part of this season; the 2019 revival of the smash-hit production A Christmas Carol starring the charismatic John Hopkins as Scrooge, directed by Lee Lyford with music by Gwyneth Herbert.  All five video-on-demand productions will be revealed next week when a Season Pass will also be available to pre-order, giving access to the full season until February 2021.

This programme sits alongside Bristol Old Vic’s commitment to a live-streamed version of its creative collaboration Hedda, with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, directed by the School’s Artistic Director Jenny Stephens and harnessing the skills of the graduating film and theatre students. This production was announced last week and will still take place, moving exclusively to a digital platform for 3 nights only (18, 19 and 20 Nov). This bold experiment will also explore new filming techniques for live-streamed theatre and will be masterminded by Bristol Proms visual artist and vision-mixer, Rod Maclachlan. Live-streamed tickets now on sale.

In light of the recent lockdown restrictions, Bristol Old Vic, Kneehigh and Wise Children were also able to confirm their collaboration on The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk will go ahead, both through live performance in the theatre and a live-stream to view at home from 3-5 Dec (restrictions permitting).

Wise Children’s successful live broadcast of Romantics Anonymous, from Bristol Old Vic’s stage, was watched by more than 22,000 people worldwide. This live stream of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, tells the love story of Marc and Bella Chagall, tracing this young couple as they navigate the Pogroms, the Russian Revolution, and each other. The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk is directed by Emma Rice in a co-production with the show’s original producers Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic. In-person and live-streamed tickets will go on general sale Mon 9 Nov.

And in a statement of shameless optimism and cheer for December, Bristol Old Vic also announces that the first of its live Christmas offerings will be a chaotic new comedy for older children and adults – Living Spit’s Beauty and the Beast – in the Theatre from 8 Dec to 2 Jan. The classic French tale of Beauty and the Beast is brought to life by Living Spit’s Howard Coggins and Stu McLoughlin, widely known as “the most physically attractive two-man musical comedy theatre company in the South-West”. However, in this tale as old as time, one of them will have to portray an ugly, foul-tempered beast. But which one will it be? A brand-new, monstrously-musical, Disney-defying version of this classic French tale about what it means to be truly beautiful in the 18th century. Tickets on sale from Monday.

And finally, for a strictly adult offering this Christmas, Sharp Teeth announce their next Zoom adventure, Streaming Beauty in collaboration with Tom Marshman. Straight from their hugely successful Sherlock in Homes, prepare for a uniquely filthy and interactive Christmas show live from your homes, through the Christmas miracle of Zoom. Available to book now.

This season announcement comes in the week the UK government issues its latest lockdown restrictions which has meant live theatre at Bristol Old Vic and across the country has once more been suspended.

Speaking today, Artistic Director Tom Morris said:
“Theatres all over the country have responded to the devastation of lockdown with wild invention. From the Minack in Cornwall to Slung Low in Leeds, the rules of theatre have been rewritten on an hourly basis.

Inspired by our colleagues across the country, we are determined to do whatever is necessary to continue to offer live, inspiring entertainment to our audiences in Bristol, the rest of the UK and even internationally. This varied winter programme is for the audiences and supporters who keep us alive and without whom all our efforts would be pointless.

Even amid the chaos of this lockdown we are pursuing a series of experiments which will bring laughter, entertainment, music and poeticism to you at home as well as in the theatre. The generosity of donations from the public allowed our work to continue with a string of new commissions in the summer and the experimental reopening of the Courtyard Theatre in our foyer. Now it’s our turn to be there for you with live entertainment throughout lockdown and over Christmas. We hope you like this offering.”