The Grinning Man returns to launch Bristol Old Vic’s new On Demand Season

  • Full line-up announced today
  • “Season Pass” available to pre-order now.
Bristol Old Vic today announced the five much-loved hit productions from its back catalogue to watch on-demand throughout lockdown and over Christmas from the comfort of your sofa.

All five video-on-demand productions are available to purchase with a Season Pass, available to pre-order from today, giving unlimited access to the full season until 28 February 2021.

The season headlines with the return of cult musical The Grinning Man (which finished its original Bristol run exactly 4 years ago today, on 13 Nov 2016).

This darkly delicious musical premiered at Bristol Old Vic in 2016 before taking the West End by storm. Seen digitally for the first time during Bristol Old Vic’s first At Home Season in June, The Grinning Man was watched by tens of thousands of people across 52 countries, being discovered by a new audience of “Grinlettes” and thrilling the show’s loyal fanbase in equal measure.
“Blackly comic brilliance.” The Telegraph, Bristol premiere 2016

“If you enjoy theatre at all, you owe it to yourself to watch this. I’m sitting on my sofa sobbing and grinning at the same time.” @emiliejasmine96, AtHome viewer, June 2020

The Grinning Man is directed by Tom Morris, with book by Carl Grose and music by Tim Philips and Marc Teitler.

Available to pre-order today, the show will be screened from 20 Nov until 28 Feb 2021.

A week later sees the launch of a bumper pre-Christmas package of Bristol Old Vic’s celebrated adaptation of A Christmas Carol and Little Bulb’s beloved early years show The Night That Autumn Turned to Winter.

A Christmas Carol is Bristol Old Vic’s best-selling show of all time. This 2019 revival stars the charismatic John Hopkins as Scrooge. Dickens’ classic is adapted by Tom Morris (Touching the Void; The Grinning Man), directed by Lee Lyford (The Elephant Man), with music by Gwyneth Herbert (The Snow Queen) and is the ultimate festive feast for all the family. Available to pre-order today and watch from 27 Nov. 

Little Bulb Theatre’s The Night that Autumn Turned to Winter follows the hurried hare, mischievous mice and other woodland creatures in their frenzy of nut-gathering and nest building to get ready for the cold season ahead. This production was filmed in 2015 and was Little Bulb’s second Christmas show at Bristol Old Vic, transforming the Studio into a magical world full of stories, songs and silliness. Available to pre-order today and watch from 27 Nov.

Recorded in 2017, the critically acclaimed interpretation of Handel’s Messiah attracted 28,000 views when it launched our first online season in May this year and is back by popular demand.

It features internationally renowned soloists Catherine Wyn Rogers and Julia DoyleThe Erebus Ensemble (Songs of Hope) and Europe’s most celebrated Baroque orchestra, The English Concert, under the revered baton of Conductor Harry BicketJamie Beddard (The Elephant Man) performs the central non-speaking role of The Beloved. Available to pre-order today and watch from 4 Dec. 

And finally, the family classic, and the show audiences have most requested to be revived in the last decade, Swallows and Amazons completes the series.

Based on the classic book by Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons was originally staged in 2010 as a new musical play, with book by Helen Edmundson (Coram Boy) and songs by Neil Hannon, (The Divine Comedy). It was recorded at Bristol Old Vic in 2014 following its triumphant West-End run and UK tour.  Available to pre-order today and watch from 11 Dec.

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. As the UK is locked-down once again, Bristol Old Vic is finding ways for audiences and theatre-makers to stay connected and stay creative.

For the full digital offering from Bristol Old Vic, visit