2018:Year of Change - part 2

posted 10 Jan 2018, 03:16 by Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club

This is part 2 of 3 of our report on the launch of Bristol Old Vic’s 2018 programme. We continue to focus on BOV’s own productions in this historic year during which the theatre is literally opened up to the city for the first time since it was built almost 252 years ago.

In October Twelfth Night will be co-produced with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and directed by The Lyceum’s Associate Director Wils Wilson. The year will end and lead us into 2019 with a new version of A Christmas Carol, for which the creative team is due to be announced shortly.

2018 as a Year of Change is inspired by the anniversaries of some significant and powerful advocates for change; the 50th anniversaries of the assassination of Martin Luther King and the Black Power salute, the 70th anniversary of the voyage of the Windrush, the centenary of women’s suffrage and the bicentenary of the birth of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. 

Bristol Old Vic is participating in a city-wide process, 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.

BOV’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 it is pleased that the Year of Change programme can also accommodate this powerful and important conversation.

As part of that conversation, Bristol Old Vic has commissioned a major new play. See the February edition for a report on that and related activities.

2018: Year of Change

posted 10 Dec 2017, 09:10 by Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club

BOV has just launched an extremely exciting and ambitious programme, not just for the next few months, but for a full range of Bristol Old Vic productions for 2018, under the striking banner 2018: Year of Change

The changes include the return of Season Tickets, something many members long hoped for. Five committee members attended the launch, greatly assisting us to plan the Theatre Club’s programme of related In Conversations, InHouse Days and Theatre Club Nights. 

See some highlights of the launch on page 9 of the Newsletter

The Little Match Girl

posted 25 Oct 2017, 09:59 by Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club

Emma Rice's production comes to Bristol this Christmas following its critically acclaimed premiere at Shakespeare's Globe.

Struggling to keep warm the little matchgirl begins to strike her dwindling stock of matches. Each strike conjures a new story, and while the flame burns she escapes into a world of magic and mystery.  Inspired by the beautiful Hans Christian Andersen tales, we follow her through a series of spell-binding stories.

For adults and brave children alike this will be a truly remarkable theatre experience, full of music, laughter, puppetry and magic which asks us to consider the true meaning of Christmas spirit.

The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales is at Bristol Old Vic 30 November - 14 January.

For tickets or further information on the above shows, please visit or telephone 0117 987 7877.

BOV Theatre Club Nights

posted 9 Sep 2017, 12:52 by Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club

Bring a friend or come alone. See a show, meet other members, and afterwards, maybe chat to actors and other artists involved in the production.  

Our August Theatre Club Night was for The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.  The enchanting Audrey Brisson (recently seen at BOV in The Grinning Man and La Strada, as well as her previous visit in Flying Lovers), willingly caught a later train to London so she could spend more time with Theatre Club members. The cast, musicians and crew were delighted with our welcome and confirmed that these occasions bring joy all round. 

Book your own ticket for any performance below, then enjoy our reserved area of the Backstage Bar. You’re sure to meet other members and guests and spend the evening in good company.  

26 June: BOV Theatre School Prize Giving

posted 9 Jun 2017, 12:36 by Marc Pepperell

A wonderful celebration of all that makes up the special atmosphere of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Prize Giving this year will be in BOV Theatre at 3pm. Entry is free but is ticketed. For some years the Theatre Club has sponsored two of the awards. This year, for the first time, we will sponsor a third annual award which will be made to a student on one of the technical courses – an area of the School’s curriculum which is currently under-represented in the awards – and in recognition of the growing importance of this area of the School’s work. 

Our tea party for the graduating students follows at 4.15pm: this will be the last occasion to wish them well before they leave to start their professional careers. 

Tickets (if still available!) from Andrew Stocker on 0117 973 3955.  

9 August: BBC Bristol Studios Tour

posted 11 May 2017, 11:48 by Marc Pepperell

Here is an opportunity to have brunch and a 2hr tour of your local BBC radio and TV studios.  Members are welcome to bring themselves and guests to brunch or the tour, or hopefully, both.  

Brunch will be at Bakesmiths, on just around the corner from the BBC.  They have a good selection of toasts and hot sandwiches with various fillings such as avocado, mushrooms, ham etc plus a drink included in the set price for the brunch.

We will then go round to BBC Bristol for their 1pm tour.  You will be amazed when you see your local television centre. We will see how programmes are made, both now and in the past. 

We will have the chance to visit the interactive studio where you can have a go at presenting the news and weather, and star in your own radio drama, complete with sound effects. We will also visit the Points West studio and Radio Bristol studios, and possibly the rooftop garden where the weather forecast is sometimes broadcast.

BOV Theatre Club Nights

posted 5 Mar 2017, 09:36 by Marc Pepperell

Theatre Club Nights are where members and their guests see a Bristol Old Vic production and meet up before the show and during the interval.  After the show, we invite company members for a drink to chat over the production, often leading to interesting conversations with cast and creatives about the play and theatre in general. 

It’s a great way to introduce your friends to the Theatre Club. 

All you need do is to book your own tickets for the performance, then join us in our reserved area in the Backstage Bar where you are guaranteed to meet up with other keen theatregoers. 

Upcoming Theatre Club Nights:

Wednesday 8 March, 7.30pm to see Junkyard. 

Thursday 12  April, 7.30pm to see La Strada

Tuesday 20 June, 7.30pm to see Julius Caesar starring Julian Glover and Lynn Farleigh  

Thursday 10 August, 7.30pm to see The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (book early, very popular show)

Looking for Minute Takers

posted 2 Feb 2017, 06:57 by Marc Pepperell   [ updated 2 Feb 2017, 06:59 ]

A special request to all Theatre Club members. 

We are urgently looking for four or five members who have email to assist the committee by attending a couple of committee meetings per year to take the minutes of that meeting, so that committee members are free to focus on the club business and can continue to develop the range of activities for members. 

Committee meetings are once a month on a Thursday evening and last for 2-3 hours. We would be looking for a commitment to attend two meetings on a rota basis. If you would like more information, please contact Gary Hall by phone or email at 

We would appreciate any help that members can give. Thank you.

BOV Outreach - Made In Bristol with St Monica’s

posted 2 Feb 2017, 06:55 by Marc Pepperell

Made in Bristol is a cutting-edge training programme run by Bristol Old Vic for young people aged between 18 - 25 who hope to work in the Arts. For their first venture, they joined in an intergenerational project known as Chat Back, run by Wyldwood Arts with the residents at Monica Wills House, Bedminster.

Every week the Made in Bristol Company visited St. Monica’s for two hours to talk and work with residents. Through drama and movement workshops they developed a performance based on the residents’ memories of being seventeen. They heard stories about being in the navy and visiting record shops, first romances and songs of the era. The conversations revealed the people behind the stories with much laughter, joy and always music. After residents and students had undertaken drama activities together and exchanged anecdotes, they devised a joint performance to be shared in the St. Monica’s Hall.

For the full report see page 3 of the January 2017 newsletter  

An update on the progress of the refurbishment

posted 13 Dec 2016, 13:32 by Marc Pepperell

The big day for Bristol Old Vic finally arrived on Tuesday 1 November when we officially handed over the keys to the building to Gilbert Ash, the main contractors appointed to fulfil the building works. From this day on, Bristol Old Vic staff admission to the building is prohibited unless agreed in advance with the site foreman.

The first job for them was the mobilisation of the site, specifically making the separation between front and back of house safe and improving the sound barriers. On Monday 7 November, demolition began in earnest and, for those of us working in the surrounding area, it is very clear to see (and hear!). The demolition that will remove Coopers’ Gallery in its entirety is also well underway and the Macready Room wall has already begun to be removed which will reveal the original theatre wall.

The party wall to 36 King Street has also commenced demolition enabling the removal of the admin office block to allow for the preparation of the foyer roof and demolition will continue until Spring 2017, including revealing original theatre wall but also demolishing concrete pillars, floors and other high-density materials (which will be particularly noisy!).

Scaffolding around the neighbouring yard will also be erected to surround the west wall that is being worked on and the establishment of the site will continue to include portacabin offices and welfare facilities by Friday 2 December.

So, that’s a bit of insight into the work that is currently taking place, but what does it mean for the Theatre?

The building site’s working hours will be Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm and Saturday 8am – 1pm. This protects our business to keep operating as a theatre during the building works, but does mean that all internal day-to-day activity during the builders’ working hours may be subject to noise. Therefore, during this time, we are unable to engage with any Private Hires, additional matinee performances on week days and any other events due to the inherent risks of the project.

Any additional bookings requested by our partners, such as the Theatre Club, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, which is reviewed within the Planning Committee to consider the risks to both parties.

Throughout this period of refurbishment, we will keep the Theatre Club updated and we thank you for your continued support and patience during these exciting times.

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