Autumn 2012 season launched
"sublimely beautiful theatre" reopens...
BRISTOL OLD VIC'S ARTISTIC DIRECTOR TOM MORRIS ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH SEASON FOR THE NEWLY REFURBISHED THEATRE
Artistic Director Tom Morris today announces Bristol Old Vic's Autumn season, which sees the company throw open the doors to its newly refurbished theatre. The auditorium is the oldest working playhouse in the country, loved by artists and audiences alike and celebrated by Bristol Old Vic's Fundraising Campaign Patron Daniel Day Lewis as a "sublimely beautiful theatre".
This reopening is the culmination of Morris and Executive Director Emma Stenning's vision for Bristol Old Vic, seeing the transformation of the Georgian auditorium, Paintshop and back-stage areas to create a 21st century home for theatre-makers and theatregoers.
These past 18 months, during the refurbishment, Bristol Old Vic has continued to produce a full programme of work; not only in the Studio, but across Bristol, and even outside the theatre on King Street. The company has smashed previous audience records (Treasure Island and Swallows & Amazons both played to over 23,000 people), developed collaborations with arts organisations across the city (Coram Boy at Colston Hall played to 17,000 in ten days over Christmas 2011), released a new generation of artists through the pioneering Bristol Ferment strand and launched a dynamic Outreach programme under the leadership of John Retallack.
The reopened theatre will be baptised by John O'Keefe's Wild Oats directed by Mark Rosenblatt, whose company will also devise Does My Society Look Big in This? - an up to the minute satire on current news and events - with writer Stephen Brown and Tom Morris.
The theatre will then once again give itself over to Bristol Jam - the country's only festival of improvised performance, before director Sally Cookson returns, following her critically acclaimed Treasure Island, to direct a new imagining of JM Barrie's classic tale Peter Pan as the Christmas production.
In the Studio, the company will enter a first time collaboration with Sherman Cymru, for Katherine Chandler's brilliant and vivid new play Before It Rains. Running in tandem with Peter Pan this festive season is the theatre's annual production for younger audiences, Hey Diddle Diddle, directed by Miranda Cromwell.
Bristol Old Vic will continue to invite ground-breaking theatre companies to Bristol as part of the Inspiring Visitors strand including, for the first time, Cheek by Jowl who will launch their national tour of ‘Tis Pity She's a Whore (24 October - 3 November). Inspiring Visitors will also appear in the Studio with highlights including Iron Shoes' Mad About the Boy (27 - 29 September); Fuel's Ring (16 - 20 October); You're Not Like Other Girls Chrissy (23 - 27 October) and Chris Goode & Company's God/Head (1 - 3 November). Bristol Ferment continues to go from strength to strength with Sleepdogs' The Bullet and The Brass Trombone (A Bristol Old Vic Ferment Commission, 14 - 17 November) and I Could Have Been Better (A Bristol Old Vic Ferment co-production with Idiot Child, 3 - 6, 9 - 13 October).
Also announced today is the appointment of a new family of Associate Artists and Companies.
- Sally Cookson (Director)
- Melly Still (Director)
- Simon Godwin (Director)
- Helen Edmundson (Writer)
- Adam Peck (Writer)
- Bruno Poet (Lighting Designer)
- Vicky Mortimer (Designer)
- Chris Shutt (Sound Designer)
- Tristan Sturrock(Actor)
- Akiya Henry (Actor)
- Champloo (Dance Company)
- Firebird (Theatre Company)
- Kneehigh (Theatre Company)
- Handspring (Theatre Company)
- MAYK (Producers)
Artistic Director Tom Morris said today, "This exquisite auditorium has been lovingly restored according the brilliant geometry of its original design, placing the actor at the centre of an intimate storytelling space, which is a unique architectural survivor from an age when theatre was charismatic, subversive and dangerously live. But the restoration looks forward as much as it looks back, equipping the new theatre for the vivid imaginations of 21st century theatre-makers, aiming to create an environment in which new theatrical languages can evolve. We are absolutely thrilled to announce this next stage in our relationship with this most beautiful playhouse, the artists who are as inspired by it as we are and the audiences who have so generously welcomed our programme over the last three years."
A Bristol Old Vic production
by John O'Keeffe
Directed by Mark Rosenblatt
Tom Morris says, "In reopening this Theatre, we are looking forward and backwards at the same time. This glorious 18th century comedy was written for a playhouse like ours in an age of Georgian extravagance, but its central character is vividly and hilariously contemporary: an actor who doesn't know where he comes from and who simply can't stop acting. Showing the young creative team around the half-restored Theatre, and seeing its potential through their adventurous eyes, was a truly inspiring experience which I hope will characterise our programme for years to come."
4 September - 20 October
Press night: 11 September at 7pm
"I am the mighty Thunder!" Jack Rover
Jack Rover is an actor. Committed, quick-witted and capable of slipping into a new identity with the merest arc of an eyebrow. The trouble is, there's one character he hasn't quite mastered. His own.
John O'Keeffe's careering caper of cross purposes, mistaken identity and confusion is a classic romp of a comedy, directed by Mark Rosenblatt making his Bristol Old Vic debut.
The charismatic, Shakespeare-spouting Rover lurches between places and people, falling in love, pulling pranks and tumbling over relations he never knew he had.
Wild Oats is a riotously comic affair, a high-speed barrel through the lives of a dysfunctional band of friends, foes and family which serves, most triumphantly, as a heartfelt love letter to theatre itself.
John O'Keeffe (1747-1833) is an Irish actor and dramatist. His principal works include The Shamrock, Tony Lumpkin in Town, Omai, The Poor Soldier and Love in a Camp.
Mark Rosenblatt directs. Rosenblatt is the Associate at the National Theatre Studio and runs Dumbfounded Theatre. As a director his work includes, for Shakespeare's Globe, Henry VIII, Holding Fire and Voices of Abolition (also devised - at The Palace of Westminster), Moonlight and Magnolias (Watermill Theatre), Four Plays About Freedom, Bread & Butter (Tricycle Theatre), The 24 Hour Plays (The Old Vic), Just Between Ourselves for the Ayckbourn at 70 Season (Northampton Theatres), Snake In The Grass (Matrix Theater, Los Angeles), Songs of the South and The Unknown Kurt Weill (Young Vic/ENO) Professor Bernhardi (Arcola, as part of The Last Waltz Season), and The Circle (Oxford Stage Company). He won JMK Award for Young Directors in 1999.
Wild Oats runs in rep with Does My Society Look Big In This? through its final fortnight.
A Bristol Old Vic production
Does My Society Look Big in This?
By Stephen Brown, Tom Morris and the Wild Oats company
10, 12, 13, 17 & 19 October
The post-millennial glow of optimism may have dimmed, but our instinct to speak out burns bright. We wake in 2012 to a buckled economy, a fractured government and an increasingly bruised public sector struggling to keep up.
Bristol Old Vic's Artistic Director Tom Morris joins forces with writer Stephen Brown and the cast of Wild Oats to deliver a thudding piece of satirical polemic that sifts the biggest news stories of today and unearths the truth that lurks behind the headlines.
Stephen Brown scripted Filter Theatre's sell-out hit Faster (BAC, London / Lyric Studio, London / UK tour / Frankfurt / 59E59 Theater, New York). His play Future Me premièred at Theatre503 in London in June 2007 to wide acclaim and had its US première in Berkeley, CA, in April 2008. Other work includes a stage adaptation of Bleak House for Bill Kenwright Ltd, the book for a musical version of The Master and Margarita, and scripting Filter Theatre's Elephant. Brown is currently working on two commissions - an original script for the National Theatre and an adaptation of Rory Stewart's bestselling memoir Occupational Hazards. He has worked as a critic and journalist in print and on radio, and as a book editor and translator. He was publisher of the London-based political magazine Prospect.
Tom Morris was appointed in September 2009 as Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic - his inaugural production was Juliet and Her Romeo. Morris was Associate Director at the National Theatre where he developed and co-directed the sell-out productions Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and War Horse (currently running in the West End, Broadway - Tony Award for Best Direction, Toronto, Australia, Berlin and on tour in the UK and US). He recently directed his first opera, The Death of Klinghoffer for the ENO. Previously he was Artistic Director at Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) from 1995 to 2004 where he revolutionised the programme, oversaw a radical management restructure and led the organisation from the verge of bankruptcy to financial stability.
Emma Stenning says, "All of our productions will be contemporary, but some of them will be more contemporary than others. This show is extreme. At the time of writing, none of us know what it will be about. The idea is that it will be devised by Tom, Stephen and the company in immediate response to whatever is happening in Bristol, or in Britain at the time. It is partly inspired by the plays of Fielding, which were so scabrous they got theatre banned in 1737, meaning our own theatre was illegal when it opened without license in 1766. It is also inspired by the writings of Edmund Burke about democracy. He was MP in Bristol in the same year."
5 - 11 November
"Improvisation is too good to leave to chance." Paul Simon
For one week, Bristol Old Vic lays down the gauntlet to some of the planet's most incredible minds and singular talents giving them free reign of the theatre (and the Paintshop, the Studio, the Café, the walkways, the toilets...), unleashing impromptu, audience-driven, world class live performance.
Like watching globally renowned string quartets perform mere centimetres from your seat? How about seeing classical theatre texts reinvented, reshaped and reinvigorated on the spot by a cast chosen by you?
Or comedians going all out with an off-the-cuff set sparked by whatever you decide to fling at them?
Bristol Jam embraces all tribes: comedians, musicians, poets, performers, dancers, actors, singers and storytellers. We know they'll come, but what they do when they get here, is anyone's guess.
Tom Morris says: "In a city where creativity, innovation and convention-defying spirits soar and thrive, where better to house the planet's leading festival of improvisation? Bristol Jam has lain dormant for the past 18 months but as we explore the possibilities of our newly redeveloped Theatre, we'll also be inviting some of the world's most extraordinarily talented individuals to explore and spread their wings - and minds - throughout all of our spaces at Bristol Old Vic. We don't know exactly what'll happen during the week, but the thrill lies in the discovering."
A Bristol Old Vic Production
Devised by the company based on the works of JM Barrie
Director: Sally Cookson
Dramaturg: Mike Akers
Designer: Michael Vale
Costume Designer: Katie Sykes
Composer: Benji Bower
26 November - 19 January
Press night: 4 December at 7pm
Following the company's recent productions of Swallows and Amazons and Coram Boy, this year's Christmas show sees our imaginations soar skyward as JM Barrie's much-loved tale of the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up takes flight.
When the leader of the Lost Boys, the fleet-footed Peter Pan, loses his shadow during a visit to London, kind-hearted Wendy helps him re-attach it and is invited back to Neverland in return - where Tinker Bell the fairy, Princess Tiger Lily and, of course, the vengeful Captain Hook await.
Directed by Sally Cookson, Peter Pan explores the pain and possibilities of growing up, set to live music and a riot of colour, magic and merry mischief to fill the hearts of everyone this Christmas.
Director Sally Cookson returns to Bristol Old Vic. Her work for the company includes Treasure Island, Boing! How Cold My Toes, Home, Aesop's Fables and Papa Please Get the Moon for Me. Her other work includes Lost and Found (Polka Theatre), We're Going On a Bear Hunt (Kenny Wax Productions), Stick Man, Aesop's Fables (Scamp Theatre), Cinderella, Ali Baba, The Ugly Duckling (Tobacco Factory), Bob The Man On The Moon, Shadowplay, Lenny, Clown, Cloudland (Travelling Light), Sapling Song, As Far As I Can Sea (National Trust), The Mermaid And The Mirror (Half Moon) and Jump (Myrtle theatre).
Tom Morris says, "Our best work happens in the imaginations of our audience in response to the brilliance of our artists. Sally Cookson is one of our new Associate Artists at Bristol Old Vic because her work achieves that magical "fizz" of the imagination which creates unforgettable theatrical memories."
A Sherman Cymru/Bristol Old Vic co-production
Before It Rains
by Katherine Chandler
Director: Róisín McBrinn
Designer: Alyson Cummins
10 - 22 September
Press night: 11 September at 3pm
On a hard-bitten, back woods Cardiff estate...
Vodka-sloshing single mum Gloria sinks into a deckchair and drinks her troubles away. Her gentle son, Michael, gamely ploughs the allotment, tends to the soil, and tries to make order of things.
From the other side of the tracks, Carl - wild, unpredictable and footloose - watches both with interest, bouncing his ball. And then a cat gets nailed to a neighbour's door.
Funny, brave and beautifully told, Katherine Chandler's tale of parenthood, protection and provocation looks at how we all develop our own ways of coping with the world, our craving for companionship and the consequences of having either threatened.
Before It Rains is co-produced with Sherman Cymru in Cardiff and forms part of the company's ambition to work with other theatres and local writers throughout the South West and Wales.
Chris Ricketts, Director of Sherman Cymru, said today, "We're really pleased to be working with Bristol Old Vic on Before It Rains and hope it will be the first of many collaborations between us. Kath is a really promising writer who we know will make a strong name for herself over the years ahead. That both companies wanted to work with her on this piece is testament to her talent and the confidence we have in her writing."
Katherine Chandler's first play a musical comedy called The Bankrupt Bride was produced by Theatr Na n'Og in 2009 and toured nationally. Chandler has had a long-standing relationship with the company and her play We Need Bees, a children's play for the under 7s, is currently on tour. As a writer she has also had short plays produced by Dirty Protest and Spectacle Theatre. In 2011 one of Kath's plays was selected by Pentabus Theatre as their 'We Are Here 2011' winning script and was developed in association with Sherman Cymru. Chandler is the recipient of an Arts Council Wales grant to write a new female led comedy and is under commission from National Theatre Wales to develop a new piece of work with them. She is currently working with Grassroots Cardiff on a soap opera project for Radio Cardiff called The Diff.
Róisín McBrinn's directing credits include Yellow Moon (Rustaveli Theater of Georgia), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre), Yerma (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Novecento (Donmar Trafalgar), No Escape, The Fairer Sex (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), Fugitive Kind (Donmar Warehouse - reading as part of the Tennessee Williams' season), Inparenthesis (Winner of The Metamorphosis project at Churchill Theatre, Bromley), Crestfall (Theatre 503), Sleeping Beauty (Helix Theatre, Dublin), The Field (Tricycle Theatre), Whereabouts (Fishamble Theatre Company), A Thousand Yards (Southwark Playhouse), References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot and Gompers (Arcola Theatre). McBrinn was the Donmar's Resident Assistant Director in 2003, won the Young Vic/Jerwood Young Director's Award in 2004, and was the recipient of the Quercus Award 2010 run by the National Theatre.
Emma Stenning says "Our work over the past few years has been a real lesson in reaching out beyond our theatre - and beyond Bristol - and this hugely exciting co-production with Cardiff's Sherman Cymru continues our instinct to collaborate. Katherine Chandler's script sings; at times uproariously funny, at others, thuddingly poignant and full of colloquial attitude and swagger. Before It Rains - and its deeply compelling central character - won't be forgotten in a hurry."
Since Sherman Cymru formed in 2007 through the merger of Sherman Theatre Limited and Sgript Cymru Limited, it has consistently produced critically acclaimed and award winning work in both Welsh and English, such as Deep Cut, Speechless and Llwyth. The company strives to create the best theatre it can; to achieve a distinct and diverse programme for audiences; to engage its communities in the creative process of theatre making; and to make a lasting contribution to the national and international development of theatre in Wales. Central to its work Sherman Cymru are commited to developing and championing the work of Welsh and Wales-based writers, to foster the involvement of young people in the experience of theatre and to actively encourage the development of emerging artists of the next generation.
A Bristol Old Vic production
Hey Diddle Diddle
Director: Miranda Cromwell
28 November - 5 January
Press night: 7 December at 4.30pm
"Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" The Little Dog
What's your favourite nursery rhyme?
This December, once again, the company turn our Studio into a magical Christmas playground for our younger audiences to enjoy, to complement Peter Pan running in the theatre.
Can you untangle Incy Wincy's web of muddled rhymes and characters and help Little Bo Peep find her sheep and put Humpty Dumpty together again?
Armed with instruments, games, songs and a sackful of seasonal surprises, let Jack and Jill take you on a nostalgic, magical journey to a world of wonder and feel-good festive fun. Meet the owl, the pussycat, three blind mice and the grand old Duke of York.
Miranda Cromwell, who graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 2007, is a Bristol-based director, choreographer and performer, specialising in devised physical performance. For Bristol Old Vic, she was Assistant Director on Swallows and Amazons, Associate Director on Coram Boy and directed Sense (Studio). Other work includes Our Country's Good which won three awards at National Student Drama Festival 2010 - with Cromwell receiving the judges' award for Artistic Leadership; and Children of Killers for National Theatre Connections. In addition to her work at Bristol Old Vic, Cromwell is also Artistic Director of local company Twisted Theatre.
Ages 3-6 (and anyone else who's a fan of Georgie Porgie, Little Miss Muffet or Old Mother Hubbard)
Emma Stenning says, "Our Studio Christmas show is an inked-in festive highlight and once again, we'll be transforming the space into a sparkling seasonal hideaway for our younger audiences. The hugely gifted young director Miranda Cromwell - part of the Bristol Old Vic Young Company alumni - will apply her boundless vision to Hey Diddle Diddle, a musical treasure hunt for the kids, and a nostalgia-smothered sleigh-ride for the adults."
Bristol Old Vic Listings
Bristol Old Vic
King Street, Bristol, BS1 4ED
Box Office: 0117 987 7877
Booking fees apply
For tickets price on individual shows, please refer to the website
Concessions and group rates available
For further information, please contact: Kate Morley at DDA Blueprint 07970 465 648 / firstname.lastname@example.org
or Amanda Adams at Bristol Old Vic 0117 9494901 / email@example.com
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