Bristol Old Vic's Summer 2015 Season Announced

On the eve of the Theatre’s 249th birthday, Bristol Old Vic looks to the future with a world premiere of Owen Sheers’ Pink Mist and a summer of exploration and innovation.

At the heart of Bristol Old Vic’s summer programme is the world premiere of Owen Sheer’s award-winning drama Pink Mist. A powerful poetic tale, it is the first extended lyric narrative to emerge from the devastating conflict in Afghanistan, and has already won acclaim from the BBC radio version broadcast in 2014. Drawing upon interviews with soldiers and their families, as well as ancient texts such as the medieval Welsh poem Y Gododdin, it excavates the human cost of modern warfare through the lives of three Bristol soldiers.

Owen Sheers has been recognised as ‘the war poet of our generation’ (The Independent) while his novel Resistance has been translated into ten languages and made into a film in 2011. He was Artist in Residence for the Welsh Rugby Union in 2012 and is currently Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.

Speaking about the production, Owen Sheers’ said: “From the very beginning of my writing it I have always wanted its ongoing life to be on the stage. As a story rooted in the landscape, music and rhythms of Bristol I'm particularly thrilled that it will be Bristol Old Vic who will guide Pink Mist into its theatrical existence. I'm excited to see how their team will make manifest what is a timeless, and yet all too contemporary story, about war's exploitation of youth and the long shadows of its aftermath through individuals, families and their communities.”

This production will be performed with the Theatre stage reconfigured as an intimate studio space and marks the return of Bristol Old Vic associate John Retallack (founder of Company of Angels) working with new Bristol Old Vic Associate Director, George Mann (co-artistic director of Theatre Ad Infinitum).

Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic said: “Bristol Old Vic is best known for its reinvention of classic plays – but we’re equally committed to pioneering productions of new writing, not just through the Bristol Ferment in our Studios, but on the main Theatre stage too. Owen Sheers is now established as a poetic dramatist of extraordinary eloquence and power and this summer gives us the perfect opportunity to present the world premiere of this brilliant, beautiful and moving play. It’s about the human cost of fighting, the impact of modern conflict on the bodies and minds of our soldiers, and it’s set in the heart of Bristol. We are thrilled that he has chosen to see it premiered here too.”

Also this summer Mayfest, one of the UKs leading contemporary theatre festivals, returns with ten world class productions in the Theatre and Studio as part of the city-wide festival, while Bristol Proms returns for a third year presenting some of the world’s greatest living musicians in the magical setting of our historic Theatre. This year, Bristol Proms is also taking music into the city, schools and to the next generation of artists and audiences through a series of innovative projects.

World renowned trumpeter Alison Balsom launched Bristol Proms 2015. Speaking at the launch in March she said: “Bristol Proms is trying to do something really visionary- they’re presenting music at the highest level, and yet presented in a really unexpected way. I think it’s going to be a hot ticket this year and I’m incredibly excited to be involved.”

Bristol Old Vic is also delighted to welcome the Royal Court’s Olivier Award-winning Constellations, starring Louise Brealey and Joe Armstrong. Also the nationally acclaimed hit Birdsong comes to Bristol Old Vic for the first time, based on the world-famous novel by Sebastian Faulks.

Bristol Old Vic associate artist Sally Cookson will be bringing her hit West End production of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather to the Theatre launching a UK wide tour – followed closely by her inventive new version of Sleeping Beauty created for Bristol Old Vic this Christmas. Her Bristol Old Vic 2014 hit Jane Eyre will also begin an international tour at Bristol Old Vic in January after completing a run at the National Theatre this autumn.

The successful Outreach work of the theatre continues to forge new relationships across the region: ongoing arts provision in schools with little opportunity for cultural engagement, a Young Company partnership with Travelling Light Young Company and Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives to create an open-air performance on M-Shed’s Museum Square and the Young Company’s graduate scheme Made in Bristol, presenting this year’s company Propolis Theatre.

With new writing, spoken word celebrations and half term family treats completing the programme, summer is hotting up at Bristol Old Vic.