Bristol Old Vic's 2016 fundraising appeal: we need your help

As you may already know, the Theatre Royal Bristol, home of Bristol Old Vic, is the oldest, continuously working theatre in the UK and will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2016.

Since re-opening the refurbished auditorium in September 2012, we've enjoyed unprecedented success. First, Peter Pan set a new box office record, only to be superseded immediately by A Midsummer Night's Dream. Our most recent production, Jane Eyre, received universal critical acclaim with five-star reviews from The Times, Daily Telegraph, and Mail on Sunday.

These successes have given us the confidence to finish the building project we started in 2010, and the final phase of the theatre's refurbishment will ensure Bristol Old Vic becomes the major creative hub for the South-West of England, guaranteeing a unique legacy for future generations.

When the theatre was first built in 1766, it was deliberately concealed behind other buildings facing onto King Street, Bristol's major thoroughfare at the time. Consequently, the original façade of this unique theatre has remained hidden to the general public, and over the years sadly masked by layers of plaster and brickwork.

We now have planning permission to reveal the theatre for the first time, exposing its exterior wall within a new, spacious, glass-fronted foyer that will also contain Bristol Old Vic's box office, two separate bars and a restaurant, greatly enhancing the visitor experience by offering a wider variety of food to choose from, speedier service and more spaces to sit and relax prior to performance or during the interval.

Coopers' Hall having served as the entrance to the theatre since 1971, will be restored to its original glory as a mercantile guildhall, housing a new studio theatre on the mezzanine level above which will be one of the most elegant banqueting halls in the country.

Over the coming weeks we will be calling you as part of our Anniversary Works capital campaign. We hope you will enjoy the opportunity to be personally informed of our latest plans in more detail, as well as sharing your invaluable thoughts and opinions with us. Not least, we hope that you will be encouraged to support the final phase of our project. Bristol Old Vic is only as strong as its supporters, and phase one was only possible thanks to the £1.8m raised from individual donors. If you choose to support the Anniversary Works, your contribution will be permanently displayed within the new foyer where it will be acknowledged by many generations to come.

We hope you will want to hear about our plans and how you can help make them a reality, but if you would rather not, please contact Kate Ryan on 0117 949 3993 or email

If you'd like to know more, please click here.