Tom Morris to direct major new revival of 'The Crucible' this autumn

Bristol Old Vic's Artistic Director Tom Morris is to direct a major new revival of Arthur Miller's greatest play, on the eve of Bristol Old Vic's 250th Anniversary in 2016.

Since the theatre's reopening in 2009, Bristol Old Vic has strived to re-energise the great classics, explore and create innovative new work and showcase the brightest of the region's emerging talent. At the centre of this season, those ambitions are celebrated as we bring Arthur Miller's ground-breaking The Crucible back to the home of its UK premiere.

This benchmark production will sit alongside:

  • The world premiere of Life Raft (a new version of The Raft of the Medusa by Georg Kaiser adapted by Fin Kennedy and staged by Melly Still with a region-wide young cast and supported by Bristol Green Capital 2015)
  • A brand new collaboration with Complicite, playing at Bristol Old Vic immediately after its world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival
  • Two entirely new Christmas shows created by Sally Cookson and Little Bulb, catering for ages from 2-200.
  • The return to Bristol of our celebrated production of Jane Eyre, fresh from its triumphant run at the National and prior to its international premiere at the Hong Kong Festival.
  • The continued flowering of devised and newly written work from the Bristol Ferment including the world premiere of And Then Come the Nightjars
  • A dazzling array of Inspiring Visitors - form-bucking work to astonish artists and audiences alike - from a startling new play about martyrdom from ATC to Little Bulb's cult hit Orpheus.


Arthur Miller's relationship with Bristol Old Vic spanned five decades as the Theatre played host to the UK premieres of some of his greatest works. In the centenary of Miller's birth, Bristol Old Vic's Tom Morris (Juliet and Her Romeo, A Midsummer Night's Dream) will direct The Crucible, arguably Miller's most famous work, which had its UK premiere at Bristol Old Vic in 1954. 

A masterpiece of twentieth century theatre, written at the height of the McCarthyist witch-hunts in America, Miller's story will once again reflect the fears and insecurities of a new generation who are confronted by intolerance, hysteria and fear.

"Returning to this astonishing play in Miller's centenary year, the play's universality - and hence its greatness- is striking.  Written to reflect the fears, ambitions and hypocrisies of anti-communist paranoia in the 1950s, Miller's text seems to draw and resonate the fears and hypocrisies from any age in which it is played.  Wherever the language of righteousness is used to mask cruelty and intolerance, wherever the testimony of children is fetishized and manipulated, wherever individuals confront the possibility that their only honourable course is martyrdom, the play feels powerfully, unsettlingly topical." Tom Morris

Tom Morris will collaborate on the show with George Mann, Bristol Old Vic's Associate Director (Theatre Ad Infinitum) and award-winning designer Robert Innes Hopkins (Neville's Island, Speed The Plow, Clybourne Park, Swallows and Amazons).

The intimacy of the historic Theatre will be embraced with on-stage surround seating in a configuration never before seen at Bristol Old Vic, bringing audiences startlingly close to the action.

Also announced on sale for this autumn, Fin Kennedy's new adaptation of Georg Kaiser's The Raft of the Medusa. Inspired by a terrifying true story, Life Raft examines the path towards survival when thirteen children are adrift at sea and resources run short. Acclaimed theatre director Melly Still (Coram Boy, Bristol Old Vic; Nation, National Theatre) leads a cast of 13 young performers from across the South West in this world premiere, created in partnership with the Bristol Green Capital 2015 programme of cultural work. Also, Bristol Ferment continues to support and develop new talent as young playwright Bea Roberts' 2012 Ferment Fortnight work in progress, the award-winning And Then Come the Nightjars, is presented as a full-length production in association with Theatre503.

The Theatre also presents some of the leading contemporary dramas of today. Complicite's new work, The Encounter visits Bristol Old Vic as part of a major tour. The Encounter is inspired by the novel Amazon Beaming which tells the story of photographer Loren McIntyre who found himself lost amongst a remote rainforest people and how the encounter changed his life. The inimitable Simon McBurney, Complicite's legendary artistic director and solo performer, uses binaural technology to build an intimate and shifting world of sound, bringing the limits of human consciousness into startling focus.

ATC (The Events) and the Unicorn Theatre co-produce Martyr, in which they examine how far we should go in accommodating another's faith and when we should take a stand for our own opposing beliefs. This funny and provocative new play by leading German playwright Marius von Mayenburg is directed by ATC's Ramin Gray and will have a limited run at Bristol Old Vic prior to its official London opening.

Audiences will be transported to 1930s Paris as Bristol Old Vic welcomes the critically-acclaimed musical reimagining of Orpheus from Little Bulb Theatre. Following two sell-out runs and performances at the Salzburg Festival in 2014, this production will visit Bristol Old Vic as part of its first UK tour. Little Bulb also show their mastery of working with audiences of any age as they are welcomed back this Christmas. Our youngest audiences who were delighted by Antarctica's magical ‘Owlar bear' in 2013, can be enchanted once again by Little Bulb Theatre's The Night That Autumn Turned to Winter.

The Night That Autumn Turned to Winter in the Studio will sit alongside Sally Cookson's Theatre production Sleeping Beauty. Sally and her team's theatrical chemistry are hotly anticipated each year and Sleeping Beauty is set to continue Bristol Old Vic's tradition of presenting the most imaginative, entertaining and inventive musical theatre at Christmas. This production will be immediately followed by the first show of our 250th Anniversary year: the return of Sally Cookson's phenomenal Jane Eyre, restaged as a single exhilarating performance, following its run at the National Theatre.