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250th Birthday Weekend

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Join in the celebrations for our 250th birthday!



2016 represents an extraordinary moment in theatre history as Bristol Old Vic, the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, celebrates its 250th birthday.

To mark this momentous occasion, we are planning a weekend of celebrations over the May Bank Holiday (28-30 May) to mark the extraordinary survival of this unique theatre and its 250 year love affair with the city that built it. Featuring three smashing days of entertainment, free events and one brilliant street party. We hope you can drop in and help us celebrate!

Photography Jack Offord and Jon Craig


Sat 28 May

Discover theatre at Bristol Old Vic

We're throwing open our doors and offering everyone a chance to explore our beautiful working Theatre through workshops for all ages, talks and guided tours. 


SATURDAY WORKSHOPS

Our Outreach team are curating a wonderful series of family friendly workshops in our rehearsal rooms. Workshops are free and can be booked in advance by following the links below or calling our Box Office on 0117 987 7877.

Movement for Young People
10.30am | Basement

Discover new ways to create characters using movement and the influence of the objects around us. For ages 8 - 14 years. 

Family Storytelling 
12pm, 2.45pm | Basement

Learn to create stories on the spot, taking inspiration from the word around us, the sounds we hear and the people we meet. Join workshop leader Katie Storer as we abolish the rules and go on a journey of endless stories! For ages 4 years and up.

The Story Cellar
1.30pm | Basement

Come and help us solve the mystery of the oldest woman in the world! Join storyteller Liz Hague to explore story making and puppetry through traditional party games with a twist. For ages 6-10 years and their parents and carers.


IN CONVERSATION
Presented by Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club 

The popular In Conversation events from our friends of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club bring you three stimulating talks to give you an insight into theatre-making behind the scenes.

These talks are free and are bookable through our Box Office on the day.

Mike Shepherd, Kneehigh Artistic Director
11am | Studio

Mike started Kneehigh in 1980 and has worked almost exclusively for the company ever since. He joins us to talk about the past, present and future of Bristol's favourite visiting company.

Realising the Vision, Bristol Old Vic's Technical Department
12.30pm | Studio

Discover the art of technical theatre with our brilliant team of technicians who build our sets, rig the lights, manage the sound and bring our wonderful Theatre programme to life.

Delve further into the technical world and take a tour of the Bristol Old Vic workshop at Albion Docks. The tour will start straight after the talk at 1.30pm. Meet at Box Office and walk over with your guides Fred Stacey and Andy Scrivens.

Becoming an Actor
2pm | Studio

Hear our panel of emerging and established Bristol-based actors speak about their pathway to the stage and the journey of their careers.

The panel will be lead by Felix Hayes, Saikat Ahamed, Lucy Tuck, Peter Edwards and Hannah Lee.

Stage Fight Demonstration
3.30pm | Studio

Join us for an exciting fight demonstration and Q&A from the talented Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students. Demonstrations will last for approximately 10 minutes and will begin on the quarter hour from 3.30pm-4.30pm.


MONOLOGUES IN THE MACREADY ROOM

Four Centuries of Bad Advice
Actor David Hargreaves (The Crucible) performs a comic monologue from each century of the Theatre's life and a Shakespeare to mark the 400th anniversary of his death

12pm Advice for the Players by William Oxberry - 18th Century
1pm The Evils of Tobacco by Anton Chekhov - 19th Century
2pm The English way of Death by Alan Bennet - 20th Century
3pm Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth - 21st Century
4pm Advice for the Players from Hamlet - Shakespeare


GUIDED TOURS
12pm - 3:30pm | Coopers Gallery

Discover our theatre with a guided tour from one of our experts. Tours are free and take about 45 minutes, leaving on the half hour between 12pm and 3:30pm from Coopers Gallery.

There will also be an access-friendly tour at 11.30am.

Tour spaces are limited and bookings will be available on the day, just see our friendly Box Office staff when you arrive at Bristol Old Vic. 


A THOUSAND SEASONS PAST
2pm | Big Screen Bristol, Millennium Square

Today we're bringing the party to to Millennium Square today with a screening of Bristol Old Vic Young Company and Travelling Light Youth Theatre's co-production A Thousand Seasons Past. First performed in August 2015 in a specially constructed outdoor auditorium, in collaboration with Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives. (Please feel free to pack a picnic and a deckchair!)

Original production funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Umberslade.


BEHIND THE SCENES | 1990 & 2016
25 May-11 Jun
Theatre Bar

An exhibition of drawings and paintings of Bristol Old Vic productions by Rachel Hemming Bray.


Sun 29 May

Celebrate at our 250th Anniversary Gala

We're celebrating in style with a star-studded event celebrating the past, present and future of Bristol Old Vic. With appearances from Bristol Old Vic favourites including Tim Pigott-Smith, Caroline Quentin and Sir Tony Robinson tickets are sure to be snapped up quickly, so visit our Gala page here for further information on how to purchase your ticket. 

A THOUSAND SEASONS PAST
2pm  |  Big Screen Bristol, Millennium Square

We're bringing the party to Millennium Square today with a screening of Bristol Old Vic Young Company and Travelling Light Youth Theatre's co-production A Thousand Seasons Past. First performed in August 2015 in a specially constructed outdoor auditorium, in collaboration with Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives. (Please feel free to pack a picnic and a deckchair!)

Original production funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Umberslade.


Mon 30 May

Participate in Bristol's Creativity

On the day of our 250th birthday itself, we're having a street party to celebrate Bristol's creativity. We are handing over our building to local artists and community groups from across the city with performances and workshops from Bristol Open Stage and will be joined by arts organisations from across Bristol.

KING STREET PARTY

Join us for the now famous King Street food festival from 12-9pm thanks to our friends and neighbours at BEATS* and Wriggle** (the Bristol restaurants app)! Featuring live music and performances as well as a delicious collection of food vendors to ensure the party continues throughout the day.

One of the highlights of our street party is from our friends at Circomedia. They're helping us celebrate with a professional high-wire performance from The Bullzini Family as well as peformances from emerging circus artists throughout the day.

The climax of our street party will see all of King Street treated to an visual history of Bristol Old Vic, projected onto the front of our building from brilliant Bristol collective Limbic Cinema. Join us from 9pm, with screenings on the half hour until 10pm.


MONDAY WORKSHOPS

Thanks to our participants in Bristol Open Stage, we are pleased to offer workshops from local artists and creative groups across the day. Workshops are free and can be booked in advance by following the links below or calling our Box Office on 0117 987 7877.

Family Capoeira
10am, 2.30pm | Rehearsal Room

Capoeira is a fun an energetic dance and non-contact fight. Bristol Capoeira invite you to an hour long workshop developing confidence, coordination, musicality and rhythm for absolute beginners and all ages.

The Story Cellar 
10.30am | Basement 

Come and help us solve the mystery of the oldest woman in the world! Join storyteller Liz Hague to explore story making and puppetry through traditional party games with a twist. Suitable for ages 6-10 years.

Bhangra Workshop
11.30pm | Rehearsal Room

A fun-packed music and dance workshop with Bristol favourites RSVP Bhangra. RSVP will also be playing at our street party immediately after this workshop; participates will be encouraged to join in and show off their new-found Bhangra moves!

Free Family Theatre: Mr Gotalot's Gotalot Shop by Monkey Trousers Theatre
12pm & 2pm | Studio

Ms Barnet, the evil old landlady, is desperate to get her hands on the bestest, cheesiest cheese ever in a bid to win the The Great British Cheese Off and thwart her old enemy, Hairy Mary Berry - but will Mr Gotalot's magical shop provide her with what she needs? Suitable for ages 3-9 years.

This performance is free, just drop in and join us!

Introduction to Theatre Making
12pm | Ages 10+ | Basement
2pm | Ages 13+ | Basement

Join director James Kent as we look at some key methods of theatre making, looking at scripts and how we make stories that eventually become theatre.

Family Flashmob
1pm | Rehearsal Room

Create and perform a bespoke flashmob to celebrate 250 years of Bristol Old Vic. Katie Storer promises lots of fun and creativity as we come up with our own choreography to celebrate 250 years with a bang! Suitable for all ages.

Introduction to Improvisation
3.30pm | Basement

Unlock your creativity and confidence with this fun introduction to improvised comedy and theatre! Join John Lomas of The Bristol Improv Theatre and learn to be spontaneous, supportive and the power of saying ‘Yes and...!' Suitable for ages 16 years and up. 


BRISTOL OPEN STAGE SHOWCASE PERFORMANCES
Mon 30 May
1pm-7pm

As part of our 250th birthday, we have been celebrating the sense of imagination and play that runs through our amazing city with our first Bristol Open Stage events. Over two days in February and March, we invited over 70 Bristolian artists and community groups to perform on our Theatre stage. To help us celebrate our birthday, we've invited as many performers to share their work with you in a true celebration of our city's creative heart.

Showcase performances are free, but seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. Make sure you arrive early to get your seat!

Firebird Theatre
1pm

Firebird Theatre are a company of experienced disabled performers and an Associate Artist of Bristol Old Vic. They have been creating theatre for 25 years in Bristol and will perform extracts from their work in this exclusive performance. Their patron, Olivier Award winner Kathryn Hunter, will perform alongside the company.

Yesterday's Island Revisited
2pm

The story of how a community musical brought the St Phillips Marsh back to life in 1984. Told through scenes and songs.

Music Showcase
3pm

Join us for a mix of music and song styles written and perfomed by Bristol musicians, just some of the talented artists we met through Bristol Open Stage.

Wordsmiths
4.30pm

In this showcase, you're invited to listen to our local writer's comic and sometimes thoughtful take on life in Bristol and beyond through spoken word and poetry.

Drama and Musical Theatre
6pm

Bristol is full of story tellers. Sit back and enjoy this showcase featuring a comic play about ‘The Bristol Hum', and a selection of songs from new musicals by Bristol writers.

Bristol Open Stage Finale
7.30pm

For the finale of our Bristol Open Stage showcase series, we present performancse from the brilliantly energetic and Bristolian outfits Gurt Lush Choir and the Bristol MAN Chorus who will take to our stage with an array of songs to celebrate Bristol's creative heart. They will be followed by RSVP Bhangra, Bristol's own Bhangra pioneers, who will create a shoulder shaking party vibe that will be sure to get you dancing.


250th Birthday Weekend

28-30 May
Building wide!

@bristololdvic | #BOV250
facebook.com/bristololdvic

If you have any questions please email birthday@bristololdvic.org.uk

Photography Jack Archer
Cake by Out Of This World Cakes

*BEATS is a true Bristol based street-food collective, created by a group of street-food traders. Their aim is to blend the South West's freshest new street food offerings, with the region's best up-and-coming music, artists and performers, along with licensed bar facilities to create great, free street food parties in Bristol.

**Wriggle's mission is to help you discover the best local food, drink and entertainment establishments, with the helping hand of exclusive savings. Since launching in Bristol in 2014, they've connected tens of thousands of people with hundreds of their best local restaurants, cafes, events and more. See where Wriggle takes you; every special offer on the site is a personal invitation from a business to try them out - Wriggle carefully handpick their partner businesses, and know you'll love them too.


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