Ferment is the artist development department of Bristol Old Vic. It is also the name we give to the vibrant community of theatre-makers from Bristol and the South West with whom we support and develop exciting and adventurous new work. Within this ‘ferment', it is our job to create a playful structure through which the best of these artists can explore their theatrical ideas in an ongoing dialogue with audiences.

Devisers, directors, writers, dancers, musicians, poets, puppeteers and live artists; Ferment invite a huge variety of artists whose work inspires us to experiment, play and make the theatre of tomorrow. Bristol Old Vic Ferment is curated and produced by Emma Bettridge and assistant producer Helen Edwards.

Here are some of the ways we work with artists:

Ferment Festivals
Twice a year we invite artists to try something out in front of an audience which could be work-in progress or scratch performances.

Artist development
We support artists through conversations where we discuss everything from an initial exploration of an idea, advice on applying for funding and everything in between.

We invite artists to escape with us to the country to experiment, develop and make work in lovely surroundings away from day to day life.

Support & Commissioning
If a project really excites us, we support it to reach the next  stage or into a full production.


Bristol Ferment is curated and produced by Emma Bettridge and assistant producer Helen Edwards.  

If you are a playwright, your first contact should be with Sharon Clark, Literary Producer.

For general enquiries and initial contact please email bristolferment@bristololdvic.org.uk.

Coming up for Bristol Old Vic Ferment


We are delighted to be supporting an excellent array of artists from the South West at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.

Find out more

Bristol Ferment Opportunities

As well the many ways we work with artists Bristol Ferment also offers other opportunities to give you the chance to develop as an artist. For more information on the latest opportunities click here.


Bristol Ferment is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. We use a grant from the Foundation to invest directly in artists and the development of their work, through a bespoke programme of research and development, mentoring, dramaturgical support and a variety of public-facing performances and work-in-progress scratch events delivered by Ferment's core team.

The Jerwood Charitable Foundation support additional specific elements of this activity, namely, Ferment production and research and development commissions; artistic retreats; and a new programme for 2015/16, Ferment Producer Bursaries.


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