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The Grinning Man

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A Bristol Old Vic Production
Bristol Old Vic's 250th Anniversary Season

Cracked hearts. Strange fates. Impossible dreams.

The King is dead, but who the hell cares? A strange new act has arrived at the Stokes Croft fair, a grotesque oasis of entertainment.

Soon everyone from the gutter rats to the new Queen has fallen for the handmade freak Grinpayne and his hideously beautiful face. But who is he really? And how did he come to be so marked? Together with an old man, a blind girl and a wolf, he has a story to tell. A tale so tragic and so strange that not even he can guess how it will end.

The Grinning Man is a brand new tragicomic musical directed by Tom Morris and based on The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo. Brought to life by writer Carl Grose (Dead Dog in a Suitcase) featuring a sensational original score by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler and puppetry from Gyre and Gimble, the original puppeteers of War Horse, don't miss this hot ticket!

Blackly comic brilliance."


The Grinning Man is a weird and wonderful, dark delight."


The best British score in years."


The Grinning Man represents the 21st century strand of Bristol Old Vic's 250th Anniversary programme, which will include productions from each of the four centuries of the Theatre's life.

The Grinning Man

13 Oct-13 Nov
7.30pm, 2.30pm
(Sat mats)
£32-£9.50 (plus booking fee)

Press Night Thu 20 Oct, 7pm

Ages 12+
Contains dark subject matter with some scenes of a sexual nature, violence and swearing.

@bristololdvic  #GrinningMan

Book Carl Grose
Carl Grose, Tom Morris, Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler
Music Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler
Director Tom Morris
Set Designer Jon Bausor
Costume Designer Jean Chan
Movement Director Jane Gibson
Puppetry Design and Direction Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié for Gyre & Gimble
Lighting Designer Richard Howell
Sound Designer
Simon Baker
Music Supervisor Tom Deering
Casting Director Will Burton CDG
Onstage Musical Director Tarek Merchant
Associate Director Ben Woolf

Stuart Angell, Alice Barclay, Stu Barker, Ewan Black, Julian Bleach, Audrey Brisson, Pete Flood, David Guy, Ross Hughes, Sean Kingsley, Patrycja Kujawksa, Louis Maskell, Tarek Merchant, Stuart Neal, Gloria Obianyo, Gloria Onitiri

Rehearsal Photography Simon Annand

Post-show Q&A with Dr Bradley Stephens

Sat 29 Oct
Following 7.30pm performance

On Halloween weekend, learn more about the novel that inspired our macabre new musical The Grinning Man and find out about the famous writer behind the original grimace in this post-show Q&A session.

Dr. Bradley Stephens - a specialist in French literature from the University of Bristol - will discuss with audience members how Victor Hugo came to write The Man Who Laughs, and what its various adaptations can tell us about the story's appeal in the century and a half since its publication.

Ticket Offers

Groups and Schools

Groups of 10+ £3 off all tickets (excl Fri & Sat eve)
Groups of 20+ As above, plus 1 in 20 tickets free (excl Fri & Sat eve)
Groups of 50+ £6 off all tickets, plus 1 in 20 tickets free (excl Fri & Sat eve)

Schools of 10+
£12.50 Upper Circle / £7.50 Gallery tickets available (excl Fri & Sat eve)

Access Performances

Signed performance Sat 29 Oct, 2.30pm
Audio described performance Sat 5 Nov, 2.30pm with touch tour 12.30pm
Captioned Sat 12 Nov, 2.30pm

Friends of Bristol Old Vic

20% off full price tickets
Limited to 4 tickets per Friend, excl Fri & Sat eves

This summer, we began redevelopment works to transform our front of house King Street entrance into a welcoming, vibrant space that everyone will be able to enjoy. During this time, it will be business as usual in the Theatre with our brilliant programme on offer, however there are a few changes to how we'll be operating.

Theatre Entrance

You are now invited to enter the Theatre through our Stage Door, walking in the footsteps of theatre legends such as Peter O'Toole, Daniel Day Lewis and Miranda Richardson.

Our new Theatre entrance can be accessed via Rackhay (BS1 4HJ) off Queen Charlotte Street, around the corner from King Street.

Click here for more information and updates on our Theatre entrance.

Ticket Collection

On performance days, tickets can be collected from Box Office situated in our Backstage Bar opening 90 mins prior to each performance.

For more information on accessibility, ticket collection, our Backstage Bar, arrival and drop-off at our Theatre plus updates on our redevelopment, click here.

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