Recipients of The Geraldine Menez Award 2017 & The Henry Augustine Forse Award 2017 announced

Jo Elsworth (Theatre Collection), Tom Morris (Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director) and Geraldine Menez with award winners past and present

Jo Elsworth (Theatre Collection), Isaac Lawrence-Thompson (The Geraldine Menez Award Winner 2017), Marco Adduocchio (The Henry Augustine Forse Award Winner 2016), Tom Morris (Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director), Imogen Senter (The Geraldine Menez Award Winner 2016), Julia Head (The Henry Augustine Forse Award Winner 2017) and Geraldine Menez

In 2015, Geraldine Menez donated four of the original fifty silver tickets (including the ‘gold’ bearer ticket) and other archival material relating to the history of Bristol Old Vic to the University of Bristol Theatre Collection. The material originally belonged to Geraldine’s great, great grandfather, Henry Augustine Forse, who had rebuilt the facade of the Theatre in 1902. It was Henry’s passion for the theatre that led him to collect the silver tickets, plans and various other documents.

The fifty original silver tickets entitled the proprietor ‘to the sight of every performance to be exhibited in this house’ – a promise the theatre honours to this day. However, the use of the tickets and therefore the right of free admission is a quality ‘lost’ when added to any archive or museum collection.

In the original spirit of the tickets, and in honour of Geraldine’s generous donation, and her great-great grandfathers in passion for Bristol Old Vic, two new annual ‘awards’ have been created. 

These awards are called the Geraldine Menez Award and the Henry Augustine Forse Award.  In turn, the awards acknowledge an outstanding engagement with the University of Bristol Theatre Collection and an outstanding commitment to the Bristol Old Vic Engagement Department, and will entitle each recipient to ‘the sight of every press night performance’ for a year.

The Geraldine Menez Award will be awarded to a University of Bristol student who has shown an outstanding engagement with the Theatre Collection particularly through their extracurricular involvement with the archive. The Henry Augustine Forse Award will be awarded to a person who has shown outstanding engagement with Bristol Old Vic’s Engagement department.

The awards to both recipients were presented by Emma Stenning (Bristol Old Vic Chief Executive) at the press performance of Medea in May 2017. The awards will entitle each recipient to two tickets for each Bristol Old Vic press night for a year.

Emma said: "We think this is a fitting way to celebrate Geraldine Menez’s gift of the Forse Collection, keeping the spirit of the silver tickets alive, and encourage people to deepen their engagement with both organisations and their shared rich histories."

Julia Head has been awarded The Henry Augustine Forse Award 2017 in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the Bristol Old Vic Engagement Department.

Since moving to Bristol, Julia has become one of the most valued members of the Front of House, Box Office and Engagement Teams as well as a brilliant ensemble performer. She has performed in many Bristol Old Vic Young Company Productions (The Gigantic Beard That was Evil, A Thousand Seasons Past, St. Joan of the Stockyards and Under a Cardboard Sea) and completed the Made in Bristol Programme. She is now becoming a director in her own right with Out of Sky and Beowulf under her belt, as well as extensive workshop delivery for Young Company and Engagement projects - she is developing a real style. She sees theatre as a catalyst and wants to make work that is political and changes people’s views.

Isaac Lawrence-Thompson has been awarded The Geraldine Menez Award 2017 in recognition of his exceptional engagement with the University of Bristol Theatre Collection.