A virtual tour
Take a look at how our foyer, public spaces and Studio theatre might look come 2016 - our 250th birthday.
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Animation: Haworth Tompkins Architects
Calling All Artists!
We've announced that we're preparing to seek planning permission to improve and open up the theatre's public areas with an exciting refurbishment, to be completed in 2016, the theatre's 250th anniversary year.
As you'll remember, we refurbished the auditorium and back of house in 2011-12. We said then that we wanted to finish the job, making the public spaces a match for the beautiful auditorium and doing this historic theatre - and Bristol - justice. This is where you come in. We would very much welcome the chance to make a presentation about our plans of the refurbishment and hear your thoughts, ideas, concerns and questions.
We would like to invite you to the following consultation on Thu 10 Oct:
17:00-18:00: Ferment Meeting to discuss the impact of the anniversary works on the Ferment programme.
18:00-19:00: Invited meeting of Artists presentation of the scheme and discussion.
It's early days and we don't have all the answers, but you can help us make the plans the best they can be. Everyone is invited to both parts of the meeting & if you would like to attend please RSVP to email@example.com
"The finish line's in sight!"
An early sketch of what Bristol Old Vic's front of house might look like
When we launched the refurbishment of the Theatre's auditorium and back-of-house in 2011, we said we hoped to follow it up with a second phase, to be completed in the theatre's 250th anniversary year: 2016. After the widely acclaimed reopening of the Theatre last year, that time has come.
Starting this summer, we are asking the people of Bristol what they want from the theatre's public spaces, as we prepare to seek planning permission to improve and open up our public areas.
Whether you're a regular or haven't yet made it in, we want to know what Bristolians want.
We know that the lobby, box office, cafe-bar and certainly the loos just don't do justice to this beautiful theatre. They're hard to access if you have limited mobility, it can be a challenge to find friends or reach the bar in the interval - and it can even be intimidating: that's not what a theatre should be. We're really glad the cafe and sofas have become a great meeting space - mums and babies and lunching workers sit alongside actors, writers and audiences. But we need to open this place up much more if it's to keep serving the city: this internationally-renowned theatre is Bristol's Old Vic."
Tom Morris, Artistic Director
Plans are evolving and our team aims to improve every public area, from the entrance and box office, to the restaurant, bar, meeting spaces and loos. We'll also tackle staff offices and the Studio. It's at this important stage - while everything's being worked out - that we need to hear from the public.
We obviously have lots of ideas, and of course, there are restrictions on what can go where and on money. But if we get the go-ahead, we're going to be bold and do it right: this fantastic space shouldn't suffer another design compromise. That's why we need to hear from people across Bristol, as well as our staff and regular audiences."
Tom Morris, Artistic Director
We are seeking views from a wide range of Bristol organisations and businesses, its neighbours, audiences, visitors and from people who don't yet make it into the building. Talks have already begun with the City Council and heritage organisations. These will all contribute to the plans that are submitted to Bristol City Council in the autumn.
At a public meeting in August, audience members were given short questionnaires to encourage them to share their ideas. Throughout the summer, visitors to the theatre will also be encouraged to give their feedback.
With £5m earmarked from Arts Council England, we need to secure £7m, as well as planning permission, before anything is certain. A major fundraising appeal will be launched later this year.
If we can secure support from Arts Council England and Bristol City Council, we're confident that we can raise the rest of the money to finish the refurbishment of the theatre and ensure that the public spaces are a match for the beautiful auditorium. This should be a welcoming and exciting space for everyone, regardless of background, age, and their experience of theatre."
Emma Stenning, Executive Director
But be assured: the theatre will not "go dark" during any building work. The show must go on!