Bristol Ferment: Manmums, risk-taking and the return of Mr Hopkinson


Hello from the world of Bristol Ferment! It’s been a while, but only because we’ve been WELL busy… so panic not, we’ve been squirrelling away, hunting for acorns of theatrical promise (autumn, eh?). From Scotland to the West Country, we’ve got it covered.

Edinburgh Festival was excellent. The Spring programme will show you just how excellent as we bring you some of the crackers from up there down to the Bristol Old Vic Studio. You’ll also get to see a couple of gems from July’s hugely successful Ferment Fortnight returning as fully-fledged productions, flying the Ferment flag.

Anyone else noticed the new artist development strands springing up across the country? Oh good, us too! Following in the inimitable footsteps of Bristol Ferment, we’ve got Furnace at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Foundry at Birmingham REP. Gordon Ramsey eat yer heart out. Alongside this heady thirst for development comes a need to discuss, as was seen at Parabola Arts Centre in Cheltenham recently. PAC held a room of people all concerned with risk-taking and the ideas around having confidence in programming boundary-pushing work in regional theatres. Basically, we should just keep doing it.

We’ve just had the lovely Idiot Child in the Bristol Old Vic Studio for two weeks with I Could’ve Been Better, a Bristol Ferment co-production about a man called James (the man in the picture – thanks photographer Matt Collins) in love with a ‘manmum’ called Sue. We are obviously rather pleased for those chaps who can now boast rave reviews across the board, including 9/10 from The Post, four stars from whatsonstage and this rather lovely comment from Total Theatre: “I Could’ve Been Better is beautifully heartbreaking, and Idiot Child is becoming a company not to be missed.” If you missed it in Bristol you can catch it in Exeter or London. 

And in other news – those lovely chaps at China Plate have just taken over the running of Pulse Fringe Festival in Ipswich, good luck what what!

Bristol Ferment’s favourite celebration of wordsmith wizardry, Word of Mouth, has rebranded itself as Blahblahblah – come along and join us in November. You can buy us a pint if you like.

And as if that wasn’t enough, BRISTOL JAM is back from 5 to 11 Nov with a line-up including our all-time favourites Sara Pascoe, Reggie Watts, Beardyman and Mr Hopkinson. We’re particularly looking forward to Slo-mo night curated by Mr Hop himself. PLUS, Ferment is working with Georgia Jacob ( to create interaction between performance and drawing. Ooh.


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