Bristol Old Vic’s Best Of 2016

We’ve had a pretty incredible 250th birthday year – made possible thanks to all of you who joined us for any one of the 633 performances across 123 shows that we’ve presented in our Theatre, our Studio and in venues across Bristol. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, it’s been a blast!

To celebrate the monumental anniversary we’ve had, we’d like to share a few of our favourite moments from across the year…


“The highlight of my year has definitely been working with my excellent Front of House Team. Launching our Backstage Bar in such a quick turnaround, seeing everyone get stuck in and making it such a success was an absolute joy. Good work everyone!”
Liz Hebden – Front of House Manager

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Our Front of House team in the Backstage Bar on The Grinning Man Press Night

“Everything about The Grinning Man stood out for me. It was great to see so many people working so hard on it… and what a spectacular result! The show epitomised everything that makes this place great – originality and ambition combined with a lack of fear that borders on insanity. Wonderful stuff.”
Jake Cooper – Box Office & Stage Door Receptionist

“Our 250th Birthday Weekend was just amazing, with every event delivering something special. Bristol Open Stage was a real treat and gave me the chance to spend our Theatre’s birthday on its stage surrounded by so many Bristol performers and audiences.

Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ with Gurt Lush Choir brought a tear to my eye, and dancing to RSVP Bhangra with all of the Bristol Old Vic team was a great way to end three days of brilliant celebration.”
Emma Stenning – Chief Executive

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Emma Stenning on the stage with Gurt Lush Choir and our 250th Birthday Cake

“Top moment of 2016 has to be taking our Ferment Fortnight into the Theatre in July. We invited the artists we love to scratch an idea on the big stage and the results were brilliant – from Nasi and Bertrand running all over the auditorium with Eurohouse to Tim Bell’s Bearded Lady lamenting her woes under the proscenium arch. Dead proud of everyone involved.”
Emma Bettridge – Ferment Producer

“My absolute highlight for 2016 was art directing the show image for The Grinning Man with my favourite photographer Seamus Ryan, our very own Grinpayne Louis Maskell and designer Michael Cranston. We had quite a tight turn around to pull it altogether, but it was a wonderful project to work on with these talented creatives resulting in a beautiful image that captured an amazing show!”
Karen Palmer – Strategy and Campaign Manager

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“My favourite moment has to be getting involved with Wyldwood Arts and St Monica’s Trust for our inter-generational ‘Chatback’ project. Over 3 months, the Made in Bristol group and I visited the residents of Monica Will’s House to share stories about ‘When I was 17’ which we used to create a final performance that filled the residents with such vivacity and pride. It was wonderful to watch friendships blossom, laugh like drains (and consume vast quantities of tea and biscuits)! Thursday afternoons won’t be quite the same again…”
Sian Eustace – Young Company and Participation Producer

“My outstanding moment was getting through an amazingly busy but fun filled gala on the 250th Birthday Weekend (which included meeting my acting hero Toby Jones in the lift!), then going outside with everyone and being treated to the most amazing digital experience courtesy of Limbic Cinema – the perfect end to a brilliant day.”
Jane Edwards Reynolds – Theatre Administrator

“I will always remember The Rivals. After spending weeks with the actors, often trying to battle Lydia Languish’s dress on the stairs and once or twice witnessing her towering hair nearly getting caught in the door, it was an amazing moment to see it all in action on stage. The actors were astounding and their endless energy bounced around the theatre from the beginning to end. It was a delight! Full of comedy, wonder and joy…”
Nicole Bartlett – Finance Assistant

“It has to be the massive, wonderful behemoth that was Under A Cardboard Sea. We decided the 250th birthday could not go uncelebrated by our vast Young Company so, with a creative team of 14, we embarked on an eight month process to create a piece of work that encompassed a hefty 110 of our Young Company members. The feeling of watching them all on the big stage is one that I’m not sure I will be able to replicate any time soon. To all our young people (and the people that support them) I thank you!
Lisa Gregan – Young Company Director

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Young Company performing in Under A Cardboard Sea

“My favourite moment was a discussion held following the R&D week of Extraordinary Wall of Silence. We had a complete mix of deaf and hearing people in the audience which, for many in the room, was an encounter that had never happened before. A big part of the project was to form connections between the two historically disconnected communities – and the honesty and emotion in the room was genuinely inspiring.”
George Mann – Associate Producer

“The best moment of 2016, for me, was when we got the ‘YES’ from Heritage Lottery Fund – the starting point of our transformation into a major heritage destination. It’s fantastic news for our theatrical heritage and I can’t wait to see the redevelopment complete in 2018!”
Lucy Hunt – Engagement Director


Thank you to everyone who played their part in our 250th Anniversary year! We look forward to welcoming you back for our 251st. It’s going to be a blinder. Happy New Year!

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