The Bristol Old Vic Company

Dated: 19 February 1946

For several years the Theatre hosted touring companies, until 1946 when the Council for the Encouragement of Music and Arts (now Arts Council England) created the first ever subsidised regional theatre company. 

The Old Vic, London actors formed an offshoot regional repertory company in Bristol, and the Bristol Old Vic Company was born. Their first production at the Theatre was The Beaux Stratagem on 19 February 1946, under Artistic Director Hugh Hunt.

This was one of the first times that acclaimed productions were being regularly performed outside of London; the historic dismissal of provincial audiences was over and the reign of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre had begun.

The theatre must have a wide audience drawn from every sphere of life

Excerpt about Bristol Old Vic from The Beaux Stratagem programme, 1946