A celebration of Miles Chambers

21 Mar 2019

On 24 Sep 2018, following a 2-year multi-million-pound redevelopment, Bristol Old Vic reopened, revealing our brand-new glass-fronted foyer, protected by sun-shading shutters which incorporated the first words ever spoken on our stage in 1766, written by David Garrick, alongside former Bristol poet laureate Miles Chambers' poem Bristol! Bristol!

Miles Chambers first performed his poem on the Bristol Old Vic stage on 30 May 2016, marking the Theatre's 250th birthday.

At first glimpse of the shutters, Miles said:

"It's very rare that we get to witness history. Even rarer that we are given the opportunity to be a part of history. Thank you Bristol Old Vic, Tom (Morris) and Emma (Stenning) for making me a part of your history and this city's future. A change has come! It's quite overwhelming. I'm all emotional. Take a walk, be inspired, feel the magical connection, come dance in this festival of ideas. Peace and love, with blessings."

The shutters highlight the theatre's long history and continued look forward to its future role in the whole community. 

These are the words forever immortalised on our foyers' shutters:

Bristol Bristol, the city that was built on the bricks of heroic hardship

Bristol Bristol, the place of dreams and possibilities, the place of creative aspirations, culture, commerce and its own seductive music

Bristol Bristol, a place still haunted by the ancestral ghost that echoes the historical hangover that yet sobered us up to what time hasn’t changed

Bristol Bristol. Take a walk. Be inspired. Feel the magical connection. See a positive future. Come dance in this festival of ideas

See, we don't have to wait for carnival every year.

The party is right now right here 

This very stage, this very atmosphere is encouraging us to loose our fear Cos geographically there’s no no go areas round here

Oh! City of paradoxes! why all this controversy?

Oh! conflicting urbanisation.  I love you but what are you doing to me?

I love you Bristol I love the clamour of the weekend drinkers and the hustle and the bustle of the 9-5

I hate you Bristol as I watch every day the young kiddy with the old weathered face clinging to his blanket of security begging to survive.

I love you because of my first kiss from Samantha 

Because of the aroma of Agnes Spencers because of the pull of colourful air balloons floating aimlessly in a blue sky.

I love you Bristol cause of the first play I wrote here 

Cause of the first poem I performed here 

That left inspired listeners with one notion; Just Try!

I belong here Bristol with the Bristol sound

Echoing sentiments of who I am flowing through my ears

I belong here with the faith-based streets

Trying to get you to come to God with all your fears.

It’s here on these streets that the youth are spitting the lyrics of the future that will change the wrong decisions of the past.

Right now in this place we have the opportunity to be something great  something amazing together...to utilise the collective potential of us all

That will make this place unique and special… let’s answer the call I belong right here! Let’s answer the call I belong right here!