Heritage Character Tour | Rehearsal Diary

23 Oct 2019

On Sun 27 Oct, Bristol Old Vic is hosting its first ever Heritage Family Day since its reopening. Our building has hundreds of amazing stories to tell. This half term, we want families to join us to explore just a few of them through performances, games, tours and more. 

One of the ways in which families will be able to explore the building is through our brand new Character Tours, which take visitors throughout the building - with famous faces from Bristol Old Vic's past popping up around every corner. Be prepared to run into ghosts and animals along the way.

Here, the team behind the Character Tours, made up of Made In Bristol alumni Carlos Sandin, Chloe Thurlow, Georgina Graham-Williams and Nathan Richards are reflecting on their first days of preparation for Sunday...

Part 1: Research

The first couple days of this project, and some sporadic meetings before it, have been dedicated to finding all about who has passed through our theatre’s doors and what exciting things have happened over the past 250 years. In short, a lot! Far more than we could possibly fit into a 45-minute tour that’s for sure. 

For now, we’ve simply focused on finding out as much as possible, no wrong answers. In this way we can sift through all the information we gather, and eventually find the real highlights of this incredible theatre’s past. With tremendous support from the Bristol Old Vic Heritage Department we’ve been able to investigate archives, letters, books and anecdotal accounts about how life in the theatre has changed over all these years. It’s a shame we can’t fit them all in! 

Once we’re satisfied with the amount of material we’ve found, the next challenge is collating the best bits into relatable and relevant characters. As much as we want our audiences to learn, we really want them to have fun and enjoy meeting the wonderful historical figures too. As such, we are trying to find who will be the best ambassadors for our beloved theatre. Again, there are many contenders but only a select few can make it into our final script. 

Finally, we begin drafting and redrafting text, presenting it to each other as we go to see what sticks.