The Community Greenhouse on King Street

1 Aug 2022

If you’ve been down to King Street you may have seen our refurb of the outdoor cabins – There's more outdoor space for summer with picnic tables, deckchairs and a few cabins when the weather turns more “Bristolian”.

But there's also a new project sprouting too!

The Community Greenhouse is a place for Bristol’s communities to experiment with new ways of working and connecting; to share stories and nurture ideas; to plant and grow sustainably and feed a circular economy.

This space (made by and for the people of Bristol) is inspired by King Street’s history of foods, goods and ideas which have always been exchanged here by people from all over the world.

Bristol Old Vic is a significant contributor to the unique history of King Street – but King Street existed long before the original Theatre Royal was built and has always been a place of new ideas, innovative thinking, experimental enterprises and influential performances!

Coopers’ Hall, built in 1744 and since 1970 part of Bristol Old Vic’s theatre complex was for a long time a warehousing and auction site for fruit which would have been transported to the UK from all over the world via Bristol’s harbourside.

It would have been a bustling hub where we believe vibrant ingredients from the across the globe were stored and different cultures met.

King Street has always had a unique history of people from other countries making a life here, and where stories and ideas have been shared. The street represents the rich diversity of communities that make Bristol the city we love.

Now, The Greenhouse on King Street marks an opportunity to consider the city’s wider legacy in the current context: where we are now, and where we want to go. In this space people from across Bristol will consider and share their heritage, planting the seeds for change. Just as many incomers to Bristol have found community and enterprise on this street, we’re working with Bristolians – new and old – to use Bristol Old Vic’s resources to support community integration and independent living.  Watch this space for news of the ideas and projects that sprout from this spot.

This project is also enabling Bristol Old Vic to experiment with approaches to sustainability and the circular economy. Our organic refuse such as coffee grounds will be used as compost for heritage-inspired planting and food growing; the windows of the greenhouse are made from Covid protection screens that were used around the theatre. It’s making us consider all materials and tools involved to deliver a project so that we prioritise the reuse, recycling and repurposing of as much material as possible.

Participants working in the Greenhouse
First planting this summer

This Greenhouse was built as part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded Project Unscripted: A Performative History of Bristol, Bristolians and Bristol Theatre


Unscripted Partners:


Ashley Community Housing

University of Bristol Theatre Collection

Bristol Archives

As well as: schools, children's centres, arts. orgs., Bristol heritage sites and many more