Bristol Old Vic announces acts for jam-packed day of free performances this Bank Holiday

10 May 2019

Bristol Old Vic is throwing open its doors again and inviting Bristolians to share their stories over the course of one very special day – the theatre’s 253rd Birthday on Monday 27 May.

Once again, Bristol Open Stage will be hosted by local TV legend Joe Sims – a Bristolian actor who works regularly with Bristol Old Vic’s Engagement team. Having grown up in Bristol Old Vic Young Company, he has taught the theatre’s Adult Company classes and regularly hosts community and schools events over the year. Working professionally as an actor, he is best known for playing plumber Nigel Carter in ITV’s hit show Broadchurch.

Joe Sims said: 

“It’s my absolute pleasure to be hosting Bristol Open Stage again this year. An opportunity for the creative richness of our city to be given the most venerated of platforms to strut their stuff and show off their skills. Watering the grassroots of this amazing city is what it’s all about and getting new audiences to attend, enjoy and roar on this talent is why I love it. Whether you’re treading the boards or sat in the audience for the first time, it’s an intoxicating experience! I can’t wait to see you all for a quintessentially Bristolian day of mirth, merriment, music and mayhem.”

With over 30 acts involving 191 people taking to the historic stage, Bristol Open Stage will showcase everything from stand-up gigs, spoken word performances and acrobatics to street dance, vaudeville, clowning, original music and of course, lots of theatre!

The performances will include local choirs Bristol Harmony, The Raff Pack and the Bristol Amateur Operatic Society as well as Bristolian YouTube sensation Terry the Odd Job Man, Bristol Samba Band and local musicians Jonny Velon, Brook Tate, Sylvia Daley and 17-year old Louis Stone.

The day will also feature: Bristol Improv Theatre, Charlotte Beedell, Mark Rutterford, Charlie Mitchell, Callum the poet, Liz Fairnell, Kerchief Theatre, Tamsin Pearce, Charlie George, Ralph La Wong, Adam De Santis, Away with the Clowns, Abdullah Bash, Imogen Greenwood, Startled Cat Theatre, Rachel McVay, Harry Allmark, Knotted Theatre, Suspension Theatre Company, Carlota Matos and Shaded Theatre.

Hattie De Santis, Engagement Producer at Bristol Old Vic said: 

“Open Stage is one of Bristol Old Vic’s treasures. The building buzzes with creativity, excitement and anticipation as our brilliant participants share their stories and skills on our beautiful stage. We have been overwhelmed by the response to this year’s call out and we cannot wait to mark the theatre’s 253rd Birthday in true Bristol fashion – with the brilliant people of this city right at the centre!”

Free for all the family, Bristol Open Stage performances are the perfect way to visit the newly refurbished Bristol Old Vic and a real treat for the late May bank holiday. Tickets are free and available on a first come, first served basis. Doors open 15 minutes before each showcase begins. For more information, please contact our Box Office at 0117 987 7877 or

Between shows, why not explore the heritage of Bristol Old Vic at your own pace through the interactive exhibitions bringing the theatre's past to life. 1766 Bar & Kitchen will also be open all day, providing tasty treats and a chance to refuel!

Photography by Jack Offord. 

Bristol Old Vic is the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. The historic playhouse aims to inspire audiences with its own original productions, both at home and on tour, whilst nurturing the next generation of artists, whether that be through their 350-strong Young Company, their many outreach and education projects or their trailblazing artist development programme, Bristol Ferment.

They use their funding to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to their programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it, or be able to afford it, and to keep their extraordinary heritage alive and animated.

On 24 Sep 2018, Bristol Old Vic completed its 2-year multi-million pound redevelopment project, which transformed its front of house space into a warm and welcoming public building for all of Bristol to enjoy, created a new studio theatre and opened up its unique theatrical heritage to the public for the first time.

Press Office: 0117 949 4901 |