Bristol Old Vic completes inaugural online season with the triumphant return of Emma Rice’s Wise Children and a celebration of home-grown talent

5 Jun 2020

Bristol Old Vic today announced the final two titles to be streamed as part of its pilot At Home season, presented in collaboration with the city-wide Bristol Arts Channel.

The announcement also coincides with the theatre’s decision to extend the online run of Messiah, after it hit over 10,000 views in only 6 days, and the move online for the collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, New Plays in Rep.
The titles scheduled to run before Bristol Old Vic’s hotly anticipated stream of The Grinning Man on 26 Jun are Mr Maglump and Wise Children. Both productions will preview on Fridays and will be available via Bristol Old Vic’s website free of charge for a week. Performances will also feature additional material in order to make the experience closer to ‘going out’ while actually being at home.
Celebrating Bristol Old Vic’s Family Arts Hub, beginning on Fri 12 Jun at 6pm, audiences will be able to enjoy Brook Tate’s heart-warming family musical for all ages Mr Maglump, developed as part of Bristol Old Vic’s New Plays in Rep season in 2019, created in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. The musical, which tells the story of the Robins family as they discover that their miserable neighbour has a wonderful story to tell, focuses on themes of integration within communities and the importance of remaining true to oneself.
Brook himself is a product of Bristol Old Vic’s track record in talent development. He came to Bristol Old Vic through Bristol Open Stage, the theatre’s annual birthday celebration inviting all of Bristol to perform on its stage, before joining the resident company for young theatre-makers Made in Bristol and establishing himself as an artist of thrilling promise. Mr Maglump was such a hit in its opening run in 2019 that Andrew Lloyd Webber himself made a special trip to Bristol Old Vic to watch it.
The theatre’s Engagement Department have also created a host of resources with Brook to be shared throughout the week, which families can engage with from home.
From Fri 19 Jun, Bristol Old Vic is thrilled to host a week-long watch party of Wise Children’s inaugural production of Angela Carter’s Wise Children, which performed in Bristol to sold-out crowds in 2019. Directed by Emma Rice (Tristan and Yseult, Romantics Anonymous, Malory Towers) with a musical score by composer Ian Ross, the show played to rave reviews across the country, launching the new company into the theatrical world with a bang. Wise Children tells the story of twin chorus girls Nora and Dora Chance, and their tumultuous lives, complete with show girls, Shakespeare, sex, scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity. Wise Children is a Wise Children and The Old Vic production, co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Oxford Playhouse and York Theatre Royal.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has announced a move online for its New Plays in Rep season, featuring a collection of new plays developed by Bristol Old Vic’s Writers Department, discovered through the yearly call-out to West Country writers, The Open Session. In a creative collaboration with Bristol Old Vic and as part of the newly-launched city-wide Bristol Arts Channel, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School will be sharing four new plays with audiences via their YouTube channel from 19 June – 2 July.
The first two pieces will be Buzzingby Anita Karla Kelly and 62 Sperm Whalesby Skot Wilson. Buzzing will be broadcast live on 19 June at 2.30pm and available to be streamed until 26 June. 62 Sperm Whales will broadcast live at 7pm on 20 June and 2.30pm on 22 June, with the stream available until 27 June.
To Provide for All Peopleby Owen Sheers (Pink Mist, Unicorns Almost), will be presented as a recorded production and available to stream online from 25 June – 2 July. A further play titled His Name Is Ishmaelby Chinonyerem Odimba (Princess and the Hustler) is also in development. Full details of this will be announced in due course.
Bristol Old Vic’s annual call out to Writers in the West Country, the Open Session, is now open until 31 July. Plays and musicals can be submitted, with writers selected to become the ‘Open Session Five.’ Across a year, they will experience workshops to explore and showcase their script with actors and directors, often in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, sessions from industry experts, dramaturgical support, and further opportunities. More information about the Open Session here.
To celebrate the success of Bristol Old Vic’s first and current online stream, Messiah, due to go offline this evening, the theatre announced that the production will now be available to watch until Sun 7 Jun at 9.30pm. Audiences wishing to see the full show on the final day are advised to begin the stream at 7pm at the latest. Viewers so far have praised the production for making them “look at Messiah in an utterly new way.”
Online audiences will also be able to watch the Olivier Award-winning Old Vic production of A Monster Calls from tonight (Fri 5 Jun) at 7pm, created in association with Bristol Old Vic, Jonathan Church Productions and Global Creatures. Based on the bestselling novel by Patrick Ness and inspired by an original idea from Siobhan Dowd, the stage adaptation directed by Sally Cookson (Jane Eyre, Peter Pan) was captured featuring the original cast on camera at the Old Vic in August 2018. The play centres on thirteen-year-old Conor who is visited by a monster who has come to tell him tales from when it walked before, offering a dazzling insight into love, life and healing

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.

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