Bristol Old Vic selected as one of Big Give's Christmas Challenge Charities

29 Nov 2018

For a second year in a row, Bristol Old Vic has been selected to take part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge, an annual campaign, meaning that all donations made to the theatre via the Big Give website over the next week (from midday 27 Nov – 4 Dec) will be doubled.
This year, Bristol Old Vic's focus is on the work of the Engagement Department’s Young Company, one of the largest regional youth theatres in the UK and home to over 350 young people aged 5 – 25 from across the South West. The participants take part in an on-going programme of weekly sessions, theatre master classes, community projects and full-scale performances.

Over the last year, the Engagement Department has had over 91,000 interactions with young people across Bristol. Opportunities provided by Bristol Old Vic Young Company have transformed lives, including those of actor and final-year student at Mountview Joseph Langdon and Bristol-based director Julia Head.
Joseph first came in contact with Bristol Old Vic’s Engagement Department whilst serving an 18-month sentence in a Young Offenders Institute. Joseph revealed how the Young Company changed his life in unimaginable ways: “When it came to end of my sentence, I had two choices: To either stay in London and be around the same people and get caught up in the same thing, or move to Bristol, work at the Bristol Old Vic and make work as part of the Made in Bristol scheme. It was the best decision of my life.”
“The Engagement department supported me throughout and now I’m training at Mountview – one of the best things that has ever happened to me and something that simply would not have been possible without the support from Bristol Old Vic.”
Joseph’s full testimonial is available here.
Julia’s involvement with the Young Company started after seeing Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre at Bristol Old Vic. “I had dyslexia and ADHD and I would have laughed in your face if you told me I was going to be making theatre. But seeing that production made me feel alive, and I decided I wanted to be in rooms where I could be a part of that feeling.”
“I owe the Young Company so much – they fostered me, supported me and gave me so much time, attention and knowledge to grow into the artist that I am today. Now I work as a director in Bristol with the Engagement department, making theatre with a group of students who, two years ago, had never seen a play before. The reason the Young Company is so valuable is that no matter where you’re from, no matter your background, they treat you first as an artist. There is no way I would be where I am now if it weren’t for the Young Company. Fact.” 
Julia’s full testimonial is available here.

With gifts available from £5, there’s something for every pocket. Donations to The Big Give Christmas Challenge could help with: 
£10 or £5 would help towards travel costs to get a young person with a disability to the theatre.
You will receive a personalised Bristol Old Vic postcard of thanks from a member of Made in Bristol.

£25 would cover a young person’s costume for their final show.
You will receive a personalised Bristol Old Vic postcard of thanks from a member of Made in Bristol.

£98 would cover the cost of a bursary offered by Bristol Old Vic to young people from a low-income family.
You will receive an invitation to be our guest at one of our Young Company shows.

£500 would cover an inclusivity training weekend, ensuring Bristol Old Vic staff and practitioners are able to safely work with young people, including those with disabilities and special educational needs.
You will receive a plaque on a seat in our brand new Weston Studio (for 25 years) and you will receive an invitation to be our guest at one of our Young Company shows.

£2,500 would fund the professional directors for 2 young company shows per year.
You will receive a plaque of recognition on a seat at the front of our Georgian auditorium (for 25 years) and you will receive an invitation to be our guest at one of our Young Company shows.

£5,000 would fund the entire production costs of our 18-25 young performers’ final show.
You will receive a plaque of recognition on one of the best seats in our Georgian auditorium (for 25 years), your name recognised in the production’s free sheet programmes and an invitation to be our guest at our Young Company and Made in Bristol final shows.

Development Manager Sarah Hutchins saidI can’t think of a more deserving scheme than our Young Company, their work transforms lives. I’ve seen it happen in front of my own eyes over the 10 years I’ve worked here. The Engagement team work tirelessly to support the young people that pass through our building, but also those that don’t! They actively go out into the community and show young people they can have a career in theatre. I have never known an organisation as welcoming, supportive and in tune with the potential of growing artists as Bristol Old Vic. It becomes a home for so many. The Big Give Christmas Challenge is a unique opportunity to double your donation to Bristol Old Vic and support this wonderful work.”

To support Bristol Old Vic’s Young Company, and to make double the difference, please visit:

The Big Give Christmas Challenge

The Christmas Challenge takes place from 12pm (midday) Tues 27th November – 12pm Tues 4th December when your donation to participating charities can be doubled.

The Christmas Challenge, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Alec Reed CBE, is the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign. For seven days, it offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donation doubled on Since the Big Give launched the campaign in 2008, the Christmas Challenge has raised over £90 million for thousands of charity projects.

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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