Bristol Old Vic to Fly The Flag For Human Rights

18 Jun 2019

24–30 June

Bristol Old Vic today announced it will be lending its support to Fly The Flag – a week-long global initiative marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To mark the anniversary, artist Ai Weiwei has created a flag inspired by his reaction to the global refugee crisis. Throughout the week of 24–30 June, Ai Weiwei’s flag will fly from buildings all across the world, whilst in the UK events and activities will take place in galleries, theatres, shopping centres, schools and libraries. Over 100 organisations and individuals have already signed up to Fly The Flag, with Bristol Old Vic flying the flag within its foyer spaces throughout the week. It will also project the Declaration of Human Rights on the historic wall of the theatre each evening at the end of the theatre’s production One Night in Miami a production which champions the civil rights movement and shines a light on a moment in history when the power of the individual to change the world was brought sharply into focus.

Bristol Old Vic’s Artistic Director Tom Morris said: 

“Alongside creating work on our stages to challenge and inspire new ways of seeing the world, the role of artists is bound together with a social responsibility – Ai Weiwei personifies this and his flag reminds us of our collective responsibility as a city. By joining this event, Bristol Old Vic becomes part of a global celebration that human rights are for everyone, everyday.

This year, Bristol Old Vic’s work is inspired by the power of imagination. Now, more than ever, it is up to each and every one of us to imagine a better world. Through this small gesture of unity during Fly The Flag week, we renew our commitment to defending and celebrating the rights of everyone to express themselves and live with creative freedoms we sometimes take for granted. The impulse behind the project is simple: to remember and recommit to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which we all signed up to 70 years ago.

We should read that declaration again, test ourselves against its extraordinary vision, and allow it to re-inspire us to make the world a fairer and more equal place.“

To find out more about events happening during Fly The Flag week:

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to design a flag for the 70th anniversary for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As we all come to learn, human rights are the precious result from generation after generation's understanding of the human struggle. I am proud to be a part of this force." Ai Weiwei

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages

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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