Bristol Old Vic to introduce mandatory mask wearing from Monday 6 December

3 Dec 2021

From Monday 6 Dec, Bristol Old Vic will be introducing mandatory mask wearing for anyone visiting the theatre. This will apply to everyone unless under 12 years of age, medically exempt, or while eating and drinking.

While the new Government guidelines involving mandatory mask wearing do not currently apply to theatres, this decision by Bristol Old Vic follows feedback from audiences and staff, as well as being a response to the emergence of the new omicron variant.

Executive Director Charlotte Geeves said: “Over the Christmas period we’ll be welcoming thousands of families to Bristol Old Vic and we know for many people this will be the first time they come back to a theatre – to share a little festive magic with the family. Our priority is to create the safest and most comfortable environment for people to visit, and we want to do all we can to ensure that we do not have to cancel performances and disappoint our audiences. We feel it is sensible to put these additional measures in place until such times as more data has been released about the new variant and its affects. We will reassess this as further data from Public Health England becomes available.”

This new policy is part of a raft of measures Bristol Old Vic already has in place to keep its audiences safe:

  • From 6 Dec, mask wearing is mandatory for all visitors while seated in the auditorium or walking around the building (unless under 12 or medically exempt).
  • Our ventilation systems in the theatre and the Studio provide a complete replacement of air every 4 minutes.
  • Bristol Old Vic is also providing Guaranteed Socially Distanced shows, ensuring our most vulnerable audiences have the extra reassurance they need.
  • Our staff test regularly and wear masks at all times.
  • Additional cleaning of all public spaces is taking place.
  • No-questions-asked exchange or credit on tickets if audience members no longer feel comfortable attending.

We’re also recommending audiences respect others’ personal space, and do not attend if you have any symptoms of Covid-19.

Anyone who has already booked and does not feel comfortable with the new requirements will be offered a credit on their tickets.


For further information, contact Amanda Adams 

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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