'Everest' fundraising climb in aid of Bristol Old Vic is aiming high19 Sep 2020
Retired Bristol Professor and fundraiser Ian Sutherland has set himself the dizzying challenge of climbing his own virtual Everest in aid of Bristol Old Vic's Reopening Fund, beginning his expedition on the morning of Monday 21 September at 11am.
Ian is climbing in memory of his wife Rosamund who sadly passed away at the beginning of 2019 and held Bristol Old Vic close to her heart. He is scaling 24,432ft from 'Kathmandu' to the peak of ‘Everest’ by climbing from the basement to the roof of his house 573 times over ten days.
“My wife Rosamund and I both loved attending Bristol Old Vic performances and I know she’d think this is the sort of mad thing I would do. As a supporter of the theatre, I have got to know both the staff and the actors and my interest in what they are trying to achieve has grown. I am now committed to raise a significant amount of money for them to help them through this Covid-19 crisis. Also, as I reach the age of 75 this December, this the closest I’ll get to climbing Everest, which I’ve always wanted to try since 2006, when my son Andrew climbed as part of the EverestMax Expedition. He's even lent me his climbing suit, tent and Tibetan prayer flags. At least I don’t have to worry about altitude sickness!”
Despite losing 75% of their income overnight, throughout lockdown Bristol Old Vic has continued to support local artists and emerging talent right through the crisis and are continuing to provide paid opportunities for artists to create and perform. A series of small experimental events on the newly-christened Courtyard stage in the theatre's foyer have shown the appetite that there is for live performance and how the theatre is slowing reconnecting with the city again. The experiments continue with a series of live-streamed broadcasts of Wise Children's Romantics Anonymous to watch at home from Tuesday 22 Sep, culminating in a one-off in person performance in the Theatre on Sunday 27 Sep to a socially distanced audience for the first time since March.
Ian is aiming to raise the height of Everest in pounds sterling for the Bristol Old Vic. Either the height in metres - £8,850 or hopefully its height in feet - £29,032.
To follow Ian’s climb or to donate, visit Ian’s Just Giving page here or to find out how else you can support Bristol Old Vic's recovery here.
Photography: Jon Craig
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.