“FEAST YOUR EYES” on Bristol Old Vic as they open their first heritage exhibition on the magic of Christmas!20 Dec 2019
This Christmas, Bristol Old Vic is inviting you to “Feast Your Eyes” on its first-ever heritage exhibition exploring the magic and wonder of Christmas through the ages.
Bristol Old Vic has been presenting a heritage offering of tours, interactive exhibits and digital installations since it threw open the doors of its newly refurbished front of house in 2018. This major redevelopment not only welcomed the city back to the theatre once more, but also brought its unique 253-year history to life in its own theatrical way.
“Feast Your Eyes” is the first of a series of temporary exhibitions which will explore a range of themes and topics related to the audiences and productions that have been part of Bristol Old Vic’s story for centuries.
Amy Spreadbury, Heritage Engagement Manager said: “We noticed as we looked through hundreds of Christmas shows, that certain aspects kept reappearing through time; the stagecraft, the magic, the messages of hope and goodwill and the way the audiences come away transformed by the experience. We wanted to create an exhibition that honoured this unique part of Christmas and to offer people the chance to relive some of their favourite memories from Christmas shows of the past – but we wanted to make sure it was done in a theatrical way and placed the audience right at the heart of it.”
Nestled in the Theatre’s Pit Corridor, the exhibition features design sketches, model boxes, costumes and memorabilia related to Christmas shows from this year’s A Christmas Carol to the first Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company Christmas show in 1946. The exhibition also includes a Listening Station, where visitors can hear various members of the theatre discuss the transformative role of Christmas shows today.
The exhibition is fully accessible to all visitors and audience members, and open for anyone to explore throughout the day.
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Bristol Old Vic has teamed up with University of Bristol Theatre Collection and Bristol Archives to bring original objects from the theatre’s past back into the building for the very first time.
Allie Dillon, City Archivist for Bristol Archives said: ““Feast Your Eyes” is quite an unusual but thrilling collaboration as you have a theatre, a local authority archive and a university archive working together to improve access to the collections and to make sure that as many people can find out about them as possible. It is wonderful to see Bristol Old Vic’s historic and memorable objects restored back to where they belong and for audiences to experience them in their original space.”
“Feast Your Eyes” runs at Bristol Old Vic until March 2020.
To find out more about Bristol Old Vic’s heritage offers and guided tours, visit: www.bristololdvic.org.uk/heritage
Notes to Editors
The cabinets for "Feast Your Eyes" were designed by Joe Ravenhill and Interactive Places, built by Rick Howie. The exhibition was created by Bristol Old Vic’s Heritage Department in collaboration with our project partners Bristol Archives and University of Bristol Theatre Collection.
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.