Live music returns to Bristol Old Vic’s Courtyard Stage this summer following last year's sell-out season.

21 Jul 2021
Photo by @JonCraig_Photos

After a sell-out season of live performances on Bristol Old Vic’s Courtyard Stage last year, a new series of gigs are bringing rhythm and sound back to the theatre this August.

Set in the award-winning foyer space of Bristol Old Vic, the Courtyard Sessions will showcase some of Bristol’s finest musicians and an array of musical tastes, from the explosive riffs of Jakabol feat. Malaika Kegode (the team behind the acclaimed production of Outlier), to the genius musical conversation of kora and cello by Sura Susso & Pete Yelding.

Announcing the performances, Projects Manager Sian Weeding said:
“The Courtyard gave us the opportunity to entertain our city during the pandemic when everything felt disconnected and uncertain. We welcomed old friends and new with poetry, rap, hip hop, dance, drag, song and bubbles. Now it’s back, at a new time of transition as we move slowly back indoors once again. We want to celebrate this movement with uplifting beats, soulful riffs and lyrical licks. We’ve got four fresh bands ready to re-light the Courtyard Stage and breathe new energy into the space that sits between the inside and outside of our theatre. We’re bringing back the Courtyard in a big way and we want as many people to join in this celebration as possible. Let’s start something new together.”

Further details of the Courtyard Sessions:
The programme starts on Tue 3 Aug with artist, musician and theatre maker, Brook Tate. Along with a full band blending jazz and soul with folk and theatre, Brook engages audiences with memorable melodies, narrative lyrics and rhythms to keep your body moving, hums humming and hands clapping. Likened to Jeff Buckley and Stevie Wonder, with a dash of This Is The Kit and Joni Mitchell.
Funky. Fun. Emotional. Fabulous.
The following evening, on Wed 4 Aug, Hammond Organ and Drum duo Osmoid feat. Joe Wilkins will bring Energy, Funk, New Orleans, Stank, Blues and more to the Courtyard Stage. Jonny Henderson and Matt Brown have toured all over the globe in Kirk Fletcher’s trio and performed on his album Hold On (Best Contemporary Blues Album nominee, 2019). Separately, they’ve also performed with musicians such as Robben Ford, Matt Schofield, Pee Wee Ellis, Rodriguez, Lillian Boutte and Marc Ford.

Their Courtyard Sessions performance will see the duo perform a new set of original material never heard before, and they’re bringing the incredible Joe Wilkins (Elles Bailey, Sefrial, Angel Snow)—one of their favourite guitarists in the world—to the stage too.
On Tue 10 Aug, experimental music collective Jakabol will join us on the Courtyard Stage. Inspired by the energy of bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, their music bends genre and challenges expectations of song structure. Consisting of harp, violin, drums, guitar and keys they fuse world folk influences with progressive textures and explosive riffs.

Returning to Bristol Old Vic after their time writing and performing the music in the acclaimed production of Outlier, they will be joined on stage by their long-term collaborator and Outlier star, Malaika Kegode, for one of their sets.
Closing the programme on Wed 11 Aug are Sura Susso & Pete Yelding. This year, to find a musical antidote to the pathos and uncertainty of these times, they began a collaborative project exploring Lullabies. The first incarnation of this premiered at Bristol Old Vic in September as a piece of storytelling theatre titled Maimuna and Timingjor. In this performance, they will give audiences a chance to experience more of their intuitive musical bond and engaging chemistry, as they explore new ways for their unique instrumental styles to converse and collide on stage.

Sura Susso is a virtuoso kora player, percussionist and vocalist from Gambia. He comes from a Griot family. Griots are performing historians, peace makers, musicians, diplomats and storytellers that carry the knowledge of the people. He has performed all over the world, gracing stages and audiences of all sizes with his melodious voice and soulful kora playing. Pete Yelding is a cellist, sitarist, and vocalist from a family of travelling showpeople.

This comes hot on the heels of  Bristol Old Vic's brand-new food offer, which launched on the 20th July, when Pizzarova x Grano Kitchen became the first of a series of exciting culinary collaborations running at the King Street theatre. With some of the city's most show-stopping food spots on board, Bristol Old Vic is making sure audiences will be able to eat, drink and listen to sensational live music all summer long. Details  

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.

Press Office: 0117 949 4901 |