New stories released for Women of Bristol Old Vic sound project to mark International Women's Day

8 Mar 2021

Last year, on International Women’s Day, the audio installation Women of Bristol Old Vic was launched in the theatre's Front of House space and explores the role of unsung women in Bristol Old Vic’s past and present who have shaped the theatre to be what it is today – the oldest continually working theatre in the country. 

From archival information about the women who financially contributed to the building of the theatre to interviews with members of today’s empowering feminist productions, the tracks explore the roles of these women in the hope of inspiring the next generation of female theatre practitioners.

The project was produced and created by Charlotte Churm, who was keen to champion female role models for a younger generation. Audiences could interact with the project by scanning QR codes on their phones and listen to the historical and current role of women in the theatre. Within a fortnight of the project’s launch, lockdown struck, and soon after the tracks were moved online to the theatre’s SoundCloud.

Charlotte Churm, the creator of Women of Bristol Old Vic said today, “Now, more than ever, it is critical to amplify the narratives of women and hopefully inspire the next generation of Bristol’s female theatre-makers. We hope to shine a light on these wonderful women, spanning the 18th century to the present day, who form such an integral part of our community!”

The last 12 months have been historically unprecedented and monumental in the theatre industry’s history. So, Women of Bristol Old Vic project has decided to mark this moment in history with a brand-new track, Lockdown Ladies

With virtual interviews taken place in lockdown, the track investigates how female theatre practitioners have adapted around the pandemic to continue making work at Bristol Old Vic. Featuring director superstar Sally Cookson, Wise Children Executive Producer Poppy Keeling and members of the Bristol Old Vic team, the extended track will show the perseverance and adaptive thinking of some of Bristol’s leading female theatre makers. As a new graduate, Charlotte wanted to expand the dialogue around the theatre industry in crisis, whilst looking at the resilience and optimism that has emerged from theatre makers during the pandemic.

The track will be available to listen to from today, International Women’s Day 2021 (8 March) and when the theatre re-opens, will be added to the Front of House installation alongside the rest of the audio project. 

The original seven audio tracks unlock a story about the women of the theatre, from the first female theatre manager Sarah Macready to Wise Children’s Artistic Director Emma Rice

The interviews also feature Bristol Old Vic’s current female staff including Becky Davies (Productions and Operations Coordinator), Charlotte Geeves (Executive Director), Hattie De Santis (Engagement Producer), Lucy Hunt (Engagement Director) and Rebecca Molloy (Box Office Manager), as well as the cast of Diverse City’s Mid Life, and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate Moronke Akinola.

To listen to the full playlist, head to:

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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