Patrick Stewart, Toby Jones and Lesley Manville add their support to Bristol Old Vic’s Reopening Appeal13 Aug 2020
Famous faces from across the theatre industry have come together in a video to support Bristol Old Vic’s appeal for donations, as the theatre works toward its reopening following the abrupt closure of all theatres earlier this year.
Actors, writers and directors including Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduates Patrick Stewart and Trudie Styler, Toby Jones (Messiah), Games of Thrones’ Patrick Malahide, Lesley Manville (Long Day’s Journey Into Night), former writer-in-residence Kwame Kwei-Armah and Samuel West (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) have contributed to Bristol Old Vic’s fundraising appeal with heartfelt video clips explaining what makes Bristol Old Vic such a special place. Kwei-Armah said he “learned what it was to be a true artist” within Bristol Old Vic whilst Patrick Stewart called it, “the first theatre I ever fell in love with.”
They sit alongside messages from some of Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment supported artists including Malaika Kegode (Outlier), Ruth Ramsay (Anansi and the Grand Prize) and Jenny Davies (Outlier).
The video, created by Oliver Kendall of Mint Cake Productions, also features Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director Tom Morris who spearheads the theatre’s call for donations: “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us like a hammer blow. We’ve lost, at a stroke, 75% of our income."
The oldest continuously running theatre in the English-speaking world was forced to close on 17 March, and like other cultural institutions across the country, has since been put in an extremely vulnerable position, which has included its recent announcement of a consultation process, putting roles at risk from its full-time workforce. The funds raised through the appeal will support the commissioning of new work from Bristol artists and beyond as the theatre emerges from the pandemic.
In the video, Tom Morris also explains the theatre’s next steps, demonstrating how donations will contribute towards the theatre’s survival and the putting on of new work:
“We have already received donations from people who love this theatre and with those funds we have started to commission the work that will reopen it. First of all, we will experiment with some solo performances in the foyer, then we’ll move back into the theatre with limited audiences when once again our theatre will start to come to life until we can build back to the full scale productions which you may know and love and have seen. But we can’t do this without your help.”
Individuals can donate towards the Bristol Old Vic Reopening Fund by visiting www.bristololdvic.org.uk/support-us. The page also includes information about other ways to support the theatre and be more closely involved in the life of Bristol Old Vic.
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.