Photography released for the launch of Bristol Old Vic's new Heritage Experience

28 Nov 2018

The final piece of Bristol Old Vic’s radical reinvention will fall into place this weekend (10–11 Nov) with the launch of its brand new interactive heritage experience. The fascinating history of Bristol Old Vic, the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world, will be brought to life in a collaboration with Bristol Archives and the University of Bristol Theatre Collection as the theatre unveils a host of experiences and attractions, supported by the National Lottery.

Available to download here

Over the upcoming weekend, Bristol Old Vic will introduce its new interactive experiences, exhibition spaces, tours and workshops that tell the story of this iconic theatre over the last 252 years. After a launch event on the evening of 9 Nov, general public will able to access all heritage has to offer from 8am, Saturday 10 Nov every day of the week, during the theatre’s opening hours. Booking is only required for Guided Tours which will take place twice weekly. With stunning video projections, an immersive augmented reality experience and fully redesigned public areas within the theatre, it will become one of Bristol’s key visitor destinations with something for everyone.

From 8am, 10 November, there will be a host of heritage experiences included in your visit to Bristol Old Vic, to make it even more memorable...

An Audience with the Past
See characters, playbills and posters from the past 250 years side by side for the very first time.
Designed and installed by Emily Ketteringham

The House is Open!
Watch the original Theatre wall transform before your eyes in this exclusive pre-show mapped projection film, marking the architectural changes of our building.
Designed in collaboration between Aardman and Limbic Cinema

Noises Off: 250 Years of Sound Technology in the Theatre
Learn the tricks of the trade and become a theatre technician in our interactive corridor, and sneak a peek at our 18th-century sound equipment: the Thunder Run.
Designed by Joe Ravenhill of 2FeetBelow

A Window to the Past
Step back in time and explore different parts of the Foyer across four time periods with our immersive augmented reality experience.
Designed in collaboration between Limbic Cinema and ZubrVR

Trials and Triumphs: 250 Years of Bristol Old Vic
An historic illustrated timeline of our Theatre's history.
Designed and painted by Hana Sunny Whaler

A Touch of History
Discover famous faces, past productions and show material using our digital archive interface.
Software designed by Nick Harpley of Saztooma

King Street: From Marsh to Metropolis
Uncover local legends and the rise and fall of King Street in our graffiti-style timeline.
Designed and painted by Bex Glover 

Created by our talented Made in Bristol company, Limelight tours will offer a chance to meet some of the famous figures from the theatre's history face-to-face! 


In support of this Capital Project, we would like to thank National Lottery players and Arts Council England -the development agency for arts and culture, Bristol City Council and Heritage Lottery Fund in helping us to realise our vision for Bristol Old Vic. In addition, we thank the many trusts, foundations, individuals and businesses including The Linbury Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, John James Bristol Foundation, Foyle Foundation, and The Wolfson Foundation for supporting the creation of a space where people from all over the city can experience amazing art and culture that makes Bristol the place that it is.
In addition, thanks to our Project partners, Bristol Archives and University of Bristol Theatre Collection.

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us onTwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery

The Theatre Collection is one of the world’s largest archives of British theatre history and Live Art and is an accredited museum and international research facility open to all.  Founded in 1951 to serve the first UK university drama department, its collections range from 1572 to the twenty-first century and its visitors include everyone from international scholars to family historians. We enable the Collection to be used for education, research, innovation, enjoyment and inspiration by all those who wish to do so.
Bristol Archives was established in 1924 and is home to 800 years of Bristol History. It was the first borough record office in the country and at the time there was only one other local record office in existence. The archives collects and preserves records relating to the city of Bristol and the surrounding area for current and future generations to consult including records created by Bristol City Council and predecessor bodies.

Aardman, based in Bristol (UK) and co-founded in 1976 by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is an independent and multi-award-winning studio. It produces feature films, series, advertising, interactive entertainment and attractions for both the domestic and international market. Their productions are novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm reflecting the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the Aardman team. The studio’s work is often imitated and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning content for cinema, broadcasters, digital platforms and live experiences around the world.

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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