Stephanie Cole and Henry VIII lead the line-up at Bristol Old Vic this November

15 Oct 2020

Bristol Old Vic today announced its latest series of live performances will go on general sale from 2pm today (15 Oct). A rolling programme of work on the theatre’s new Courtyard Stage and in the historic Georgian Theatre will run through November as Bristol Old Vic continues to discover what theatre can be in the current climate, while supporting freelance artists to perform once more.

The programme includes theatre, spoken word and live music from the innovative artists who are part of the Bristol Old Vic family, in the spirit of exploration and fun.

From 3-5 Nov, Clevedon’s own Living Spit theatre company return to where it all began, with their historically vague take on Tudor history; The Six Wives of Henry VIII. First seen at Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment Fortnight in 2012, this much-loved hit production plays Bristol for one last time after a smash-hit, Off-West End Award-nominated London run just before Coronavirus shut everything down. Taking over the Courtyard Stage with live original music, embroidery, barbie dolls, silly songs and historical hysteria, this promises to be an ill-researched lesson in Tudor history that you'll never forget.

On 6 Nov, the second Desert Island Theatre event takes place with one of Bristol Old Vic’s most loyal supporters – actress and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School alumni Stephanie Cole. She will attempt to recreate 7 key theatrical moments in her career, live on the Theatre stage, ably assisted by Artistic Director Tom Morris.

Stephanie Cole OBE trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 1958, and her first theatre job was at Bristol Old Vic. Her hugely successful career includes high-profile roles in Tenko and Open All Hours through the ‘80s, the classic ‘90s sitcom Waiting for God, and the role of Aunt Joan in Doc Martin. Recently she has appeared in Man Down with Greg Davies and as Sylvia Goodwin in Coronation Street. She was last seen at Bristol Old Vic starring as the Fool, in Tom Morris’ acclaimed production of King Lear. This will be a highly unpredictable evening full of surprises in this live event for a socially-distanced audience.

This is followed on 7 Nov, by Boogaloo – Bristol’s own tribute to Americana from a trio of high-energy musicians with a barnstorming Southern sound. Expect three-part harmonies and stomping strings from the mighty Nuala Honan, songstress extraordinaire and lover of old-time Americana, Bill Frampton and Claire Northey. Boogaloo go straight to the heart of Americana roots and promise a sound of the South worthy of a singalong!

On 12 Nov, Bristol Old Vic is also delighted to welcome back UK-based virtuoso Kora player, percussionist and singer-songwriter from Gambia, Sura Susso. Sura is part of a Griot family; performing historians, storytellers and musicians who carry the knowledge of the people. He fuses his traditional influences with new genres in order to promote his cultural roots and heritage, creating a truly unique and innovative sound.

His debut album Sila Kang received critical acclaim, and was called “exquisite” by Cerys Matthews and “impressive..brimming with imagination” by Rock & Reel magazine. He now joins Pete Yelding, a UK-based cellist, sitarist and vocalist from a family of travelling Showpeople, to explore Lullabies. The first incarnation of this premiered at Bristol Old Vic in September as a piece of storytelling theatre, Maimuna and Timingjor. This evening they will give audiences a chance to experience more of their intuitive musical bond, which translates to an engaging chemistry as they find new ways for their unique instrumental styles to converse and collide on stage. 

The latest programme of work announced today joins the previously announced series of talks for Black History Month Black History: Black Present: Black Future,  and ahead of a West End run, the Barn Theatre’s Private Peaceful (21 -24 Oct) on the Theatre stage, while on the Courtyard stage, folk music from trio Three Cane Whale (17 Oct) and an evening of spoken word with Lyrikal Warriors (23 Oct).

The Bristol Old Vic At Home online murder mystery Sherlock in Homes, presented by Sharp Teeth productions, also today announced it will be extending its run due to popular demand. This Zoom-based dastardly tale lets audiences become the detectives and solve the case. Extra 8pm shows now added to every Fri and Sat until 7 Nov.

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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