In the mid-1930s, the famous critic and theatre-maker Herbert Farjeon visited Bristol's Theatre Royal thanks to a recommendation from a friend. He saw this beautiful Georgian building being used for the 'low' entertainment of 'twice-nightly revues' - and vowed to save it. This was the beginning of a decade-long campaign to save the regional theatre now called Bristol Old Vic, which in the 1940s became the first publicly-funded arts venue in the UK.
Having been permanently rebranded via a London-centric takeover, Bristol Old Vic has always had to walk a tricky line between the kinds of shows the theatre thinks is worthwhile, and what local audiences want to see. In this presentation Dr Kirsty Sedgman explores audiences’ hopes and expectations for their theatre through history, and questions the idea (found in the archives) that Bristol has a 'difficult sort of audience'.