Bristol Old Vic has announced its season of work for Autumn/Winter with a programme inspired by imagination and play.

The season begins with Kneehigh Theatre’s revival of The Red Shoes. Part of the company’s 30thAnniversary Tour, this was the first Kneehigh show ever presented at Bristol Old Vic in 2002, and these performances are a very special return for this much cherished piece. Kneehigh’s recent works include Don John and last Christmas’s Hansel and Gretel and this show presents a chance to see where the internationally adored company’s work first began.

Tom Morris directs a major new musical adaptation of the classic children’s adventure Swallows and Amazons. With music by Divine Comedy front-man Neil Hannon and book by Helen Edmundson, Bristol Old Vic ‘will transport family audiences to a fantastical place this Christmas’.

Boing! who can sleep on Christmas Eve? will be shaking the Studio to the rafters with a playful look at the excitement of Christmas Eve. Continuing their tradition of bringing enchanting shows for children to Bristol Old Vic, Travelling Light have been working with Champloo Dance to create a new piece of dance full of colourful images and playful sounds.

Following the sell-out production of Uncle Vanya last year, Bristol Old Vic is once again collaborating with Shakespeare at The Tobacco Factory. Moliere’s great comedy of manners The Misanthrope is a biting and playful satire on 17th Century French society and will be directed by SATTF Artistic Director, Andrew Hilton.

Bristol Old Vic’s Studio season presents some of the best talent from Bristol and further afield. Including the renowned Inua Ellams, a poet of startling imagination and compulsive story-telling, with his latest play Untitled; Tim Crouch’s new play The Author, a controversial look at the harm carried out in the name of art, and the visually startling Under Glass from Clod Ensemble.

Bristol Jam returns for ten days of improvisational brilliance. This ‘festival of chaotic brilliance’ is taking over the building once again with a range of spontaneous performance from comedians, theatre-makers and musicians of global stature. Jam will include Improbable Theatre’s Lifegame, where the reminiscences of an on stage interviewee are brilliantly recreated in the moment, and the return of Showstopper! The Musical, where audience suggestions help create a full-blown and completely unique musical each night.

Finally, Bristol Old Vic’s award-winning Young Company returns to the Studio in November, giving another classic story a characteristically contemporary take. Their Jason and Medea is no tale of gods and monsters, rather an East-End gang heist with a 60s soundtrack.

For more details, please check out the Bristol Old Vic website, http://www.bristololdvic.org.uk