Tom Morris on the stage of the Bristol Old Vic
Tom Morris on the stage of the Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic unveiled plans for its April to August 2014 programme at a public meeting earlier this week (11 March 2014), attended by a cross-section of the Bristol community.

The meeting marked a renewal of the Old Vic's open two-way dialogue with its audience, reminding the city of the aims for the theatre set out by artistic director Tom Morris in 2010.

Bristol Old Vic's commitment to regional collaboration begins with a series of co-productions with companies from across the UK. Bristol-based Invisible Circus is working closely with the Old Vic to transform their successful circus show Under The Dark Moon into a full-scale touring theatre production, while BOV is also joining a new West Coast partnership with the Liverpool Everyman and Glasgow Citizens, inspired by Giles Havergill. This collaboration launches with Dominic Hill's new production of The Libertine (28-31 May).

Other touring work includes Out of Joint, whose NHS satire This May Hurt A Bit (starring Stephanie Cole) has been developed in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic, and whose Our Country's Good also visits, both in April. The Bristol Proms also returns, in partnership with Universal Arts and Entertainment and Classic FM, and continues its aim of opening up classical music to audiences in exciting new ways.

The new-look Bristol Old Vic
The new-look Bristol Old Vic

'The most beautiful theatre in Britain'

Looking further ahead, it was announced that after sell-out runs at BOV in 2010, a West End run in 2011 and a critically acclaimed national tour, Swallows & Amazons will return in a new re-worked staging at Christmas. With music by Divine Comedy frontman Neil Hannon and book by Helen Edmundson, the show is directed by Tom Morris, with movement by War Horse choreographer Toby Sedgwick.

Morris said of the new season: "At this thrilling point when we have just received planning permission for the next phase of the redevelopment of this, the most beautiful theatre in Britain, we are taking another huge step towards our aim to connect the theatre with the whole city of Bristol. After this refurbishment, everyone in Bristol will be able to see our beautiful and unique theatre from the street for the first time since 1766 – and we want everyone in the city to be able know a bit about its extraordinary history and pioneering programme.

"As we celebrate our Spring programme, which ranges from the wild excesses of the Invisible Circus to the exquisite joy of Jane Eyre and the Bristol Proms, we are also renewing our conversation with the city about what we are doing and why. We programme artists who inspire us because they see the world in new ways, and we want to hear from anyone in the city: who are the artists who most inspire you?

"And to anyone in Bristol who reads this quote and who has never been to Bristol Old Vic, write to me and I will give you a free ticket for any show you like, as long as you tell me what you made of the show afterwards."

For more information visit www.bristololdvic.org.uk