The city of Bristol has a long heritage as a regional powerbase for theatre, but something has been going seriously wrong there recently. First came the shock when Bristol Old Vic announced it was going dark for 18 months from 1 August (See News, 4 Jun 2007), which was shortly followed by the esteemed Tobacco Factory venue launching an appeal for funds (See The Goss, 7 Jun 2007). Then last week, one of the city’s biggest commercial venues, the Bristol Hippodrome, was forced to cancel the entire run of The Producers, and shorten the upcoming visit of Starlight Express by a week (See News, 13 Jul 2007). While we reported on some positive news earlier this month – the Tobacco Factory receiving a large Arts Council England grant (See The Goss, 5 Jul 2007) – it's apparent that a concerted and determined effort is needed to achieve effective recovery in the West Country.

To this end, Theatre Bristol, an umbrella group covering the city’s theatrical development, is hosting an open forum to explore the issue. The event - held this Saturday (21 July) from 10am to 7pm at Circomedia, Portland Square, Bristol and entitled “So, Where Do We Go From Here?” - will be hosted by Phelim McDermott of Improbable Theatre, who will seek to make the meeting as open and democratic as possible. Everyone who is passionate about theatre in Bristol is invited to attend. Tickets can be bought from Colston Hall Box Office (0117 922 3686) and are priced at £5. There's also a ‘pay what you can’ concession rate.