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Bristol Old Vic redevelopment plans to be unveiled

Details of the ambitious plans to redevelop the Bristol Old Vic will be presented at a public meeting to be held at the theatre on Tuesday 11 May.

The project, with an estimated total cost of £19.3m, has recently been boosted by an announcement that Arts Council England (ACE) has awarded the theatre a grant of £5.3 million, allowing the next stage of the capital programme to go ahead. Planned works include a complete refurbishment of the historic Theatre Royal auditorium and Studio, improved rehearsal, technical and backstage facilities, establishment of new heritage and education centres and enhancements to the front-of-house areas.

As reported by Whatsonstage (See News 24 February 2009) Emma Stenning, executive director, and Tom Morris, artistic director are newly appointed to post. They will be outlining their vision for the Bristol Old Vic, and will unveil their plans at the meeting. The Theatre Royal is one of the finest examples of a Georgian theatre still in existence. The Grade I listed building, and surrounding complex, will be refurbished and redeveloped to support their vision of establishing Bristol Old Vic as a theatre of major significance both nationally and locally.

The Arts Council grant brings the total funds raised to £10.5m, with a further £8.8m to be secured through fundraising activities throughout the year.

Stenning said: “The security of Bristol Old Vic as a theatre company is no longer the issue – we are very much open for business and, under Tom Morris’ artistic leadership, are putting on some of the most exciting new work in the country at the moment, such as the hugely successful Juliet and Her Romeo, which is currently showing.

“The reason this ACE grant is so important is that it enables us to move forward confidently with the redevelopment of the actual fabric of the building in order to maintain its vitality and splendour 243 years after it was built.

“Bristol Old Vic belongs to the people of this city and I genuinely hope that many of them will come to the meeting on 11 May to hear about the plans we have for it.”

The public meeting is free to attend and will take place on Tuesday 11 May in the auditorium of the Theatre Royal, King Street, starting at 6.30pm.


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