Theatre News

Bristol Old Vic announces Autumn/WInter Season 2014

A new co-production of Juno and the Paycock, a return by Kneehigh, and a Swallows and Amazons revival are amongst the highlights of BOV’s new season.

Swallows and Amazons is revived at BOV for Christmas 2014.
Swallows and Amazons is revived at BOV for Christmas 2014.

Five years after taking charge of Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director Tom Morris and Executive Producer Emma Stenning have announced they are setting out their stall for an ongoing, balanced programme of work which will run through the radical refurbishment of Bristol Old Vic’s foyer and trading areas and confirm the secure future of Britain’s oldest regional theatre.

The Autumn/Winter Season 2014 begins with a new production of Juno and the Paycock, Sean O’Casey’s masterpiece set in Dublin 1922. Directed by Gemma Bodinetz artistic director of co-producers Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, it stars Niamh Cusack (The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time; Playboy Of The Western World), and premieres at Bristol Old Vic before transferring to Liverpool.

Returning to Bristol will be Cornish company Kneehigh with Dead Dog in a Suitcase (based on John Gay's classic musical satire, The Beggar’s Opera). Full of Kneehigh inventiveness and a powerful live score combining trip-hop and folk, ska, grime and dubstep, it echoes Gay’s original by plundering the sounds of our times. Building on their growing collaboration with Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres, Mark Bruce‘s South Bank dance award winning Dracula tours into the main house having originated at the Tobacco Factory

Christmas brings another mix of home-grown shows to both the Theatre and the Studio. Back by popular demand, Tom Morris’ much-loved family musical Swallows and Amazons, with score by Neil Hannon, returns after a sell-out run in 2010 and a national tour. There is also a brand-new production for younger audiences of The Magic Elves, featuring Bristol legend Kid Carpet and based on The Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm. Under 2s can also see the show for free as a great first introduction to theatre.

Further forward will see a collaboration with English National Opera to play in Bristol during spring 2015. Morris is reunited with designer Tom Pye (Juliet and her Romeo) to present Monteverdi’s Orfeo, one of the world’s oldest musical dramas presented in the intimate setting of the UK’s oldest continuously working theatre.

Touring work including the welcome return of critically-acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko with Institute, and the extraordinary L’apres Midi d’un Foehn, where ordinary plastic bags are transformed into prima ballerinas of the air to the music of Debussy.

During half term, we’re delighted to welcome a pre-school favourite, The Gruffalo to the Theatre for the first time and, for slightly older children, Bristol Old Vic’s Studio presents The Great Big Story Mix Up. Back by popular demand, this totally unique show puts children aged 7+ squarely in charge of the plot. There’s also a spooky Halloween version if you dare!

Ferment’s work with developing artists continues in the autumn season: Ferment artists Theatre Damfino return with a child-friendly version of their culinary theatre experience, The Little Table of Delights; whilst Ferment co-commission Hoke’s Bluff (presented by Action Hero); a new play The Window (written by Bristol Old Vic writer in residence Silva Semerciyan) and Echo Beach, developed at BAC with support from Ferment all play runs in the studio during this period.

To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, Bristol Old Vic are collaborating with Bristol Museums on Moved by Conflict, an exhibition at Bristol’s M-Shed museum uncovering the memories of Bristol people during the conflict. Melly Still, an Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic, brings a theatrical storytelling sensibility to the design and interpretation of the exhibition. In the Studio, Bristol Old Vic presents War Game, inspired by Michael Foreman's novella for young readers. This devised adaptation is directed by Toby Hulse (co-director of Last Days of Mankind and Minotaur).

Tickets for the Autumn Season are available now and can be brought in person, over the phone on 0117 987 7877 or online at