Theatre News

Bristol Old Vic announces Touching the Void and The Cherry Orchard adaptations for 2018

A new play interrogating the role of Bristol within the slave trade will also be workshopped

Bristol Old Vic
Bristol Old Vic
© Flickr

Bristol Old Vic has today unveiled its plans for 2018, including two world premieres and an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard, as well as announcing its festive show for December.

Bristol Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris will direct David Greig's new adaptation of international bestseller Touching the Void, based on Joe Simpson's memoir. Set on the side of an unstable snow-cliff, the show recounts the real-life experience of Simon Yates, facing death while trying to rescue his injured partner (Simpson). The memoir was adapted into a BAFTA-winning film, and the show will open in autumn 2018, in what will be Greig's first return to Bristol since he studied there at university. The show is co-produced with the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and Fuel, and will run from 8 to 29 September.

The season will also debut a new adaptation of The Cherry Orchard from writer Rory Mullarkey from 1 March to 7 April. Directed by former RSC artistic director Michael Boyd, the show, based on Chekhov's masterpiece, will reconfigure Bristol Old Vic into an in-the-round space, with design from Tom Piper. This month, Boyd will open Will Eno's The Open House at Theatre Royal Bath, starring Greg Hicks.

The Old Vic will also present a workshop production of Giles Terera's new play The Meaning of Zong in November 2018. Based on the real-life massacre of slaves on the Zong freighter in 1781, the show discusses themes of abolition within the UK and their impact today. Terera will open in the West End production of Hamilton next month.

Artistic director Tom Morris said: "Liberal-minded Bristolian folk like me are often reluctant to talk about the slave trade. When drawn into conversation we tend to bemoan its atrocity and codemn it as an outright wrong, but we moderate our moral judgement. A close reading of the primary sources shows that many of those directly involved in the trade knew very well it was wrong, but found it too difficult politically, economically and socially to stop." The show will be produced in full in 2019.

From 17 October to 10 November, the Old Vic and Royal Lyceum Edinburgh will present a co-production of Twelfth Night, directed by Wils Wilson (The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart). The show will open at The Lyceum before transferring south.

Next Christmas, Bristol Old Vic will present a new family-friendly adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, with casting and further details to be announced.

As previously announced, the Bristol Old Vic will co-produce the new adaptation of Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls alongside The Old Vic in London. Directed by Sally Cookson (Jane Eyre, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) and devised by the company, the show explores the fantastical life of young boy Conor and his terminally ill mother.

The book, which won the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for outstanding children’s literature and illustration, was recently adapted into an award-nominated film starring Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson. The show will premiere in Bristol from 31 May before running in London.

Next summer Bristol Old Vic will bring back Mayfest, produced and curated by associates MAYK. The ten day event will take over the city with theatrical installations from across the world.

The venue will have completed work on its multi-million pound redevelopment project, creating a new front of house for the venue and studio space. The new studio will announce its season next spring.

The Old Vic will also work with new associate company, Diverse City, to consolidate its work with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.