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Bristol Old Vic

The Theatre Royal opened in 1766 and is Britainís oldest continuously working theatre. The 18th century Georgian building in King Street is now the home of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company which was founded as an offspring of the famous London Old Vic.

Bristol Old Vic was described by David Garrick as the most beautiful theatre in Europe and, although he never performed here, he wrote the prologue to the very first play.

The famous tragic actress Sarah Siddons performed here many times and her ghost is said to haunt the theatre. When it opened it catered for the wealthy merchants living nearby but unfortunately declined with competition and the social decline of the docks area. By the early 1940s it was on the verge of being turned into a fruit and vegetable warehouse. Public spirited citizens rescued it and the Arts Council sponsored wartime productions and after the war it was restored.

The theatre produces a wide range of modern classic, Shakespeare, childrenís shows and musicals for the whole family. It attracts some of the finest actors and actresses.

The theatre has an excellent bookstall with a collection of classic and contemporary play scripts, performance and theory text books as well as posters, programmes and merchandise from Bristol Old Vic productions. The bookstall is open one hour before performances begin and stays open until the end of the interval.

Bristol Old Vic has a thriving Education Department. There are workshops, events and performances not only in the theatre, but also out in schools and the community; specific projects for targeted groups, and an extremely popular Youth Theatre, bringing Bristol Old Vic to as wide an audience as possible. There are also backstage tours.

From the very beginning the theatre has survived mainly on the support of its audience and patrons. As a Friend of Bristol Old Vic, you can help the company obtain the finest quality from its artistic programme and education activities.



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