2016 is a very exciting year for British theatre as the Bristol Old Vic, the oldest working theatre in the country, celebrates its 250th anniversary.
Since it first opened, this historic playhouse has been celebrated for its remarkable design and as a place where countless artists, from Sarah Siddons and Henry Irving, to Peter O’Toole, Daniel Day Lewis, Miranda Richardson and Jeremy Irons, have developed their careers.
This milestone anniversary is also a fantastic opportunity for the Spirit team as we’ve been asked to help maximise the profile-raising opportunities it offers to broaden the theatre’s reach and communicate the vital role the theatre plays in the cultural life of Bristol, nationally and internationally.
Working closely with the Bristol Old Vic’s internal team, we are shaping and delivering a high profile communications campaign for this project, focusing on media relations as well as helping to build relationships with the theatre’s wider stakeholders.
To celebrate Bristol Old Vic’s quarter-millennial and its vision for the future, the theatre is planning a special anniversary programme featuring five world-class productions – one from each century of the theatre’s life – as well as a production of a Shakespeare play to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.
The birthday itself will centre on a weekend of celebration over the second May Bank Holiday including a one-off special performance, the launch of a new digital heritage project and opportunities for community groups and creatives to perform on the Bristol Old Vic stage. The festivities will culminate in a street festival on the birthday itself, May 30, inviting the whole city to join the celebrations.
At the same time, Bristol Old Vic is gearing up for its next phase of redevelopment works, as well as preparing to transform itself into a major heritage destination.
With work set to begin during the anniversary year itself, the stage is set for 2016 to be a very big year in the cultural life of Bristol.