£2.4m awarded to Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Bristol Old Vic Theatre will benefit from a £2.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out major restoration work.

 The funding is part of a £48m investment into saving Britain’s most significant heritage sites. The money comes as Bristol Old Vic, the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, celebrates its 250th anniversary.

The funding will be put towards ongoing refurbishment work. This will include the Coopers’ Hall and the reveal of the 1766 theatre façade.

Another project is the digitisation of the theatre’s archives, which will be done alongside the University of Bristol Theatre Collection and Bristol Record Office.

Emma Stenning, Chief Executive of the theatre, said in a statement to the Heritage Lottery Fund:

“We’re thrilled that HLF has given us this support as it will enable us to push forward with our exciting plans to transform the theatre into an internationally-significant hub of cultural and historical interest.”

‘The Old Vic’s next generation’

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Graduate Zoe Megins-Davies said: “2016 has been one of the busiest years. The collaboration between the theatre and the theatre school as fantastic.” The students have been working hard to ensure the year is a success.

Bristol Old Vic is currently undergoing construction
Image: Didi Onwu. Bristol Old Vic is currently undergoing construction

The school works hard to simulate the pressures of the industry, which is why its collaboration with the theatre is so beneficial for both the students, and the theatre itself.

This year for instance, the work of students and the theatre culminated in the production of King Lear, starring Timothy West in the title role. “King Lear is about generational divide – particularly poignant, post-Brexit,” Zoe said.

The theatre’s refurbishment works are due to be completed in 2018. “It’s going to be exciting in 2018,” Zoe said.  No doubt the heritage grant will go a long way to ensuring students and visitors alike continue to benefit from Bristol Old Vic.





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