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Bristol Old Vic Theatre
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Bristol Old Vic Theatre

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In Person: King Street, BRISTOL, BS1 4ED
Phone: 01179 877877
Opening hours: Mon–Fri, 1–6pm | Sat, 2.30pm–6pm

What's On Highlights

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Ever wondered how eighteenth-century sound technicians conjured thunder above the heads of our very first audiences?

Witness the running of the oldest Thunder Run in the country as – just as they did 250 years ago – our technicians unleash the roar of thunder throughout the auditorium. A unique experience for theatre fanatics and thrill-seekers alike.

Spaces regularly included on The Thunder Run Experience:

The new Bristol Old Vic foyer
The Georgian Auditorium and Stage
The original theatre roof space and Thunder Run
Plus hear the Thunder Run in action!

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Inspired by the people, performers and players who have walked the boards through our two-and-a-half-century tenure, learn more about our world-class theatre and the productions that made history.

The People’s Tour combines myth, fact and Bristolian folklore, as our experienced tour guides expertly weave past and present into a thrilling and informative experience. The perfect morning for anyone with an interest in 18th–21st-century theatre and the people behind Bristol Old Vic’s rich history.

Spaces regularly included on The People’s Tour:

The new Bristol Old Vic Foyer
The Georgian Auditorium, Stage, Gallery, and Pit passages
The Linbury Paintshop
The Weston Studio
Coopers’ Hall

All ages welcome
Running Time: Approximately 1 hour

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"One of comedy's most original voices" (Evening Standard) has written a new show. He's very proud of it. That being said, you are allowed to ruin it. Fill your boots.

Ages 14+

Approximately 1 Hour 30 mins

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“A jolt, a shock, the whizz of something crackling through me, surging through my veins, my body awakening, THE HUM OF SOMETHING JUST BENEATH MY SKIN BUZZING TO LIFE FINALLY, FINALLY!”

Struggling at the beginning of his medical transition, a young trans man has dropped out of university and returned to his quiet hometown.

His friends are away, the locals are becoming increasingly hostile, his body is transforming before his very eyes into someone he doesn’t quite recognise yet and it’s all becoming too much... Until he catches a midnight screening of Frankenstein.

At last, when he looks into the monsters big, dead, sad eyes, staring down at him from the screen, he feels seen.

Dear Young Monster is Pete MacHale’s debut solo show, pulling apart fear, otherness, and what it means to embrace being the monster that the world keeps telling you that you are.

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Fingers on buzzers! Here’s your Starter for Ten…

What is eighteen-year-old Brian Jackson’s proudest achievement to date? His A-level results. His idol? Kate Bush. His lifelong dream? To compete on legendary TV quiz show University Challenge. It’s 1985 and, leaving Southend to start his first year at Bristol University, Brian soon discovers that falling in love and growing up take a lot more than general knowledge…

Adapted from the hilarious novel by bestselling author David Nicholls and the popular 2006 film, Starter for Ten is a bright, big-hearted new musical. Featuring an irresistible original soundtrack inspired by the riotous student scene of the 80s, this coming-of-age comedy is about love, belonging and the all-important difference between knowledge and wisdom.

The book and lyrics are co-written by Emma Hall and Charlie Parham, with a 1980s-inspired original score and lyrics by Hatty Carman and Tom Rasmussen. Directed by Charlie Parham.

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Usually disabled people just want to do the right thing. But what if they don’t?

What if they were out to make as much money as possible from the guilt of non-disabled, anxious people (like you)? Hot off the back of their smash-hit run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, multi-award-winning, disability-led theatre company FlawBored present It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure; ‘a smart, scathing satire’ on the monetisation of identity politics that spares no-one.

Edinburgh Untapped Award 2023. Supported by Arts Council England Project Grants, Wildcard, The Watermill, Theatre Deli and Camden People’s Theatre.

Approximately 1 Hour

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The crew are back for another roar-some adventure!

Zog, super keen student turned air-ambulance, still lands with a bang-crash-thump. Together with his Flying Doctor crew, Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout, they tend to a sunburnt mermaid, a unicorn with one too many horns and a lion with the flu. However, Pearl’s uncle, the King, has other ideas about whether princesses should be doctors, and she’s soon locked up in the castle back in a crown and a silly frilly dress!

With a bit of help from some friends and half a pound of cheese, can Pearl make her uncle better and prove princesses can be doctors too?

Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling sequel, Freckle Productions (Zog, Stick Man, Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales) are back, with music and lyrics by Joe Stilgoe (Zog), for this truly modern take on the classic fairy tale.

Ages 3+

Approximately 1 Hour

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Prepare to be captivated by the world premiere of the award-winning play No More Mr Nice Guy. This gripping narrative revolves around Keloughn Douglas, a British-Caribbean Music Teacher entangled in the complexities of his aspirations for senior leadership, a burning passion for a successful music career, and his yearning to marry the love of his life.

As he grapples with the balancing act of work and personal life while navigating the day's microaggressions, Keloughn's world hangs in the balance. Audiences will be drawn into his psyche through a captivating blend of storytelling, movement, rap, RnB, and sound effects. Described as "funny," "thought-provoking," and "clever," this experimental gig-theatre production is an experience not to be missed.

Approximately 1 Hour

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Ell and Mary have been dead for three years, but now the creators of HOTTER and FITTER have come back to life (and the stage) with one question on their minds: how do you know when it’s the end? Inspired by zombies, heartbreak, and the humble cockroach, The Last Show Before We Die is an existential cabaret about the big things in life. And death.

The Last Show Before We Die combines found audio with original interviews in a genre-bending verbatim feast. Expect answers to life’s existential questions both profound and profane from a 93 year old, a former addict, a grief counsellor, a climate activist, and a midwife. And one of those people is already dead.

In a dark departure from their previous work, Hotter Project won’t bring you closure, or a happy ending. For reasons to do with the economy, unemployment, personal relations, the environment, and general apathy, this will be the last show Hotter Project ever does. Welcome to the messiest breakup you’ve ever been through: live.

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Did you know that Bristol is home to the oldest continuously running theatre in the UK?

Step back centuries on The Theatre Tour of Bristol Old Vic. See the original workings of a building which has staged world-class productions since the 1700s.

Our expert tour guides will take you behind-the-scenes, answer your questions and bring the history of this famous theatre to life in vivid detail.

You’ll discover the key players and famous performers who have walked the boards and hear the dramatic stories of when the theatre’s doors were threatened to close for good.

Weaving past and present into a thrilling and informative experience, The Theatre Tour combines the myths, facts and Bristolian folklore that runs through Bristol Old Vic’s rich history.

Approximately 1 Hour

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Rachel Parris is back with her biggest tour yet, presenting a dazzling new hour of her signature blend of stand-up and songs.

The BAFTA-nominated comedian is best known for both her viral satirical segments on The Mash Report and Late Night Mash which have had over 100 million views, and as one of the founding cast members of the award-winning improv group Austentatious, who regularly perform to sold out crowds in London's West End.

In 2022, Rachel published her first book, Advice From Strangers, which was praised by Richard Osman as ‘warm witty and wise’. She has also appeared on Live At The Apollo, Would I Lie To You, Mock the Week, and Q.I and is a regular on much-loved radio shows I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and The Now Show.

Ages 14+

Approximately 1 Hour 45 mins

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“Let's Get Together And Feel Alright”

Rush Theatre Company, the company that brought you the critically acclaimed RUSH - A Joyous Jamaican Journey, bring you their production The King of Reggae - The Man - The Music.

Get ready to enjoy songs like One Love, No Woman No Cry and Is This Love all played live on stage by the incredible The King of Reggae Band, as we tell the story of the man who brought Reggae music to the world.

From a Government yard in Trenchtown to Rastafari Icon, this brand new narrated musical charts the life and times of the King of Reggae, touching every aspect of the Jamaican superstar’s musical, spiritual and political life and the impact his music was to have worldwide.

Featuring over 20 of his iconic hits, hear the story of the man and enjoy the music.

Approximately 2 Hours 20 mins

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The BAFTA-winning comedian, ‘national sensation’ (Evening Standard) and ‘extremely funny’ (Daily Telegraph) IainStirling, is bringing his intuitive razor-sharp humour back on tour with a brand-new stand-up show for 2024.

As the iconic voice of Love Island, star and writer of sitcom Buffering on ITV, and with his own stand-up special, Failing Upwards, on Prime Video, Iain hits the road once more with a brand-new hour (of jokes) in his biggest tour to date! (It’s called RELEVANT if you’re interested).

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The smash-hit true crime comedy podcast heads out on its biggest tour yet!

To celebrate ten years of talking murder, oversharing, and rapidly veering off topic, Kiri & Rachel hit the road and head to some of their favourite venues in their favourite cities.

Two hilarious and outspoken stand-ups at the top of their game host a night of serial killer discussion, overdressing, and possible slander. Legends assemble!

Ages 16+

Approximately 2 Hours

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Award-nominated online sensation Morgan Rees embarks on his first ever UK tour.

Hitting the milestone of his 30th birthday has made him develop a thirst… for life. He’s about to begin his first decade living truly authentically – and he can’t wait to get going.

A show about the unshackling of shame, embracing the power of Pride, and the trials and improvements that come with an experimental 20s. Or as he prefers to call them, the F**k Ups and Perk Ups. Also, there will most definitely be jokes about bumming.

Finalist: BBC New Comedy Award (2017) | Nominee: Chortle’s One to Watch (2020)

Ages 16+

Approximately 2 Hours

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“Every damn fool thing in this life you pay for”

So pronounced Edith Piaf on her death bed in 1963, aged just 47. Personal tragedy and an addiction to morphine was the price she paid for extraordinary fame.

Piaf charts her rise from the Paris streets to become one of the most popular performers in the world and its highest paid star, featuring her greatest songs performed with a live band.

Ages 14+

Approximately 2 Hours

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After a complete sell-out first run in 2023, Ruby Wax's rawest, darkest, funniest and most compelling stage show yet announces brand new dates for 2024, thanks to enormous demand.

“The original idea behind this show was based on the extreme journeys that I wanted to rake in order to find an antidote to living a frazzled life. Along the way I wanted to find meaning, peace, happiness – the stuff we’re all chasing. However, after some transcendent experiences, I ended up in a mental institution.

Obviously I didn't find what I was looking for.”

I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was is Ruby’s first tour show in four years followed her critically acclaimed, sell-out tour, How To Be Human.

Ages 14+

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Atri Banerjee’s acclaimed production of Tennessee Williams’ semi-autobiographical masterpiece, first seen at the Royal Exchange Theatre, returns starring Geraldine Somerville (Gosford Park) as Amanda.

Tom escapes a suffocating home life through cigarettes and long visits to the movies while his sister, Laura, withdraws into her records and collection of glass animals. But their mother, Amanda, harbours dreams for them far beyond their shabby apartment. When Tom brings home a potential suitor for Laura, Amanda seizes the opportunity to try and change their fortunes forever.

The Glass Menagerie is a poetic portrayal of a family on the brink of change. This intimate and intense memory play explores the complex web of love and loyalty that binds families together.

Ages 12+

Approximately 2 Hours 40 mins

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In 1978, Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards, and Jean Purdy changed the world as we know it – and most people don’t even know their names.

Bruntwood Prize-winning writer (Britannia Waves the Rules) Gareth Farr’s brilliant new play tells their pioneering story, and those of the army of women from all over the UK whose immense bravery helped them achieve the impossible – to create human life in vitro.

A Child of Science charts the incredible events that led to one of the most remarkable medical breakthroughs of our time: the birth of a baby girl and the creation of IVF, a procedure which has supported the birth of over 12 million babies worldwide over the last forty years.

Directed by the highly acclaimed West End director Matthew Dunster (Hangmen, 2:22 A Ghost Story, Shirley Valentine) and featuring the award-winning Tom Felton (Harry Potter), A Child of Science is about determination, dreams, hope, and courage. It’s a celebration of life.

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Join the Bruntwood prize-winning playwright Gareth Farr for this intimate Stage Talk about his new play, A Child of Science. Gareth will discuss the inspiration for the play, the societies changing attitudes towards fertility since the 1970s, his research into the incredible, often hidden people that developed the science behind IVF, and the army of women that helped them achieve the impossible. Further panellists to be announced.

Approximately 1 Hour

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Sofie Hagen is bringing her brand new stand-up show and her brand new book on tour.

The book, out in May 2024, Will I Ever Have Sex Again? is a candid, hilarious and disarming attempt to explore our sexual landscape, through conversations with experts, therapists, sex workers, porn stars, comedians and public figures. Why are we not having the sex we want to have? Where is the sexual liberation we were promised? Part memoir, part exploration, Sofie attempts to figure out why she hasn't had sex in over 3,000 days – and why this frustration is so relatable to so many people.

The brand new stand-up and storytelling show, Banglord, is “a banger of a show” (Entertainment Now) about sexual frustration and world domination.

Come laugh at the stand-up, participate in the Q&A about Will I Ever Have Sex Again?, and get your book signed. A full evening of fun.

Approximately 1 Hour 35 mins

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Sam’s eighteen and her life’s about to start. Zoe’s forty-something and hers never did. They don’t have much in common. Just a love of 80s' new wave, and an illness that wants them dead.

Thrown together in an eating disorder unit, their most intimate secrets exposed, they form a complicated bond. When another patient turns the ward into chaos, they face questions that dictate their survival. Most of all: how to navigate an institution that keeps you safe inside but unable to cope outside?

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Get ready to dance!

RUSH: A Joyous Jamaican Journey tells the story of Reggae music from the arrival of the Windrush Generation, and how these stories, history and music have evolved through the decades to take the world by storm.

Written and narrated by comedian John Simmit, and featuring ska, rock steady, calypso, gospel, lovers rock, dancehall and Reggae, get ready to dance to the music of Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Lord Kitchener, Millie Small and many, many more – all played live by the JA Reggae Band.

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In 2021, Richard Herring went to his GP to find out why his right ball seemed to be growing bigger. It turned out that he had testicular cancer and one month later he was lying in hospital waiting to have his murderous gonad removed. Would he survive? (No spoilers!).

For a comedian who had done a whole show on male genitalia (Talking Cock) and written a book about toxic masculinity (The Problem With Men) this felt like some cruel trick of fate.

In his much-anticipated return to stand-up after six years, Richard talks bollocks and answers the question on everyone’s lips: Is a severed gonad in a jar a fitting prize to bring in for Taskmaster?

Approximately 2 Hours 10 mins

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Due to PHENOMENAL demand, the sell-out hit show Uncanny: I Know What I Saw with Danny Robins is back in 2024!

In 2023 Danny asked the questions – do ghosts exists? And if not, why do we see them? 25,000 people at theatres across the country came to find out the answers, in the biggest live investigation into the paranormal. Ever.

You now have another chance to join Danny and his team of experts for this terrifying and thought-provoking evening, featuring chilling real-life stories of the supernatural experienced by ordinary people from ordinary places, brought to life on stage through thrilling theatrical invention in a mix of projection, sound and spellbinding storytelling.

As these stories of very modern hauntings are shared, Danny and the team will debate what they think actually happened in these strange encounters.

Whether you are #TeamBeliever or #TeamSceptic, a long-term Uncanny fan or just interested in the paranormal, you’re welcome to the show. All we ask is that you bring an open mind and prepare to hear some incredible stories and theories that may just change everything you think you know about the world.

Danny Robins is the creator of the hugely successful BBC Radio 4 podcasts and global hits, Uncanny, The Battersea Poltergeist and The Witch Farm, the BBC TV series Uncanny and the award-winning West End play 2:22 – A Ghost Story.

Ages 10+

Approximately 2 Hours 20 mins

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Calling all brave heroes! Enter into a magical world of myths and legends in this fantastical show for all the family.

Unveil a myriad of dark secrets and come face to face with some of the most magnificent monsters and terrifying beasts ever to walk the earth. Discover the colossal Stone Troll, the mysterious Indrik and Japanese Baku; the Tooth Fairy (not as sweet as you’d think), an adorable Unicorn and majestic Griffin. Take your place among legendary heroes, just don’t wake the Dragon…

This award-winning show is back on tour Direct from the West End, from the creators of international smash hit Dinosaur World Live, who bring spectacular puppets to life.

Don't miss this spell-binding adventure, live on stage!

Ages 3+

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Camelot is in trouble.

King Arthur knows that if he doesn’t turn things around, this civilisation will be forgotten, and be known as nothing more than a rather dull time in British history. But when three hapless squires approach him about changing that legacy… a legend is born.

Teaming up with one of UK theatre’s best comedy writers and directors, John Nicholson (Peepolykus), the award-winning Le Navet Bete (Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, Dracula: The Bloody Truth) are back with a brand-new laugh-out-loud show for the ages.

A comedy for the whole family, this hilarious retelling of the Arthurian legends will have audiences crying with laughter and become part of the legend themselves!

Ages 7+ - contains fake nudity

Approximately 2 Hours 10 mins

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Star of Live at the Apollo, Have I Got News For You and QI, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, is back with a brand-new tour, her funniest and most personal to date.

Prepare for a joyous and uplifting show from a comedian known for making “powerhouse stand-up from the thorniest of subjects” (The Guardian).

Ages 15+

Approximately 2 Hours 5 mins

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Olivier Award-winner Sally Cookson (A Monster Calls) directs the critically-acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production of Wonder Boy by Ross Willis, a heart-warming and inspiring story about the power of communication.

Sonny is twelve. Living with a stammer, he’s finding his way in a world ruled by vicious vowels, confusing consonants, and let’s not forget the biggest beast of them all – small talk. Sonny’s only friend is Captain Chatter, a comic book hero of his own creation, but in the real world language is power and Sonny must find a way to be heard.

When cast in the school production of Hamlet by the Headteacher, he finds the real heroes are closer than he thinks. Packed with playful humour, dazzling visuals and thrilling original music this innovative production includes live creative captioning on stage throughout. Winner of the 2023 Writers’ Guild Award for Best Play.

Ages 12+

Approximately 1 Hour 30 mins

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Scotland’s queen of comedy Fern Brady (Taskmaster, Live At The Apollo, Roast Battle, Russell Howard, The Last Leg) is back on tour with a brand new show. What happens when you get everything you want and it’s not enough? This is a great show to come and see if you are a fan of the Scottish comedian Fern Brady. Fern is the author of Sunday Times best selling memoir STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER whose previous show POWER AND CHAOS was broadcast on BBC1.

Ages 16+

Approximately 1 Hour 40 mins

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Sarah Keyworth embarks on a world tour with a brand new, joyous show about family, acceptance and a pair of big (well, not super big) losses.

It’s been a big year for Keys (aka Sarah Keyworth). Sure, they turned thirty, got diagnosed with ADHD and had top surgery, but perhaps the biggest adjustment is to the revelation that maybe their mum was right all along? Not about everything obviously, but they must concede that on teen drinking and being “forced” to go on holiday, Keyworth Sr probably had some solid points.

On their choice to have surgery, Keys feels lucky in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to the people they have around them. That said, it was a long road and there’s still conversations to be had about their gender identity and what this means in a world that seems increasingly hard on gender non-conforming people.

But as Sarah goes home for the first time post-surgery, to celebrate their mum’s own milestone birthday, it’s the conversations with their nearest and dearest that have them reflecting on their year and asking some big questions. What does acceptance look like? From whom does it matter? Is it OK to dance around your family kitchen with your new nipples out?

Ages: 16+

Approximately 1 Hour 40 mins

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What does it take for a woman to make it in a man’s world?

Meet Vy, a talented songwriter looking to make it big in the 1940s’ Harlem scene. She quickly learns from her uncle Jester that women will never be taken seriously in a man’s world. But, like many a strong hero, she refuses to accept defeat. Through her gender fluid cunning, she meets club owner The Duke and sensational nightclub singer Lady Liv and is swept up in a syncopated symphony of melodies, mistaken identities and romance. Who will come out on top?

Play On! is set in the jazz scene of New York’s Cotton Club. This stylish retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Talawa’s Artistic Director Michael Buffong (A Kind of People, Royal Court; All My Sons, Talawa and Royal Exchange) fuses the thrilling music of Duke Ellington with street dance choreography. Prepare to be wowed by this musical spectacular that will have your toes tapping and hands clapping along with the timeless soundtrack.


Bristol Old Vic is located on King Street, a 5-minute walk (0.2 miles) from the City Centre Harbourside.

There are bike racks on both King Street and Prince Street.

Bristol Old Vic is a 15-minute walk (0.8 miles) from Bristol Temple Meads railway station, or there are regular buses and taxis from outside the station. There is also a ferry which runs from the railway station into the City Centre. Bristol Bus Station is a 15-minute walk (0.7 miles) away. From Bristol Airport, it's 40 minutes by bus or 25 minutes by taxi to the City Centre.

Please book taxis for drop-off (and pick-up) to Bristol Old Vic, King Street, BS1 4ED.


There are good car parking facilities in the surrounding area including the NCP on Queen Charlotte Street and Trenchard Street car park, a 5 minute walk across the city centre. Meter parking is also available on Queen Charlotte Street and Queen Square. There is one disabled space round the corner of the theatre on Queen Charlotte Street. Blue Badge Holders park for free. For more information on parking, including options for minibuses and large vehicles, visit Bristol City Council parking services.

There is space for two coaches to set-down and pick-up in front of The Rackhay. The closest coach park is near the M Shed museum (access off of Cumberland Road) with a fee of £1.10 for up to 24 hours (do check this before setting off). Read about coach parking in Bristol on the Travel West website.


Make yourself at home in one of our purpose-built beach hut-style cabins, decorated with a touch of theatrical magic, and while away your day with craft beers from Left Handed Giant, local ciders, coffee, tea, snacks and more (Marshfield ice cream, anyone?). Or sit in our architecturally award-winning foyer, set against the stunning backdrop of the original 1766 Theatre wall.

For more information and to view menus and opening times please visit:

Access Info

Several per season. For detailed access information please visit the theatre's access page:

Built in 1766 as a place where the people of Bristol could come together, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world.

It was built as a symbol of the pride we have in our city and what it can achieve and remains a place of joy, discovery and adventure to this day.

Our front of house has recently undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment. Our new building boasts a brand new Studio Theatre, relaxing and fully-accessible front of house space, with a bar and kitchen serving everything from tasty treats with a morning coffee to an evening meal, alongside a new interactive heritage offering – opening up the 250-year-old history of this unique building for everyone to discover and enjoy at their own pace.

Our mission is to create pioneering twenty-first-century theatre in partnership with the people of our energetic city; inspired by the history and magical design of the most beautiful playhouse in the country.

We are led by artists who see the world with distinctive clarity and whose ability to articulate what they see allows us to understand and engage with our world afresh, whether that be through our 350-strong Young Company, our many outreach and education projects or helping ascendant artists by nurturing the spark or seed of an idea into something fully-formed.

We are publicly funded by Arts Council England and Bristol City Council, using that investment to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to our programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it or be able to afford it and to keep our extraordinary heritage alive and animated.

We strive to be welcoming, professional and boundlessly curious; playful, ambitious and rigorous; resourceful, honest, and generous; collaborative, Bristolian and world class.

Come and play.

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