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The arts


The inspiring space that is the new rehearsal room


The oldest continually working theatre in the country - and the most beautiful


“We’ve got the most engaged, gobby audience in the country”


couple of guys from Brittany, projection artists; I asked they why they came to Bristol and they said, ‘because we heard that if you are an artist with an idea, the city to be in Europe is Bristol’.”


What’s on next “Our new programme will be rooted in the history of this theatre, but in the most radical and forward-looking way. It’s a bit like discovering a beautiful old instrument that needs to be repaired and made electronic and


then working out how to play it. “In the autumn we’re reopening with Wild


Oats; it’s an 18th-century play, we’ve got an 18th-century theatre, and it’s written to be performed in that interactive space. “It’s incredibly playful, it’s about an


actor who can’t stop pretending, and that’s something that people of any generation can relate to; it could have been written about Steve Coogan. And with the same company I’m going to be devising a show which will be about whatever is happening in Bristol in October; the working title is Does my Society Look Big in This?’. “After that we have Cheek by Jowl, coming with ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore; they’re a global company with a global stature, and they’re launching their tour here. Then we have the Bristol Jam which is all improvised – tell your readers to Google ‘Beardyman’, and have a look at his kitchen routine. And then after that Sally Cookson, who people will know from Treasure Island, is making a new version of Peter Pan.”


The audience “I want people to come to this theatre in order to feel something that is quantitatively different from what you get at home, going to the pub or watching a movie. “Last year we put on Simon Godwin’s


production of Far Away; it was a minority interest piece, and after every show 250 people every night came back for a post- show discussion; there were fascinating, different conversations every night. A man from the Royal Court took part in one of them and said afterwards; ‘where the hell did you find that audience? I’d kill to have that audience at the Royal Court!’ “Come on, this is Bristol, we’ve got the


most engaged, curious and gobby audiences in the country.” CL


The main stage reopens with Wild Oats and Does My Society Look Big in This? from 4-20 September • bristololdvic.org.uk


www.mediaclash.co.uk Clifton Life 47


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