The historic auditorium and back-of-house have already been refurbished. Now it’s the turn of the Bristol Old Vic’s public spaces, as the historic theatre approaches its 250th anniversary year in 2016.
“We know that the lobby, box office, cafe-bar and certainly the loos just don’t do justice to this beautiful theatre,” said artistic director Tom Morris at a public meeting yesterday to announce the autumn/winter season.
“They’re hard to access if you have limited mobility, it can be a challenge to find friends or reach the bar in the interval – and it can even be intimidating: that’s not what a theatre should be.
“We’re really glad the cafe and sofas have become a great meeting space – mums and babies and lunching workers sit alongside actors, writers and audiences.
“But we need to open this place up much more if it’s to keep serving the city: this internationally-renowned theatre is Bristol’s Old Vic.”
Morris and theatre staff now want to hear from people across Bristol as well as their regular audiences, as major refurbishment plans are drawn up to submit to the city council.
With £5m earmarked from Arts Council England, the theatre needs to secure £7m, as well as planning permission, before anything is certain.
A major fundraising appeal will be launched later this year.