Theatre / Bristol old vic

Bristol Old Vic announce community call out and free ticket giveaway

By Sarski Anderson , Friday Mar 4, 2022

Bristol Old Vic has launched a campaign to help “super-charge the return of live theatre” while welcoming new audiences through its doors.

The theatre is offering 100 free seats for every Bristol Old Vic theatre show in 2022, for anyone attending for the first time.

“We want to share the magic of coming together and sharing a night at the theatre so we’re offering audiences the chance to try it out,” they say.

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Users setting up a new account with the theatre will be eligible to claim. The offer is valid for preview performances of any of the following shows:

Wonder Boy (March 5-9)

The Meaning of Zong (April 2-6)

Outlier (September 14-16)

Hamlet (October 13-18)

The Nutcracker (November 24-29)

Continuing their community engagement, Bristol Old Vic is launching a community call out “celebrating the power of positive change”. The project marks the upcoming production of The Meaning of Zong, written by and starring Hamilton award-winning actor Giles Terera, which opens on April 2.

The Meaning of Zong tells the true story of pioneering abolitionist Olaudah Equiano and how one man’s spirit can fundamentally change a nation. It follows how he joined forces with anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharp to publicly condemn the massacre aboard the slave ship Zong, setting in motion events which would go on to galvanise the abolition movement in the UK.

The Meaning of Zong is about the value of humanity and what we’re prepared to do to defend that,” explains Terera. “I wanted to tell this story because it explains how we all arrived at the Britain we are living in today. It explains why people feel the need to pull statues down.

“We can better understand where we are by acknowledging how we got here. It is a difficult subject but the best stories, though they can be the hardest to face are often the most rewarding.”

The Meaning of Zong community call out on Moments of Change – image: Bristol Old Vic

For the community project, Bristol Old Vic is approaching individuals, public figures, groups and organisations across Bristol over a two week period, to collect stories of change. They are asking participants to share video messages about:

  • A moment of change you have lived through (the change may be extraordinary of general, but special to you)
  • An inspirational individual you are aware of who has brought about change
  • A change you would like to see in your lifetime

Curated submissions will form the basis of a digital projection on the theatre wall before performances of The Meaning of Zong.

Tips for participants include the need to film in landscape, somewhere quiet, with minimal background noise; to film in one take (pauses and restarts can be edited out later); to obtain permission from everyone in shot; to keep the camera/phone steady, and to ensure good lighting.

An official launch event for this community video project will be held at Bristol Old Vic on March 22, featuring Giles Terera in conversation with friends, and music by Sidiki Dembele.

The theatre is encouraging people to share this invitation far and wide, to maximise involvement.

The Bristol Old Vic free ticket offer is for any seat, and any price band, and extends to any preview performances in the theatre. Visitors need to set up a new account to claim their free ticket (maximum of two free tickets per new account). More information is available at

To share your story on a moment of change, you can record and send video to [email protected] (including your name, organisation (if applicable) and a contact email. You can also share videos, messages and pictures via social media @BristolOldVic on Facebook and Twitter, or @BristolOldVic1766 on Instagram. Submissions will be added to the archive, though not all will be used within the installation. All videos will necessitate the signing of a release form to permit use.

The Meaning of Zong is at Bristol Old Vic, King St, Bristol, BS1 4ED from April 2-May 7 (a split run of April 2-9 and April 26-May 7, at 7.30pm, with additional Saturday matinee shows at 2.30pm. Tickets are available at The production also tours to the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh from April 13-23 and Liverpool Playhouse from May 10-14 .

Main photo: Ben Robins, for Wonder Boy

Read more: Bristol Old Vic’s Spring season of new writing continues with ‘Wonder Boy’

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