Everyone knows Bristol is a creative place. It’s the home of Banksy, wildlife documentaries, numerous festivals and an internationally renowned acting school. So it’s not a surprise that the city both attracts and creates great plays.
The Hippodrome is the more commercial theatre which attracts West End shows on tour. It’s the type of place where you have to choose between a ticket and eating for a week. The Bristol Old Vic Theatre and The Tobacco Factory are the ones that tend to produce high quality plays, a nice range of out-there experimental and slightly more traditional. However most people tend to get lost the first (or fourth or fiftieth) time they walk to The Tobacco Factory.
Almost all of the other theatres in Bristol are used by a mixture of amateur and professional companies and can be a bit hit and miss (but the hits are usually worth the misses).
It’s always good to take a risk and see something you’ve never heard of. You never know what might happen. But if you’re looking for recommendations, this might be a good place to start. Here are four shows you should see in Bristol this term.
Every Brilliant Thing, Tobacco Factory (6th-10th Oct)
Duncan Macmillan’s play is a list of every good thing in the world written through the eyes of a six year old. This comedy about depression apparently makes everyone cry.
Bromance, Circomedia (21st-23rd Oct)
Three young men from Barely Methodical Group make running away with the circus seem like a great idea. Expect ridiculous skills and strength. This is part of Bristol’s circus festival which launches in October.
Men In The Cities, Tobacco Factory (13th-14th Nov)
Chris Goode’s one man show focuses on the interweaving lives of several men in London, digging into topics including art, suicide, drummer Lee Rigby and Coldplay. It rages beautifully at the current state of the world.
Sleeping Beauty, Bristol Old Vic (27th Nov-17th Jan)
BOV’s Christmas show is always an adventure. Gender roles are reversed in this updated version of the classic fairytale as a Prince is cursed into sleeping for 100 years. Sally Cookson directs this musical piece of theatre that is sure to be worth seeing in the holidays.