Local blogger Laura Summerhayes offers some advice for a theatre-packed day in Bristol...

Whether you’re looking for some light-hearted entertainment, complex social commentary, or you just fancy some delicious locally-sourced food, Bristol’s theatres won’t disappoint. In fact, you could easily spend a whole day enjoying engaging performances across the city. Here’s how…


Image - Tobacco Factory Theatres 

Start your day south of the river with coffee and cake at the Tobacco Factory Cafe Bar on Raleigh Road. Tobacco Factory Theatres has an impressive roster including works by the likes of Shakespeare, Molière, as well as more modern shows, so it’s well worth sticking around here for a performance too.

What’s more, if you have children, or you’re between the ages of seven and 19 years old, Tobacco Factory Theatres offer a whole host of opportunities for young actors. From training to workshops you don’t just have to watch performances, you can make them too!

After morning refreshments head to the centre, and stop off at the Bristol Old Vic to soak up some thespian culture. It is the oldest continually working theatre in the country after all.


Image - The pop-up bar at Bristol Old Vic. Credit - JonCraig.co.uk 

While you’re at the Old Vic, why not grab a glass of something bubbly before the afternoon’s performance? The restaurant is closed currently due to an exciting redevelopment project, but you can still wet your whistle and soak up the atmosphere in a specially created pop-up bar. Don’t worry if you need something more substantial, Bristol Old Vic have partnered with local restaurants for pre-theatre deals.


Image - Improv soap opera Closer Each Day at The Wardrobe Theatre. Credit - Adam Fung 

Our itinerary splits at this point, giving you a choice of two options: fun for all the family or adults only!

Family fun

If you’re looking for good, all-round fun, then the Bristol Hippodrome is your best bet. Showing an annual panto, musicals throughout the year including big names and touring West End shows, comedians, and child-friendly productions, you’re sure to find something suitable.

Adults only

Some of Bristol’s quirkiest theatres are attached to bars, hence the ‘adults only’ rating! For wacky, out there, raucous comedy, improv and a bar/restaurant serving delicious food and drink, it has to be the Wardrobe Theatre. Located at the back of Old Market Assembly, it’s a relative newcomer to the Bristol theatre scene, although this little dot is quickly proving to be more Narnian than ‘box room’ in its proportions and scope. But shhh, let’s just keep it our secret, OK?

Across the city, you could do worse than end your theatre-packed day at the Alma Tavern and Theatre in Clifton. Stocking local produce, and making as much onsite as possible, you’ll be sure of a hearty meal and a great evening of entertainment.


Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Bristol Old Vic Theatre exterior

Built in 1766, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, and remains a place of joy, discovery and adventure to this day.

The Bristol Hippodrome
Bristol Hippodrome theatre inside

One of the country's top provincial theatres, which proudly continues to stage major West End and Broadway productions.

Tobacco Factory Theatres
The Tobacco Factory Exterior

A popular theatre and café bar in Southville, with a programme of touring and in-house productions, childrens' and music events