Bristol Old Vic takes on inequality of access to arts in the city for The Big Give Christmas Challenge

27th November 2020

Categories: Latest News

This December, Bristol Old Vic will once again be part of The Big Give Christmas Challenge, an annual week-long campaign where all donations made to the theatre via The Big Give website from 1-8 Dec will be doubled.

Bristol Old Vic is internationally well-known for its West-End transfers and five-star productions, but the ground-breaking work it does to bring creative opportunities to young people in every postcode in the city is less well-known. Throughout the pandemic, Bristol Old Vic’s resources have been decimated and its income wiped out overnight, but the connections and relationships it has with young people across the city are as strong as ever.

Bristol Old Vic’s Engagement team work tirelessly across Bristol to help young people harness their imaginative powers, gain confidence and find their voice for the future. But the opportunities across Bristol have not been equality open to all. For example, currently only 54.1% of people in Hartcliffe & Withywood participate in cultural activity, while the city average is 84.3%.

This year, The Big Give Christmas challenge provides the opportunity to address this imbalance with Young Company:City - a new initiative which will bring creative opportunities into some of the areas of Bristol with the lowest provision for the arts and address some of the economic and geographical barriers that exist for the individuals affected.

Funds raised through The Big Give will allow Bristol Old Vic to work directly with partner organisations and communities in specific areas such as Hartcliffe and St Pauls with this pilot project, which if successful, will be implemented elsewhere across the city. Young Company:City will run drama workshops in the community with professional facilitators and theatre-practitioners from Bristol Old Vic, provide mentoring schemes and wellbeing programmes for children involved, while also providing access to refreshments at each of the sessions.

The funds raised through The Big Give will also go directly towards funding travel into the city, removing the current economic and geographical barriers to young people accessing a range of productions at Bristol Old Vic. This way, young people who may not ordinarily visit Bristol Old Vic have the opportunity to discover the theatre for themselves.

We will also provide access to our newly-formed library, which will be a free resource for Bristol's communities to engage with theatre and writing from a range of voices and experiences within the artistic sector, and empower future generations of artists.

Donations to The Big Give Christmas Challenge could help with:
£5 covers the return travel to for a young person to come and see a performance at Bristol Old Vic, or to get to-and-from their drama session.

£10 means a group can have printed scripts for their rehearsals.

£25 ensures our young people can have something to eat during an after-school workshop.

£100 buys all the resources for an after-school group, including hand-sanitiser, props and materials.

£500 lets Bristol Old Vic run a whole day of arts activity in a school.

£1,000 transports every young person taking part in the project to Bristol Old Vic for their end-of-year performance.

£5,000 pays for an entire school to have a whole year of arts activity.

To support Bristol Old Vic’s Young Company: City, and to make double the difference, please visit:

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