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Watch this space

9th August 2018

Categories: Press Releases

Dramatic new looks for leading arts venues, a gorge-ous hotel upgrade, heritage open days, film shorts and a beer fest are among the goodies served up for the start of Bristol’s autumn season.


September sees the launch of two significant redevelopments for two of the city’s leading performance spaces. On September 24, the Bristol Old Vic, the UK’s oldest continuously-working theatre, unveils the final stage of a £25 million transformation. A keynote of the redevelopment is a full-height, glass-fronted atrium designed by British theatre architects Haworth Tompkins. This front-of-house entrance foyer will create a welcoming, community space that reveals the exterior walls of the beautiful Georgian theatre to the street for the first time. In addition, a new state-of-the-art studio theatre will complement the 18th century main auditorium (renovated in 2012), as well as a new ‘1766 Bar and Kitchen’. From November, the theatre will also function as a heritage attraction offering exhibitions, interactive experiences, tours and workshops, aimed at bringing its history alive.

The world-famous theatre, founded in 1766 on cobbled King Street in central Bristol, celebrated its 250th birthday in 2016. Many famous names have found their feet on the stage at Bristol Old Vic - from David Garrick, Sarah Siddons and Peter O'Toole to Timothy West, Jeremy irons Daniel Day-Lewis, Brian Blessed, Prunella Scales, Patrick Stewart and Judi Dench.

Nearby St George’s Bristol – the city’s Brandon Hill concert hall - relaunches in September as a ‘creative space for music and ideas’ with a bold, contemporary extension. The £6.3 million project adds new café, bar and multi-purpose performance, exhibition and event spaces housed in a striking architect-designed structure that extends the Grade II* listed concert hall.  The extension’s centre-piece is a dramatic glass sculpture designed by internationally celebrated Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram, is due to be unveiled in mid-September, but the season begins on September 6 with two international artists and former ‘BBC Young Musicians of the Year’ Nicola Benedetti and Laura Van Der Heijden, alongside celebrated conductor Alpesh Chauhan, and joined by Bristol Ensemble.

Avon Gorge Hotel by Hotel du Vin Bristol’s latest hotel story is the relaunch of the Avon Gorge Hotel – now part of the Hotel du Vin family. With spectacular views of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, this traditional Victorian hotel has undergone an extensive refurbishment which has transformed the rooms, the restaurant and bar in line with Hotel du Vin’s distinctive brand. The new-look Avon Gorge officially launches in September.


Downs Festival (1 September 2018)

The one-day outdoor music festival on the Downs – Bristol’s area of open downland on the edge of Avon Gorge – has Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Paul Weller in top billing alongside Orbital, Goldie & the Ensemble, Basement Jaxx DJ’s and The Heavy. The evening line-up for the beautiful timber Information Stage also features Bristol’s Soeur, Swimming Girls, Harvey Causon and Liverpool’s Paris Youth Foundation.

Unlock the City: Bristol Open Doors (14-16 September 2018)

Bristol’s Open Doors offers the keys to the city for a weekend with a chance to get inside over 100 landmark buildings and curious spaces, many of which are usually closed to the public. Organised by The Architecture Centre, a registered charity, the weekend offers a mix of drop-in and must-book events including tours, talks, walks and visitor experiences that get under the skin of the city.  Visit the subterranean cellars of Avery’s Wine Merchants (celebrating their 225th anniversary), delve into the workings of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Brunel’s swivel bridge or Light Vessel 55 (an historic wooden light ship), climb the bell tower of St Mary Redcliffe Church or nose around a citizen-led affordable low-carbon home. Some of the more unusual spaces on offer include The Bristol Wing (a hostel in a former police station), a dockside puppet workshop and Avonmouth Asphalt plant.

ENCOUNTERS Festival (25-30 September 2018)

Bristol’s biggest film event – in a city that now has UNESCO City of Film status – Encounters celebrates the art of the short film with entries from all over the world. Last year the film and animation festival attracted a record number of submissions – over 3,000.

Building on the city’s status as a UNESCO City of Film, Encounters 2018 will be partnering with Sydney’s Flickerfest and the Galway Film Fleadh to present a joint programme which sets out to discover the next generation of filmmakers.

Rolling in the ales: Bristol Craft Beer Festival (14-16 September)

At the Ampitheatre on Bristol Harbourside, this annual festival brings together over 35 craft brewers and hundreds of beers, many of them brewed on the doorstep: look out for Arbor, Bristol Beer Factory, Good Chemistry, Left-Handed Giant, Lost & Grounded and Wiper & True – just a few of the inventive micro breweries behind Bristol’s growing reputation as Britain’s first city of beer. Add food, live music and views of Floating Harbour for an epic weekend


The Bristol Hippodrome’s September programme starts (September 1) with The Carpenter’s Story, a musical one-nighter celebrating the stellar career of pop duo, Richard and Karen Carpenter. The season also include the Teletubbies Live and two nights stand up with of Dara O Briain. Bristol Old Vic's autumn season kicks off with the first stage adaptation of Joe Simpson's best-selling memoir Touching the Void, which charts his struggle for survival in the Peruvian Andes and is directed by Tom Morris. The Tobacco Factory presents Henry V by William Shakespeare (12 September - 6 October) in magnificent production of this classic history play.

To discover more about Bristol, please visit

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