Merchant Venturers pledge £10,000 to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

A bold plan to transform rehearsal facilities and access at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has reached a landmark total of £1 million, following a £10,000 pledge by Bristol’s Merchant Venturers.

One of the UK’s three leading Conservatoire drama schools, the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has an international reputation for training some of the world’s brightest stars for stage, film and television.

Alumni include some of the nation’s best loved actors, including triple Oscar winner, Daniel Day-Lewis, Olivia Colman, Jeremy Irons, Pete Postlethwaite, Greta Scacchi, Patrick Stewart, Tim Pigott-Smith, Brian Blessed, Stephanie Cole and Miranda Richardson, to name just a few.

The £1.5 million plan involves constructing a new link building, that will transform access to the Theatre School, bringing cohesion to the collection of buildings that house it and creating two very impressive additional rehearsal and training spaces.

Paul Rummer, the Principal explains: “Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has been a benchmark of quality in professional training for almost 70-years. Entry is highly competitive with over 1,700 applicants auditioning for our 28 acting places available each year.

“But we must never be complacent and this investment is badly needed to upgrade our facilities. This development will give us the purpose designed space to rehearse main stage productions, with enough room to swing swords and rehearse fight scenes!

“Importantly, it will transform access to the school, making it possible for students and community visitors with mobility disabilities to participate fully in our activities.

“When this project is completed, the Theatre School will have enhanced the quality of training it delivers, be able to continue to attract the very best UK and international talent and have world class facilities for students and the local community”

Anthony Brown, Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers said: “The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is one of Bristol’s cultural jewels, delivering world class training, helping put our city on the map internationally.

“We are delighted to support the Theatre School, whose activities are very much in line with our commitment to contribute towards encouraging excellence in education and support for young people.

“We are very proud of the Theatre School and its achievements and would strongly endorse others to back this wonderful organisation.”

Paul Rummer said: “We are very grateful to the Merchant Venturers. We understand how carefully they assess projects and hope that their endorsement of our plans will encourage many others across the city to support this vital strategy.”

Designed by local architects, The Link project has planning permission and building is set to begin on site in May and to be completed by the end of the year.