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Bristol Old Vic

King Street, Bristol BS1 4DZ

Bristol Old Vic might be one of the UK’s oldest theatres – recent renovations discovered Victorian wallpaper, tickets from 1927 and a cannonball – but it’s anything but tired and boring. Anyone who is unclear about what modern theatre looks like should drop in here: one recent spectacular involved staging the play of Treasure Island in a pirate ship at the front of the theatre, directly on the street where you can find the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow Inn itself. Its inspirational and ambitious programme attracts toddlers, children, teens and adults – one thing you can be sure of is that you’ll never be bored. They introduce regular new writers and the month-long Mayfest has become a fixture on the modern theatre calendar. As far as cultural institutions in Bristol go, this is 5-star, managing to combine innovation and classic theatre in a remarkably successful way.

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