Theatre & Dance in Bristol

Bristol is an excellent destination for lovers of theatre, dance and the arts. When it comes to entertainment, there are many places of great interest and cultural diversity in Bristol.

For starters, there’s the historic Bristol Old Vic, one of the city’s premiere theatres which was built in 1766 for the discrete and illegal pleasure of leading lawyers and politicians of the time.

Today, The Bristol Old Vic offers more mainstream fare and modern programmes. But just like in the old days, sometimes you just don’t know what to expect from The Bristol Old Vic. In any case, today’s modern programmes appeal to practically everyone. Even a tour of the backstage, which teems with history, is a delightful experience.

Among the newer theatres, The Bristol Hippodrome at St. Augustine’s Parade is one of the most popular and features many of the biggest touring shows in the region and a great attraction for the whole family. Many of the highly rated show in London’s revered West End transfer directly to The Hippodrome.

For modern plays and shows that showcase the talents of the region’s best writers, the theatres of choice are The Show of Strength Theatre Company and The Tobacco Factory at Bedminster. Established writers such as Amanda Whittington unveil their new plays here and a number of promising new writers have also launched their first works in this venue. For people who are looking for something unique and new, even surprising, The Show of Strength Theatre Company is the perfect destination.

The Attic Fusion Theatre on Burchells Green Road is renowned for hosting many new talents in the theatre world. Its doors are always open to aspiring artists and singers, even to you, should you be so inclined.

Finally, if you enjoy watching youngsters in youth theatre or in summer schools and drama clubs, the Attic Fusion Theatre is just what the doctor ordered. It’s a fabulous place to give your talented child a taste of the theatre.

Meanwhile, for lovers of dance and aspiring dancers, Bristol has something for you, too. Whether you’re the type who wants to hit the stage and put your best foot forward or if you’d rather sit back and enjoy the work of the masters, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Bristol.

At the heart of the dance scene is the Bristol Dance Centre, where opportunities are a-plenty for the talented and strong of heart. Located on Jacobs Wells Road, the Bristol Dance Centre has produced many of today’s leading contemporary dancers. It offers you a wide array of dance courses that cater to beginners, professionals and those who want to learn advanced dancing skills.

The Centre will teach you how to develop confidence in your own choreography. You can study ballet or contemporary dance or simply how to move to the music to stay fit and active. There are also courses on jazz, swing, flamenco and an eclectic range of dances to choose from.

If you want to re-live the glory days of your youth during the 1950s and 1960s, the Elmgrove Centre and its Lindy Hop classes offers you the ideal venue to do so. The place is always filled with the music and dances of your time. For the more experienced duos, an advanced course at Hoppin’ Mad will help tweak your moves and give you some new steps to make you the star of any dance floor.

LeRoc is another fine place to hone your dancing skills, especially for more modern types of dance. LeRoc has established a strong reputation for Bristol and quite a following, especially for its French-inspired dances.

Finally, if you’d rather watch the experts in action, head to the Bristol Hippodrome where you are likely to see dance at its best as performed by the English National Ballet and other dance groups from the West End of London. The Bristol Hippodrome is located on St. Augustine’s Parade.

Now, if your idea of live entertainment has to do more with comedy, then there are four venues in Bristol that you shouldn’t miss. Fittingly, they are known to the locals as the Big Four.

Jester hosts the newest and freshest young comedians around. Located on Cheltenham Road, Jester hosts some startlingly funny stand-up comedians. Its also a great place to dance the night away.

On North Street in Bedminster sits The Comedy Box, the home of some fantastic acts and many Perrier Award winners. The best time to visit is during January to June or just before the cream of the crop packs up and heads to the Edinburgh to do their thing.

The Jongleurs comedy club chain also has a strong presence in Bristol, with the local club located on Baldwin Street. It is no surprise why Jongleurs has such an excellent reputation. Leading comedians such as Graham Norton and Ed Byrne are only two of their star attractions.

Last but certainly not the least is the Comedy Cavern on George Street in Bath. It boasts of some of comedy’s leading lights, including Lee Mack and Junior Simpson. The Cavern’s variety show every Sunday evening is always a big hit.

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