Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and Plush Theatricals have announced that Emma Rice’s critically-acclaimed musical adaptation of Romantics Anonymous (lyrics by Christopher Dimond, music by Michael Kooman) will be performed at Bristol Old Vic, and broadcast live, direct to audience’s homes nationally and globally. The show will be available to stream as a ‘digital tour’ between 22 and 26 September 2020, following the cancellation of its US tour due to Covid-19.
Partner theatres from across the world will sell tickets for different nights of the week. Each night will be tailored to audiences in different parts of the world, and there’ll be a sprinkle of local flavour added before each stream begins.
Partner theatres include Belgrade Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, Bristol Old Vic, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Curve Theatre Leicester, Derby Theatre, Eden Court Highlands, Exeter Northcott, HOME, Lighthouse Poole, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Marlowe Theatre, New Zealand Festival, Norwich Theatre Royal, Oxford Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Storyhouse, The Festival Theatre, The Lowry, The Old Vic (where Wise Children is a company in Residence), Theatr Clwyd, Theatre Royal Bath, Theatre Royal Nottingham, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and York Theatre Royal.
Many of the cast will be reprising their roles with full details to be announced shortly. Following approved sport and film production guidance, the company will each have a Coronavirus test before forming a bubble in Bristol. These rigorous measures mean that they will be able to perform the entire show without social distancing.
Artistic director of Wise Children, Emma Rice today said:
“Whilst nothing will be able to replace the thrill of a night out at the theatre, this live broadcast is going to be as close to that delicious experience as we can possibly make it!
“We are taking the utmost care to protect all of our valued team and, for one week only, we can all experience a live performance again, get lost in a wonderful love story and remember what it was to be socially intimate!”
Artistic director of Bristol Old Vic, Tom Morris added “Theatre has to reinvent itself in order to survive. That’s always true, of course, and one of the great pioneers of theatrical reinvention over the last 20 years has been Emma Rice. And now she’s at it again. A purely live fully streamed full-scale musical for a live audience sitting at home all over the world.”
Bristol Old Vic has also shared further plans for its programme, designed to suit the flexible performance spaces within and outside of the theatre’s foyer.
On 5 and 6 September, the critically-acclaimed HandleBards will land on King Street to perform their unhinged and bonkers, laugh-out-loud version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
From 9-13 September, Bristol Old Vic’s artist development strand BristolFerment will take over the ‘Live at Bristol Old Vic’ programme to present the sharings resulting from its recent call-out “The View From Here”, asking artists and companies to respond to what can be made now and how we might come together with audiences in this new world.
The five artists and companies that will be sharing their works-in-progress as part of this reimagined Ferment Takeover over the course of one week will be Black Women Let Loose; Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Dee Hassan and Ivy Corbin; Pete Yelding and Sura Susso; Pravanya Pillay; and Saikat Ahamed.
Bristol Old Vic’s newest cohort of young theatre-makers, Leave the Light Ensemble, the tenth generation of Made In Bristol, will also present their debut show Buffering… (27-29 August).
The announcement follows the recent launch of ‘Live at Bristol Old Vic’, a series of small-scale performances located within the theatre’s foyer. The nearly sold-out first weekend (20-22 August) features Bristolian artists Vanessa Kisuule, Mark Olver, Patrycja Kujawska and James Gow.