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Bristol Old Vic speaks at our 'Cultural Cities' forum in September

Above: Bristol Old Vic CEO, Charlotte Geeves (photo by Jon Craig)

Future Cities Forum is delighted to welcome the Bristol Old Vic's current Chief Executive Officer, Charlotte Geeves, to our 'Cultural Cities' forum to be held this month at the V&A Museum, South Kensington, London.

Charlotte was appointed to her position to carry the theatre's business into a new era in 2018, with the completion of its multi-million-pound redevelopment and reinvention as a destination venue.

Geeves is an experienced CEO with a deep knowledge of producing theatre and a passion for the cultural strength of Bristol. She began her career in stage management, rising to the role of Company Manager for both The Young Vic under David Lan and Shakespeare’s Globe under Dominic Dromgoole. From there she developed her producing skills working as Project Manager for Alistair Spalding at Sadler’s Wells and then as General Manager at Salisbury International Arts Festival before working as Festivals Manager for Wildscreen in Bristol. This provided the platform for her move to Henley Festival in 2014. During her five years as CEO of Henley Festival, Charlotte has transformed the scale, financial success and media impact of a unique Arts institution. She grew turnover by 35%, sponsorship and individual giving by 30%, and audience size by 40%, as well as developing the artistic programme and cementing the Festival's charitable aims within the business plan.

The Bristol Old Vic owes its origins to businessmen Alexander Edgar and Thomas Symons when in 1764 they proposed building a new theatre on the land between Baldwin Street and the back of Coopers’ Hall in King Street in Bristol. The estimated cost was £2,000 to be split between 40 subscribers, but the building works cost more than expected. An additional 10 subscribers donated funds in 1766. This group of investors are known as the ‘Proprietors’. Owning shares allowed them to influence decisions about the Theatre, such as who should manage it and whether they should be given money for repairs.

The heritage of the building is preserved in documents for the public to read, a new feature, enabled with Heritage Lottery Funds of the 2018 two-year redevelopment, which transformed the front of house space and created a new studio theatre. The redevelopment celebrates and protects the Grade 1 listed Coopers' Hall, returning its internal configuration to Georgian origins.

Following the world’s leading sustainability assessment methods for master planning projects and buildings (BREEAM), the project team for the Bristol Old Vic developed a building which reflects the values of higher performing assets within construction.


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