History

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School was opened in 1946 by Laurence Olivier as a training school for the Bristol Old Vic Company. It initially began its life in one room in a beautiful though cramped building behind the Bristol Old Vic stage door. It was affectionately then known as the ’fruit school’ as it was close to the fruit and vegetable markets, which surrounded the theatre.

In 1954, Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade wrote for the Theatre School, the musical Salad Days. It went on to achieve enormous though totally unexpected success, with extended runs both in the West End and on Broadway. The show gave the Theatre School the much-needed funds to move to bigger premises in Downside Road - the School's current site. The building was officially opened in 1956 by Dame Sybil Thorndike.

Since then the School has welcomed through its doors five Principals, over 1,000 acting students, over 400 technical students, 22 trainee directors and over 150 guest tutors. Its unique boast is that 100% of students find work where they use their skills in the first year after graduating.

The School is now led by the Principal Paul Rummer.

In 2003 the reputation and work of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School was recognised by the government when it was invited to join a new scheme designed to provide secure funding for students. The Conservatoire of Dance and Drama invited the School along with RADA, the London Contemporary Dance School and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance to be a founder member ensuring the Theatre School can take the most talented students regardless of their own personal financial circumstances.

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Bristol Old Vic Theatre School 1-2 Downside Road, Bristol BS8 2XF
Phone 44 (0)117 973 3535 Fax 44 (0)117 923 9371 Email enquiries@oldvic.ac.uk