The Bristol Shakespeare Festival takes place in the city of Bristol every July. Since 2004, the festival has featured performance troupes from all across the U.K. It bills itself as the largest open air festival in all of the United Kingdom that celebrates the famed writer. The festival typically hosts anywhere from seven to 10 full professional productions each year. The city's parks and other green spaces play host to the various productions.
When attending the Bristol Shakespeare Festival, travellers should decide which events they want to see and learn a little about the Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company, the newly launched theatre troupe that provides the main participants for the festival. The group does more than just put on the festival each year. It supports a variety of outreach and educational programmes for the public. A final consideration involves learning when and where shoppers can buy tickets for the festival, either at area locations or online on eBay or other sites. Visitors should also remember to take key items to the festival, including protection for various weather conditions, such as proper clothing, sunscreen, and other items.
Beautiful Bristol, England, with its many green spaces and theatres, is the perfect setting for the plays of one of England's most successful sons, William Shakespeare. Warm in climate, especially in the summer months, Bristol attracts visitors from around the world who want to enjoy the fun that the Bristol Shakespeare Festival brings to the area each year. With a wide selection of restaurants and accommodations, holiday travellers and festival attendees can find everything they need within the city's confines.
Types of Productions
Before attending the Bristol Shakespeare Festival, festival goers should have an idea of the types of productions and performances that are available. This way they can pick the events they most want to attend and plan accordingly. There are many different types of productions and performances that visitors can expect to find when attending the Bristol Shakespeare Festival.
The Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company and a few other theatre companies put on a variety of traditional productions at the festival each year. Past productions have included Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Tempest, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, As You Like It, and many more Shakespeare classics.
These performances take place in the four pubs in the Bristol area known collectively as Shakespeare's Houses. Interactive in their design, the performances encourage audience participation in an attempt to emulate theatre during the days of Shakespeare.
Each year the Bristol Shakespeare Festival and its participants push the boundaries of theatre as it currently stands. This includes adopting new performance types, such as flash mobs with a Shakespeare motif on the streets of Bristol. The overall goal of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company includes promoting abstract and innovative ways of producing Shakespeare in the many indoor and outdoor spaces around the city of Bristol during the festival.
The Bristol Shakespeare Festival also breaks new ground with sometimes controversial retellings of some of the bard's classic tales. Productions like Drag King Richard III put a modern spin on the classics by introducing gender-bending twists and other modernised variations.
Other Offerings of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company
In addition to organising and hosting the festival each year, the Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company also supports various outreach and educational programmes. The company sponsors a variety of workshops and symposiums throughout the calendar year. The goals include sharing the gift of Shakespeare with members of the community who might otherwise not have the opportunity to take part in Shakespeare events. The group also works with other performers, such as comedians, to develop new and innovative approaches to the works of Shakespeare.
The Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company hosts symposiums aimed at encouraging collaboration across genres of theatre, including comedy and other performance mediums. One such project includes the Cock-a-Hoop: Contemporary Shakespeare in Practice, a collaboration between the Bristol Shakespeare Festival and the Department of Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. The symposium focuses on the sharing of ideas, as well as researching and practising performances in relation to Shakespeare in the modern day. This is accomplished by bringing together artists, academics, and students from various disciplines.
The Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company additionally supports various outreach programmes for the local community. The following table details the two most prominent programmes that are available.
For ages 16 to 25
Partner with Harvest Heritage Arts and Media
Learn from and perform with professionals in the field
Work with the Bristol Steiner School
Use British Sign Language in conjunction with visual staging and oral storytelling
For ages 13 to 14
The goal of such programmess includes bringing the works of Shakespeare to individuals and groups who normally would not have access to such materials. The hope is that by exposing younger people to Shakespeare, they can then pass on that interest to drive further generations to want to perform Shakespeare in the future.
The Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company offers workshops for the whole family. One example is the workshop associated with a performance of Macbeth at the Brass Works Theatre. The two-week workshop is for the whole family and includes picnics and other surprises.
A Sample of Festival Events
Each and every year, the Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company stages a variety of events for the enjoyment of Bristol Shakespeare Festival attendees. Festival goers can expect to have a great time at any of the following events.
The Complete Reworks of Shakespeare
Fun and innovative, these interpretations of Shakespeare's works range across a wide variety of different media. Recent reworks include the play Macbeth re-enacted through the use of texting on iPhones and a tango of Hamlet and Ophelia's love affair.
Four interactive performances are held at the four Shakespeare pubs located in Bristol, including Totterdown, Redland, Harbourside, and Temple Meads. Emulating theatre at the time of Shakespeare remains the primary purpose of these audience-participatory events.
The festival also offers performances embracing alternative lifestyles in partnership with We Are: Proud, Bristol's LGBT community organisation. Various locations in Bristol offer performances of Drag King Richard III during the festival. These include the Arnolfini, The Looking Glass, The South Bank, Fringe Cafe/Bar, and Redgrave Theatre.
Working in conjunction with the Bath Comedy Festival, hosted by Bath Spa University's Department of Performing Arts, the Bristol Shakespeare Festival presents Cock-a-Hoop. This interactive event explores the writing of Shakespeare through improvisation and revelry.
Conjuring the epic world of Richard III, this production examines how the humpbacked monster Richard eventually became what we know today. This view of Richard was influenced by sources close to Shakespeare. Set to music, laughter, drama, and wit, this programme appears at both the Redgrave Theatre and Fringe Cafe/Bar.
Where to Buy Tickets
Once you have decided to attend the festival, it is time to determine where to buy tickets. Festival goers can buy tickets for the Bristol Shakespeare Festival from local ticket sellers in advance or on the day of the particular event. They can also purchase tickets online at various Internet sites, including eBay, once tickets become available. Visitors are encouraged to buy tickets early since quantities are limited.
Items to Take to the Festival
When attending any festival, visitors should arrive prepared. It is a good idea to check the weather forecast beforehand and take appropriate clothing and other items, such as an umbrella or sunscreen. Visitors may also want to consider taking sunglasses, hats, portable chairs, and refreshments. Taking some spending money for programs or other festival souvenirs is a great idea, as well.
Buying Shakespeare Festival Tickets and Accessories on eBay
While Bristol Shakespeare Festival tickets are not available year-round, they are available online on eBay during the festival's season. To find tickets on eBay, go to the site and search the marketplace. Begin by typing descriptive words into the search box on any eBay page. The keywords should include the title of the festival. To find related items that you might want to take to the festival, such as clothing, sunglasses, and hats, just type in a word or several words describing the products you need. After viewing the available items, click on the filter options that relate to your needs to narrow down the list. Other resources that eBay offers include a Search Tips page and seller eBay Shops.
When looking through listings for tickets, remember to check the event dates and locations. For accessories, check out the cost, item quality, sizes, colours, and any product details. A convenient Ask a Question link is also available on the seller’s listing page.
The Bristol Shakespeare Festival has become a yearly summer tradition that offers a wide range of activities for both young and old alike. The various theatre companies push the boundaries of what the public generally accepts as Shakespeare, bringing new life to his works through innovative thinking and groundbreaking interpretations of some of his most loved plays. Traditional productions are available, as well.
When not hosting the festival, the Bristol Shakespeare Festival Theatre Company participates in cross-industry symposiums designed to approach the works of William Shakespeare from new directions and sponsors various outreach and educational programmes designed to bring new fans into the fold and keep the legacy of Shakespeare going far into the future. With such dedication to Shakespeare, the Bristol Shakespeare Festival is likely to continue attracting those who find a common interest in the works of William Shakespeare for many years to come.