Support Us

Support Us

In October 2016 Bristol Old Vic Theatre School will be 70!

As one part of our 70th anniversary celebrations we will be re-engaging with our past graduates.

We will be consulting with our family of alumni on a range of activities including;

As we select on talent alone our students are from a range of backgrounds (41% of our current students are in receipt of full maintenance grant –ie household income below £25,000) and sometimes they need a little help with their living expenses. This fund will be used to make payments to students in times of particular financial hardship. These payments to students are usually quite small but with a very big impact!

To make a one off or regular donation and to give a Theatre School student a “Hand Up” contact Amanda Boyd-McLaughlin on amanda.boyd@oldvic.ac.uk.


WE NEED YOUR HELP TO RAISE FUNDS FOR A NEW BURSARY IN THE NAME OF LOUISE PLOWRIGHT

With the support of her family, a new bursary has been created at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in memory of dearly loved and much missed past student, Louise Plowright, whose untimely death from pancreatic cancer was recently announced.

To contribute to this new Bursary Fund please see the information lower down this page.

Louise came to the Theatre School as a mature student; aged twenty-eight she gave up a secure job as a shoe-shop manager in Weston-super-Mare to train as an actor, having been encouraged by friends and colleagues in amateur theatre in Bridgwater where she then lived.

Louise could only afford to train by gaining a further education discretionary grant from Somerset local education authority; she was refused this initially, but with lobbying from Principal Chris Denys, who wrote “Miss Plowright was unanimously considered to be the most uniquely talented young woman we have seen for many years. She was selected for one of only four places from nearly a thousand young actresses who auditioned for us this year. We are all confident that Miss Plowright has an excellent future.” Very true.

In 2016 funding for drama school is very different. Discretionary grants are a thing of the past; the financial challenges that mature students face nowadays are immense. With tuition fees set at £9000 and loans only rarely available for very talented mature students changing career to train as performers or in production, we see many applicants who can only contemplate taking up a place with additional financial backing.

We are so grateful that Louise’s family wish to celebrate her life in such a practical way, by helping others who find themselves in the position that Louise was in back in 1984; an immense talent that needed significant financial support to be able to train for a career in this rewarding but very demanding industry.

The aim is to raise a significant sum, the ambitious target is £250,000, to create a bursary fund for the long term to help students who would otherwise not be able to afford to train. .

Donate Online to the Louise Plowright Bursary Fund

You can donate immediately, online and securely through JustGiving.

If you would prefer to donate by post, please send your donation to Louise Plowright Bursary Fund, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 2 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XF, making your cheque payable to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

THE LINK

Thank you to our many supporters and benefactors who were able to join us on Sunday 18th October for the opening of the Link building

Over £1M was raised from a range of charitable trusts and foundations, companies and individual benefactors to Link our Downside Road buildings together with new teaching and rehearsal spaces and an accessible reception. As well as our sincere thanks, all donors of £1000 or over are now immortalised on our Benefactors’ Board in the new reception and were invited to the opening.

What next?

The new rehearsal spaces have made a real difference to the life of the school not only saving the costs of hiring external rooms but also providing a more appropriate space to train and prepare for our productions.

Building the Link was just the first step in upgrading the facilities and now that the dust has settled the rest of the school is looking particularly dowdy and it’s time to move on to the next stage of our on-going renovation.

Facilities Upgrade

Student Hardship Fund

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students are selected on talent alone and many of our students are from low income families (in 2015 27% of students were from families with an annual household income of less than £25,000). We fundraise to support these students though their training all donations to the Hardship Fund go directly to the students living expenses.

Contact Amanda Boyd-McLaughlin for details amanda.boyd@oldvic.ac.uk

THE LINK

The Theatre School is delighted that its prestigious alumni were supportive of the plans for The Link. Here is what some of them said:

‘The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School stood me, and many of my colleagues, in wonderful stead. The professional training I received there launched my career; the quality of that training continues to this day – it remains at the top of its game. The School attracts and welcomes hugely talented students in acting and production who go on to enjoy enduring stage and screen careers. ‘The best students need the best facilities; the School is now transforming its site by providing fully accessible buildings with two new rehearsal and teaching studios.’ Jeremy Irons The Link Appeal President

‘Over 35 years in the profession – and I owe it all to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.’ Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011)

‘The two year course at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School was invaluable… and I still refer to the notes I took whilst in my acting and voice classes.’ Naomie Harris

‘Choosing to train at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is unquestionably the single most important decision I have ever made.’ Joseph Mawle

Download The Link brochure by clicking here.

Download the donation form and fill it out. Please click here.

For more information on the Link Project, please contact:

Paul Rummer, Principal: paul.rummer@oldvic.ac.uk

Amanda Boyd-McLaughlin - Development and Communications Manager: amanda.boyd@oldvic.ac.uk

Donate Online to the Link Project

You can donate immediately, online and securely through JustGiving.

The Pete Postlethwaite Memorial Scholarship Fund

With the support of Pete’s family, the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has established a scholarship fund to honour his legacy; the fund supports acting students facing financial hardship during their training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

To contribute to this new Scholarship Fund please see the information lower down this page.

Pete trained on the two year acting course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (1970-1972); “Bristol was the only drama school I applied to… two of the best years of my life, I had a fantastic time”.

Pete had been working as a teacher and had resigned his position to take up his place at the School; as a mature student Pete found that his local education authority, Lancashire, wouldn’t fund him, so he had to pay his way himself, taking, amongst other work, a job in a sheet metal factory.

At the time, as is the case now, only limited support was available to less well-off students; Pete received some financial support from the Peter O’Toole Scholarship and the Bristol Evening Post Theatre Merit Award.

His family now wish to establish a scholarship fund to help the many acting students in circumstances similar to those of Pete when he started out.

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is one of the UK’s leading drama schools with an international reputation for excellence; past students are working in all branches of the arts and entertainment industry – many, like Pete Postlethwaite, becoming household names. The training is rigorous and hugely demanding on the individual, with students in class for over 40 hours per week; this allows little time for them to support themselves with paid, part-time work.

Selection for training at the School is based purely on talent; competition for places is fierce. With the help of the Pete Postlethwaite Memorial Scholarship Fund we can ensure that the School continues to train students from all walks of life; talent has no social boundaries.

Donate Online to the Pete Postlethwaite Memorial Scholarship Fund

You can donate immediately, online and securely through JustGiving.

If you would prefer to donate by post, please send your donation to Pete Postlethwaite Fund, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 2 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XF, making your cheque payable to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.


The Sonia Fraser Memorial Scholarship Fund

Sonia "ran away" from her family in London to train at Bristol Old Vic Theatre Drama School as a teenager. 60 years later she was still teaching there and her last day before going into hospital was spent, as always very happily, teaching the next generation of BOVTS students. Sadly Sonia passed away on November 12, 2013.

In accordance with Sonia's wishes a scholarship fund will be set up in her memory at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to assist students with financial hardship.

Sonia enjoyed a 60+ year career in the theatre. After graduating from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, as an actress she worked at the Bristol Old Vic; Birmingham Rep; Nottingham Playhouse; and spent two years as a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company. She was twice a member of the BBC Radio Rep. and appeared on Television in a variety of roles.

Her work as a director began at the Mercury Theatre Colchester, where she ran the Studio Theatre, with an emphasis on contemporary and new writing. She continued to be excited by working with new writing. She has been awarded three Fringe Firsts at the Edinburgh Festival. She was awarded The Green Room Award in Sydney, Australia for “Gertrude Stein and a companion”. “Dickens Women” which she co-wrote and directed with Miriam Margolyes, received an Olivier nomination.

Throughout her career she taught at many drama schools, including Guildhall, LAMDA and Drama Studio London. She very much loved coming back to her "alma mater" Bristol Old Vic Theatre School where she first started her career aged 16 years old.

Donate Online to the Sonia Fraser Memorial Scholarship Fund

You can donate immediately, online and securely through JustGiving.

If you would prefer to donate by post, please send your donation to Sonia Fraser Fund, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 2 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XF, making your cheque payable to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.


The Christopher Cazenove Bursary Fund

The Christopher Cazenove Bursary Fund has been established with the support of Christopher’s family to support students training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School facing short term financial difficulties.

Christopher was a student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School on the two-year acting course (1964-1966). Christopher became a household name through his charismatic performances including, on screen as Ben Carrington in the US series Dynasty, on television in The Regiment and The Duchess of Duke Street, and on stage as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. He died aged 66 in April 2010.

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is one of the UK’s leading drama schools with an international reputation for excellence and is the only Conservatoire level drama school in the South West of England. Past students are working in all branches of the arts and entertainment industry – many, like Christopher Cazenove becoming household names. The training is rigorous and hugely demanding on the individual, with students in class for over 40 hours per week; this allows little time for them to support themselves with paid, part-time work. Selection for training at the School is based purely on talent; competition for places is fierce. Your donation will make an enormous difference to those students facing financial hardship.

Donate Online to the Christopher Cazenove Bursary Fund

You can donate immediately, online and securely through JustGiving.

If you would prefer to donate by post, please send your donation to Christopher Cazenove Fund, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 2 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XF, making your cheque payable to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.


Corporate Sponsorship

Sponsoring a Bristol Old Vic Theatre School show is a positive and unique way for organisations to promote their businesses in Bristol whilst meeting charitable aims around supporting disadvantaged young people, education and the arts.

For further information on how your organisation can become involved please contact Anna Travers on (0117) 973 3535 (ext.239) or anna.travers@oldvic.ac.uk


BOV Theatre Club

The Theatre School is very proud of its long association with the Theatre Club and has enjoyed a close relationship with its members for over sixty years.

The Theatre Club is a membership organisation that champions the work of both the Bristol Old Vic and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, as well as presenting its own programme of events. The Theatre Club is formed of a lively group of enthusiasts who are interested in all aspects of the creative process - from writing to production to performance.

Based at Bristol Old Vic it seeks to promote an understanding and passion for high quality theatre and is particularly keen to promote theatre for and by young people. Theatre Club activities give an insight into various aspects of theatre, whether through talks or discussion about the content, or simply enjoying a trip to the theatre in Bristol or further afield.

Through its close links with the Theatre School it helps publicise productions, awards annual prizes to outstanding students, organises occasional after show parties for student cast and technical crew, and invites BOVTS staff as Coffee Morning guest speakers.

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club is chaired by Fran Havard. Activities with the Theatre School are coordinated with the Theatre Club committee member John Bedford and the Theatre School’s Andrew Stocker.

For more information, please visit: www.bristololdvictheatreclub.org.uk


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Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Ltd, 1-2 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XF
Admin: 0117 973 3535 | Box Office: 0117 973 3955 |

Photos: Craig Fuller, Farrows Creative, Graham Burke, Stewart McPherson.

Registered in England number 02430025 | Registered charity number 900280 | VAT number 520494954

Conservatoire for Dance and drama University of the West of England