Weekly Workshops Sunday fun.


Weekly Workshops

Key Information
  • School Year Groups

    3 to 13

We’re extremely excited to announce that we will be running all youth courses online via zoom this term, meaning we can continue to create wonderful characters, scenes and stories together in total safety. 

The runaway success of the online summer youth workshops showed us without doubt that we can make this term fantastically fun as well as creatively challenging, and that we will be able to foster the collaborative and accepting environment which has become our calling card over the past 10+ years.

We do regret that in person youth courses won’t be possible in 2020, but we will be monitoring the situation over the coming term and will reinstate them as soon as we feel we can deliver them safely, effectively and joyfully again. In the meantime, we are thrilled to be able to embrace all the amazing possibilities online and remote collaboration in the arts brings and we hope you will join us on this unprecedented journey…

All details to be announced in the coming days.

Youth Theatre Group

Short courses for children in school year group 3 to 13 interested in drama and acting.

ACTiv8 is the youth theatre group of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (BOVTS).

Our weekly workshops are led by DBS-cleared BOVTS actors and directors at the height of their training and are tailored to the ages, interests and abilities of each group. Past tutors have gone on to take leading roles in TV, film, and stage productions.

Sessions will cover a range of acting and theatre-making techniques including improvisation, clowning, characterisation, physical and collaborative storytelling, devising and script work.

Whether your aim is to improve your acting or simply to have fun and make friends in a creative and fun environment, we look forward to welcoming you!

Prologue (school years 3 – 6) 

The emphasis here is on exploring the imagination and developing the group’s collective creativity. Through fun games and exercises, groups will learn how to build bold characters, create dynamic scenes, write original stories and invent weird and wonderful worlds together.

ACT 1 – 3 (school years 7 – 13)

ACTs 1-3 will use the games and exercises of professional actors and directors to delve into the stories, characters, contexts and themes of current BOVTS main house productions. Each group will then share their discoveries and creations with an invited audience of friends and family at the end of term.

If you have any queries on either the Sunday Youth Group or the Theatre Skills Weeks, please contact Bianca Bewley at [email protected]

Please note: Bianca is only available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

All communication is made via email so please make sure you check your spam/trash folders as sometimes emails end up there!

Term dates for 2019-20

Autumn Term 2019:

6 October – 15 December (not 3 November)

Spring Term 2020:

12 January – 22 March (not 16 February)

Summer Term 2020:

26 April – 5 July (not 31 May)


Prologue (School year groups 3 to 6):

Group 1: 2.00pm to 3.15pm £115 per term – now full for spring 2020

Group 2 and 3: 3.45pm to 5.00pm £115 per term – now full for spring 2020

ACT I (School year groups 7 & 8) 2.00pm to 5.00pm £195 per term – now full for spring 2020

ACT II (School year groups 9 & 10) 2.00pm to 5.00pm £195 per term – now full for spring 2020

ACT III (School year groups 11 – 13) 2.00pm to 5.00pm £195 per term – some places remaining

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds for places unless we have a waiting list for that particular class and are able to resell the place.


Bursaries are available

The school has some full and partial bursaries which are available to support young people from Bristol to participate in its youth groups and short courses.

Although all applications for bursary places will be considered, priority will be given to individuals experiencing financial hardship (evidence may be required), disabled applicants and applicants from  BAME communities, rural areas, inner city areas and other underrepresented groups.

Funding will be allocated on a case by case basis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Whether your aim is to improve your acting skills or simply to have fun and make friends, you will receive a warm welcome at BOVTS!

We hope the below will answer any questions you may have. If not, please feel free to get in touch!

 Is it for me?

We are proud of our inclusive approach to actor training and we only ask that all members are able to work together in a mutually respectful and supportive way. No audition is required and we welcome applicants of all abilities.

Our way of working is largely improvisation and devising based, and can be high energy and physically demanding. If you have concerns about this just let us know and we will work to make sure workshops include alternate versions of exercises which enable you to participate fully.

All sessions last 3 hours (1.5 hours for Prologue classes) and take place in our professional and fully accessible rehearsal studios at 2-3 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2XF.

Limited on-site parking is available.

What will we do?

You will play games and exercises used by professional actors and directors to explore acting and theatre-making skills. Older groups will use current BOVTS productions as inspiration, while Prologue groups will find their own themes as each term progresses.

Regardless of age, each week you will have the chance to perform in front of your group. This could take the form of performance games and exercises, improvised scenes and stories or a work in progress presentation of something you’ve rehearsed during the session.

Is there a performance at the end of term?

If you are looking for a large-scale public performance these sessions may not be for you. However, each term culminates in an open workshop/ performance where friends and family can see what you’ve been working on throughout the term!

This might include a work-in-progress performance of some devised or scripted work, or may simply run as a regular workshop, providing an insight into some of the exercises and techniques the group have been exploring throughout the term – or it may be a combination of the two!

Why do we play so many games?

We play games because they are the quickest way to get us out of our heads and all the bad acting habits which we keep up there! Your skilful group leader will use games designed to help you express yourself without self-judgement. Practising this helps us all to make more instinctive (and therefore more truthful, exciting, and original) offers – both when acting and when contributing ideas during a devising process.

Will we use script?

Script may be used sometimes, but we usually write/devise our own scenes. Sometimes we use scripted scenes and stories as inspiration for our own original ideas.

If you are uncomfortable using script don’t worry – group leaders are always happy to find other ways for you to be fully involved; just let them know.

Headshot of Head of Performance Design
Working relationships made at BOVTS often extend beyond the course, design commission rates are excellent, it’s fantastic to see the graduates embracing successful and rewarding careers as Performance Designers in a professional environment. Angela Davies, Head of Performance Design