Romantic Anonymous from Bristol Old Vic

BRISTOL Old Vic has announced a series of live events, as well as a week of performances of the enchanting musical Romantics Anonymous, which will be live-streamed to dozens of British theatres and to theatres and festivals around the world.

Following the reopening of the bar and café and the launch of Live at Bristol Old Vic, the country’s oldest theatre has given more details of its autumn programme, designed to suit the flexible performance spaces within and outside of the theatre’s foyer. 

The season includes a live broadcast of Bristol Old Vic associate company Wise Children’s Romantics Anonymous, The HandleBards and new work by Made In Bristol and Bristol Ferment artists. (See the FTR Arts Diary for dates and events).,

Emma Rice’s critically-acclaimed musical adaptation of Romantics Anonymous, which began life as a charming French film, had its world premiere at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s South Bank. It was at Bristol Old Vic shortly before the lockdown, which forced the cancellation of a planned US tour. 

The show will be available to stream as a “digital tour” between Tuesday 22nd and Saturday 26th September, when it will be performed at Bristol Old , following the cancellation of its US tour due to Covid-19, with tickets available here. Theatres from across the world will sell tickets for different nights of the week, each night tailored to audiences in different parts of the world. Partner theatres in our region are Bristol Old Vic, Exeter Northcott, Poole Lighthouse, Theatre Royal Bath, Theatre Royal Plymouth; theatres further afield and around the world, theatres include the Old Vic (where Wise Children is a Company in Residence),  Berkeley Rep, Brighton Dome, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Derby Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, New Zealand Festival, Norwich Theatre Royal, Oxford Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Edinburgh Royal Lyceum, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, The Lowry, Theatr Clwyd, Theatre Royal Nottingham and York Theatre Royal.   

Romantics Anonymous is the story of Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker crippled by social anxiety, and Jean-René, the  shy, nervous boss of a failing chocolate factory. When Angélique takes a job with Jean-René, a fragile love affair unfolds. Members of the theatre company will each have a coronavirus test before forming a bubble in Bristol. These rigorous measures mean that they will be able to perform the entire show without social distancing.   

Emma Rice, Wise Children’s artistic director, who has devoted her life “to the live experience and the collective imagination – things that have proved impossible over the last few months” says that nothing can replace the thrill of a night out at the theatre. But, “this live broadcast is going to be as close to that delicious experience as we can possibly make it! … this will remind us of what it is to share stories, hear music and, if true love has its way, even kiss.”

Tom Morris, artistic director of Bristol Old Vic, says: “Theatre has to reinvent itself in order to survive. That’s always true, of course, and one of the great pioneers of theatrical reinvention over the last 20 years has been Emma Rice. And now she’s at it again. A live fully streamed full-scale musical for a live audience sitting at home all over the world. We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to be hosting the experiment in our beautiful theatre.”