Bristol , Bristol BS1 3AU
Bristol has a thriving current and historical arts scene. Some of the modern venues and modern digital production companies have merged with legacy production companies based in old buildings around the city. In 2008 the city was a finalist for the 2008 European Capital of Culture, although the title was awarded to Liverpool.
The Bristol Old Vic, founded in 1946 as an offshoot of The Old Vic in London, occupies the 1766 Theatre Royal (607 seats) on King Street; the 150-seat New Vic (a studio-type theatre), and a foyer and bar in the adjacent Coopers' Hall (built in 1743). The Theatre Royal, a grade I listed building, is the oldest continuously operating theatre in England. The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (which originated in King Street) is a separate company, and theBristol Hippodrome is a 1,951-seat theatre for national touring productions. Other smaller theatres include the Tobacco Factory, QEH, the Redgrave Theatre at Clifton College and the Alma Tavern. Bristol's theatre scene features several companies as well as the Old Vic, including Show of Strength, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Travelling Light. Theatre Bristol is a partnership between the city council, Arts Council England and local residents to develop the city's theatre industry. Several organisations support Bristol theatre; the Residence (an artist-led community) provides office, social and rehearsal space for theatre and performance companies, and Equity has a branch in the city.
The city has many venues for live music, its largest the 2,000-seat Colston Hall named after Edward Colston. Others include the Bristol Academy, The Fleece, The Croft, the Exchange, Fiddlers, the Victoria Rooms, Trinity Centre, St George's Bristol and several pubs, from the jazz-oriented The Old Duke to rock at the Fleece and Firkin and indie bands at the Louisiana. In 2010 PRS for Music called Bristol the UK's most musical city, based on the number of its members born there relative to the city's population. Since the late 1970s Bristol has been home to bands combining punk, funk, dub andpolitical consciousness, and trip hop and Bristol Sound artists such as Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack; the list of bands from Bristol is extensive. The city is a stronghold of drum and bass, with artists such as Roni Size's Mercury Prize-winning Reprazent, as DJ Krust and More Rockers. This music is part of the Bristol urban-culture scene which received international media attention during the 1990s.
The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery houses a collection encompassing natural history, archaeology, local glassware, Chinese ceramics and art. The M Shed museum opened in 2011 on the site of the former Bristol Industrial Museum. Both are operated by Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, which also runs three historic houses—the Tudor Red Lodge, the Georgian House and Blaise Castle House—and Bristol Record Office. The 18th- and 19th-century portrait painter Thomas Lawrence, 19th-century architect Francis Greenway (designer of many of Sydney's first buildings) were born in the city. Thegraffiti artist Banksy is believed to be from Bristol, and many of his works are on display in the city.
The Watershed Media Centre and Arnolfini gallery (both in dockside warehouses) exhibit contemporary art, photography and cinema, and the city's oldest gallery is at the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton. The nomadic Antlers Gallery opened in 2010, moving into empty spaces on Park Street, on Whiteladies Roadand in the Purifier House on Bristol's Harbourside. Stop motion animation films and commercials (produced by Aardman Animations) are made in Bristol.Bristol is home to the regional headquarters of BBC West and the BBC Natural History Unit. Locations in and around Bristol have featured in the BBC's natural-history programmes, including Animal Magic (filmed at Bristol Zoo).
Bristol is the birthplace of 18th-century poets Robert Southey and Thomas Chatterton. Southey (born on Wine Street in 1774) and his friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, married the Fricker sisters from the city. William Wordsworth spent time in Bristol, where Joseph Cottle published Lyrical Ballads in 1798. Comedians from the city include Justin Lee Collins, Lee Evans Russell Howard and writer-comedian Stephen Merchant.
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