Good news for students as the Old Vic Theatre School and Bristol Old Vic adopt a more integrated model

Photo of Emily May Smith © PHOTO Graham Burke

A historic relationship between Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has been reignited by the return of an annual graduate prize. The Patrons’ Prize will award two graduates with six month contracts at the Bristol Old Vic company. The Theatre School has a long history of feeding graduates into the Old Vic: the Chesterton Award was set up in the 1980s to place graduates there, but it was abandoned in the mid 1990s due to lack of funding and no formal partnership has been in place since. The first recipients of the new prize, Isaac Stanmore and Emily May Smith, will perform in three productions this season. The theatre and the school plan to work more closely in the future. Artistic Director Tom Morris and Theatre School Principal Paul Rummer said, in a joint statement: “We will be collaborating more closely on productions and co-productions, inviting our directors to explore staging ideas and developing scripts in student workshops, evolving elements of the curriculum in relation to the practice we are discovering in the shows we make, creating work placements for students in every discipline… we detect that a tide is turning in other theatres and drama schools to look again at the value of this integrated model.”