News, events and schools' information for families across Bristol

Tobacco Factory Theatres is delighted (and somewhat emotional!) to share the news that, more than a year after it closed its doors in March 2020, it will be reopening on Thursday 20 May 2021. Much of the new programme is on sale now with more to come in the next few weeks.

The re-opening programme includes The Place at the Bridge from Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol School of Acting students’s Caresses and stand-up comedian and internet sensation Michael Spicer. The theatre will also be continuing its highly successful Artist Masterclass programme, started during lockdown, with a workshop from acclaimed director David Mercatali.

From its Get Involved programme, young people can enjoy the return of hugely popular Young Theatre Makers sessions and Summer Schools, and for adults the Factory Singers are back and there are new acting classes in Acting Lab.

Further upcoming productions to light up your summer include Florence Espeut-Nickless with D.E.S.T.I.N.Y., a blistering one woman show developed with support from Tobacco Factory Theatres; renowned music and storytelling group The Devil’s Violin with their brand new show The Beast in Me; and Kneehigh performer Bec Applebee with Oh Mary – the incredible tale of Cornish legend Mary Bryant.

Modifications have been made to the spaces at Tobacco Factory Theatres and the way the theatre works, to ensure audiences who choose to return in person have an experience that is safe and reassuring, but also exciting, enjoyable and atmospheric. And for audiences who cannot return in person just yet, the theatre is continuing to develop alternative ways to share great performances.

On Thu 20 – Sat 22 May, students from the BA Acting for Stage and Screen Foundation Year at boomsatsuma’s Bristol School of Acting will lead the re-opening of Tobacco Factory Theatres with their production of Sergei Belbel’s Caresses – a play in which emotional fragility, passion and danger make for a compelling and dark social satire.

Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (stf) will open the professional programme at Tobacco Factory Theatres on Wed 26 – Fri 28 May with A Place from the Bridge, an inspired new adaptation of Shakespeare’s sonnets, exploring our relationship to the city and each other through the stories of five contemporary characters. Audiences can watch the production in person from 26 – 28 May and the two performances on 27 & 28 May will also be streamed live for audiences at home, with captioning available.

Opportunities for Artists

At the start of 2021, Tobacco Factory Theatres renewed its aim to support local artists in new and varied ways and started a Masterclasses Programme, designed for South West-based professional artists and led by a range of inspiring practitioners. Until now held on Zoom, on Fri 28 May, the first in person masterclass will take place in the Spielman Theatre as director David Mercatali (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Blue Heart) leads a workshop exploring acting for new writing.

Over the summer months, Tobacco Factory Theatres’ Get Involved programme returns with in person activities for both young people and adults.

For young people aged between 5 and 19, Young Theatre Makers sessions will run on four consecutive weekends in June – July and Summer Schools for three age groups return in August. For adults, the Factory Singers community choir will be back rehearsing in the Factory Theatre from May and new acting classes for adults launch from June in Acting Lab.

Many of the shows, artist masterclasses and Get Involved activities in the upcoming programme are offered on a Pay What You Choose basis. This allows Tobacco Factory Theatres to keep prices as low as possible but welcomes contributions from those who can spend a little more to support the theatre and the incredible artists and companies involved.

Finally, Tobacco Factory Theatres is delighted to announce that Michael Spicer will bring his The Room Next Door Tour to Bristol on Sun 21 November. This is a brilliant opportunity to see the creator of internet sensation The Room Next Door finally leave his room behind and walk out onto the live stage.

For full details of the programme that will re-open Tobacco Factory Theatres from May 2021, visit