Looking for Bristol events, exhibitions and festivals to attend this year? We’ve got it covered with this regularly updated guide. Keep checking back for the latest details.
30 October – 4 November: Force of Nature at Bristol Cathedral
Following the success of the spectacular Space Voyager light and sound show at Bristol Cathedral last year, Luxmuralis returns with Force of Nature from 30 October to 4 November.
The event will consider Fire, Air, Earth and Water’s relationship with religion, mythology and art history in its show-stopping visuals.
We saw Space Voyager and if the new show is only half as good, it will be amazing!
Tickets can be purchased on Yuup here.
The event will include a bar, with nature inspired drinks including the Cathedral’s own bespoke gin, Chapterhouse, by Bristol’s Espensen Spirit.
Bristol Beacon reopens on 30 November 2023
The 156-year-old Bristol Beacon music venue reopens after a five-year refurbishment on 30 November 2023.
There will be new and transformed performance spaces including the 2,000+ capacity Beacon Hall, the 500 capacity Lantern Hall and the 200 capacity Weston Cellars.
The first events taking place in the transformed include:
- 30 November: Trip the Light Fantastic (opening night)
- 2 December: The Housewarming all day festival
- 3 December: Penguin Cafe
- 7 December: Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra
- 13 December: Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Christmas Kitchen Disco
- 15 December: John Robins
- 18 December: The Bootleg Beatles
- 3 February: This Is The Kit
- 4-5 July: Sarah Millican
Interior images of the new Bristol Beacon
New interior images of the transformed Bristol Beacon have been released.
Among the main changes and refurbishments are:
- Upper and lower balcony seating has been installed in Beacon Hall, the main auditorium, with fabric designed by artist Rana Begum.
- The historic Lantern space, which is the new bar area and public atrium, features specially commissioned tiled artwork by Giles Round, who is known for his art on the London Underground.
- Resorted chandeliers from the 1951 main auditorium will be on display in the new restaurant space.
- The cellars below Bristol Beacon have been transformed with a new club style performance space and Bristol Water Sound Studios, state of the art recording and practice rooms focussed on developing young talent and up and coming artists.
- Public art is being installed across the building, including Linda Brothwell’s balustrade.
- A new story wall tells the vivid and diverse history of the venue from artist Mel Northover.
- The Bristol Byzantine frontage has been restored to reveal features and colours not seen for 60 years.
St George’s Bristol
St George’s Bristol, the stunning 580-seat concert hall in a converted Georgian church, celebrates its 200th birthday this year.
- 8 October: Bristol A Capella
- 15 October: Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company
- 18 October: Beethoven 5 by Candlelight
- 21 October: Edible Histories
- 23 October: An Evening with Philippa Perry
- 8 November: Viva Vivaldi by Candlelight
- 16 November: Beverley Craven and Judie Tzuke
- 25 November: Handel’s Messiah – A Soulful Windrush Celebration
- 5 December: Lord Mayor of Bristol’s Carol Concert
- 9 December: The Snowman – Live!
See all events here.
Brilliant concert at the stunning @stgeorgesbris last night with @CarmenVillain @robertamesmusic @MancCamerata combining electronic & classical music.— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in Bristol 🇺🇦 (@LStyleDistrict) November 9, 2022
Such an atmospheric & emotional experience. Some of the tunes felt like a big musical hug. #ad #invite #Bristol #VisitBristol pic.twitter.com/w2SumkF2Oo
Concorde’s 20th anniversary at Aerospace Bristol
Train as a Concorde pilot, experience aerobatic rides, test out supersonic sound and enjoy a bitesize family tour are the activities you can enjoy this October half term at Aerospace Bristol.
They are part of the 20th anniversary celebrations for the iconic supersonic passenger jet’s final touch down in Bristol on 26 November 2003.
There are newly restored cabin displays on board Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, for visitors to watch Concorde climbing to its cruise speed of twice the speed of sound, enabling a flight time from New York to London in under three hours
In addition, the original pilot training panels have been restored by the museum’s conservation volunteer to allow visitors to see first-hand how British Airways pilots were trained to fly Concorde.
The Concorde20 half term activities are on 21 October – 5 November, with anniversary weekend celebrations on 25 – 26 November including Concorde droop nose demonstrations and a special lunch underneath the plane attended by Concorde flight crew, engineers and cabin crew.
Bristol Old Vic
See all the shows at Bristol Old Vic here.
Autumn/winter 2023/24 season at Bristol Old Vic with new artistic director Nancy Medina
Nancy Medina has been appointed as Bristol Old Vic’s new artistic director. Her first season will be a brilliant line-up of shows during the autumn and winter.
We attended an event where Nancy announced the programme and said: “Culture is for all, art is for all, theatre belongs to us all.” We couldn’t agree more!
“We are all culture, we are all art, theatre belongs to us all.” 😍— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in Bristol 🇺🇦 (@LStyleDistrict) April 19, 2023
Brilliant event announcing the first season with @isthedirector as new @BristolOldVic artistic director.
Shows include Arabian Nights this Christmas.
Read the full list: https://t.co/m0Kt0njFwT #Bristol pic.twitter.com/fuQINrHZJI
Nancy also said:
“We will make a theatre which is for our whole community. Not a passive place but one of activism. Not one voice but many. We will ask questions of ourselves and of Bristol. We invite you to come on in to help us make this building sing with possibility.”
Here are the productions to look forward to plus some fabulous artwork by Sarah Tanat-Jones:
Nancy will direct Choir Boy by Academy Award-winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) as her first production for Bristol Old Vic from 12 October –11 November.
The Tony-nominated hit play follows Pharus, a young queer black student, leading the legendary gospel choir at his elite all-boys prep school in America.
“I wrote this play in 2009 as a reminder of how far we’d come, but it serves today, still, as an immediate lament on how very far we have to go, and Nancy’s keen eye for everyday justice and sure hand for intoxicating productions will serve us a powerful gathering around this necessary story.”
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder!
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder! runs from 13–30 September.
It’s an hilarious whodunnit from the Olivier Award-winning team behind Fleabag, which set the Edinburgh Fringe alight in 2022 and is now touring the UK in an expanded new version.
Bristol Old Vic’s Christmas show is always a massive highlight of the year and 2023’s festive extravaganza is a modern re-imagining of Arabian Nights.
In the show, Schere has the quickest wits, greatest courage, and most marvellous stories. She also plans to liberate every young woman in the Kingdom from the greedy and tyrannical King – all through the power of her storytelling. But can she really do this alone? Or will she need to first turn to her annoying younger sister? Bringing the whole Kingdom together, the sisters discover the power in finding their collective voice.
Arabian Nights is written by Sonali Bhattacharyya (Chasing Hares – Young Vic; Two Billion Beats – Orange Tree Theatre) and directed by award-winning Blanche McIntyre whose credits including Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre.
Sonali Bhattacharyya said:
“I’m so excited to be adapting and re-imagining Arabian Nights for BOV! The story places the storyteller Schere herself centre stage, as she tries to take on the despotic king with the power of her imagination. However, she finds there’s more power – and cliffhangers – in working together. Expect swashbuckling adventure, catchy tunes and festive wonder for the whole family.”
Starter For Ten
From 29 February until 30 March is the world premiere of Starter For Ten, adapted from the hilarious novel by best-selling author David Nicholls and the cult 2006 film.
The year is 1985 and Brian is starting his first year at Bristol University, with the aim to fulfil his lifelong dream of competing on University Challenge. This is a hilarious, coming-of-age story about love, belonging and the all-important difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Writer David Nicholls said:
“Nearly 20 years after publication, it’s such a thrill that Brian’s misadventures are being brought to the stage, and by such a brilliant, dynamic team.”
Emma Hall, the show’s co-writer, said:
“To be presenting the world premiere of a Bristol-based story at Bristol Old Vic is sincerely a dream come true. We cannot wait to bring this electrifying mix of general knowledge and anthemic, 80s-inspired music to audiences.”
Cheeky Little Brown
The Weston Studio’s autumn programme begins with cheeky little brown, a major new co-production by Bristol Old Vic and tiata fahodzi, which the threatre said “demonstrates Nancy’s ambition for the Studio to be a space where work can also be given an extended run to reach a wider audience”.
The play, running from 21 September until 14 October, is written by award-winning playwright and performer Nkenna Akunna. It follows Lady, who is in the middle of crashing (and ruining) her best friend Gemma’s birthday party.
Director Chinonyerem Odimba said:
“It is so special for tiata fahodzi and me as an artist, to be returning to Bristol Old Vic with such a brilliantly exciting story so beautifully written by Nkenna Akunna. cheeky little brown is a contemporary story that has heart, humour and a humanity at its very centre. I can’t wait for audiences in Bristol to meet Lady!”
The Colour of Dinosaurs
For October half term from 20 – 28 October, The Weston Studio presents The Colour of Dinosaurs, a rip-roaring prehistoric science pop gig (featuring five musicians and a palaeontologist) that explores, quite literally, the colour of dinosaurs and is made for curious humans of all ages.
Now the recipient of an Unlimited and Polka Theatre Partnership Commission, this production was supported as part of Bristol Old Vic Ferment’s development and commissioning initiative.
The Christmas show in The Weston Studio sees the return of the Olivier Award-winning Little Bulb theatre company (Antarctica; The Night Autumn Turned to Winter) with their latest theatrical love letter to nature.
In Four Seasons, from 1 December –7 January, expect puppetry, dance, and clowning fun as they celebrate the wonder and weirdness of nature and our place in it.
Shows from visiting theatre companies and artists include:
Bacon, from 12 – 16 September, is an award-winning play by Sophie Swithinbank and an unflinching and unexpectedly humorous look at masculinity, sexuality and power, through the dizzying lens of youth.
Project Dictator (30 October – 4 November) is from award-winning theatre company Rhum + Clay. It’s a clown show about totalitarianism, informed and inspired by conversations with international artists living under authoritarian regimes.
On 7 November is the Bristol debut performance of Dugsi Dayz, a new British-Somali play written by Sabrina Ali and an adaptation of 1980s movie The Breakfast Club.
Metamorphosis, adapted by Lemn Sissay from Franz Kafka’s shocking tale of cruelty and kindness, runs from 10–20 January 2024.
Macbeth, directed by Richard Twyman, is on 25 January –10 February 2024.
Black is the Color of my Voice (12–17 Feb 2024), a show inspired by the life of Nina Simone, and featuring many of her most iconic songs performed live.
Tickets for the autumn/winter season go on sale to priority bookers from 10am on Thursday 20 April and on general sale from 10am on 27 April at www.bristololdvic.org.uk
20 – 21 December: Evolution drone light show
Evolution is a visually immersive drone light show, created by Celestial, the light artists behind drone shows including at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool and the New Year’s Eve celebrations in London.
Taking audiences on a mesmerising journey through time and space, the narrated story starts with the Big Bang, the explosive inception of the universe and journeys into the emergence of the sun, our solar system and the planets that inhabit it.
Evolution takes place at Seat Unique Stadium, home to Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, on 20 and 21 December.
Bristol Film Festival
The brilliant Bristol Film Festival is one of our favourite Bristol events. It screens loads of brilliant movies throughout the year in fantastic locations around Bristol including Arnos Vale Cemetary, RWA, Averys Wine Cellars, Bristol Observatory, Bristol Museum and Bristol Improv Theatre.
“Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.”— Dan Martin (@Dan_Martin) June 18, 2022
Fabulous evening with @NinaAllwood at @averyswine for a wine tasting matched with Four Weddings and a Funeral as part of Bristol Film Festival.#Bristol #VisitBristol #FourWeddingsAndAFuneral #HughGrant pic.twitter.com/634iMM6otH
Royal West of England Academy
The fabulous RWA Bristol has reopened after a major £4.1m refurbishment last year. We had a look around and it’s brilliant!
We got a sneak preview of the refurbished @RWABristol which reopens on Monday. It’s sustainable, accessible and inclusive. A must visit! 😍— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in Bristol 🇺🇦 (@LStyleDistrict) May 1, 2022
One new feature is a family activity room. @NinaAllwood can never resist dressing up! 😆
Big thanks @AlisonBevanRWA and team. #Bristol pic.twitter.com/fde6GZyHdY
9 September 2023 – 14 January 2024: 170 Annual Open Exhibition
RWA’s iconic Annual Open Exhibition returns for its 170th year.
The always stunning exhibition features more than 600 works that cover painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, installation and mixed media artworks.
All the works are for sale.
Wake the Tiger
The creators of immersive festival Boomtown Fair have launched Wake The Tiger, the world’s first “Amazement Park”, in St Phillips, Bristol.
The “fantastical experience” has been created by over 100 artists including storytellers, poets, scenic artists, robotics experts, fabricators, costume makers, architects, videographers and prop makers.
The organisers say: “Wake The Tiger invites attendees to step through a portal into the parallel world of ‘Meridia’, where they will enter an old abandoned factory once inhabited by a mysterious community of adventurers staging wild experiments. The other worldly concept has been dreamt up with the aim of inspiring ways to reconnect people with their environment and community.
“With 27 distinct spaces within the experience, the art installations explore themes of connection and innovation, inspiration and discovery. From the underground networks of the Mycelium Room at the factory’s core, to the intergalactic explorations that await near the end of the journey, a world of intrigue and inspiration awaits. Guests travel through illuminated singing ice, underwater worlds, mechanical chambers and elder forests in search of the secrets of the Lost Meridians.”
We have visited and it is absolutely amazing. You HAVE to go and see it! Scroll through some of our pics and videos below.
Bristol Improv Theatre
The brilliant Bristol Improv Theatre has a fantastic line-up of improvised entertainment throughout the year. Shows include:
- First Thursday of every month: Improv Jam & Social
- 14 September: Tales of Adventure
- 16 and 23 September: Interactive Storytelling for Families
See all events here.
Brilliant and absolutely hilarious improvised festive rom-com at Bristol Improv Theatre last night.— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in Bristol 🇺🇦 (@LStyleDistrict) December 24, 2022
It’s a wonderful theatre with lots more improvised performances coming up including a New Year’s Eve party 🎉 🎭
AD | INVITE #Bristol #MerryBristmas @BITheatre @LukeMallison pic.twitter.com/kRCbwRa9Li
28 September – 1 October: Bristol Cocktail Weekend
Bristol Cocktail Weekend will see Bristol bars serve up exclusive signature cocktails for £6 each.
Venues include Milk Thistle, Filthy XIII, Flight Club, Harbour House, Rick’s at The Bristol, Tonight Josephine, The Aperitivo Co, Blame Gloria, Loose Cannon and Bambalan.
Find out more and book tickets here.
Various dates between 30 September and 29 October: Pumpkin Patch at Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park
Grab a wheelbarrow and roam through the massive home grown pumpkin patch to pick your perfect pumpkin.
You can also enjoy refreshment, live entertainment, seasonal fun and games and a funfair.
There are day time and night time events.
13-26 October: FEAR Scream Park
FEAR Scream Park, a captivating multi-sensory immersive Halloween event, returns to Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park with five terrifying scare attractions.
General sale tickets will be available from 4 July, but there will be a flash sale with discounted tickets from 7-8pm on 30 June.