The Bristol Hippodrome (grid reference ) is a theatre located in The Centre, Bristol, England, United Kingdom with seating on three levels giving a capacity of 1,951. It frequently features shows from London's West End when they tour the UK, as well as regular visits by Welsh National Opera and an annual pantomime.
Façade of the Bristol Hippodrome
|Address||St Augustine's Parade|
England, United Kingdom
|Owner||Ambassador Theatre Group|
|Bristol Hippodrome website at Ambassador Theatre Group|
The theatre was designed by Frank Matcham for Oswald Stoll, and opened on 16 December 1912. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building. An important feature of the theatre when it opened was a huge water tank at the front of the stage, which could be filled with 100,000 gallons (450,000 litres) of water. Along with the tank was a large protective glass screen which could be raised in order to protect the orchestra and those in the stalls. It also has a dome, which can be opened when necessary; however since air conditioning has been installed it is rarely opened.
The theatre survived World War II, but less than three years after it ended, a fire destroyed the stage, though not the auditorium. The theatre reopened about 10 months later.
The theatre plays host to many top shows, such as Miss Saigon, Cats, Les Misérables, Blood Brothers and Of Mice and Men. This is due to the size of its stage, which is one of the largest outside London. In addition to large musicals it is also a venue for comedians such as Russell Howard, Frankie Boyle, Ricky Tomlinson and Lee Mack, as well as children's shows such as Winnie the Pooh Live. The Bristol Hippodrome has strong links with many shows that frequently appear there, such as the Welsh National Opera.
In 2012, the theatre celebrated its centenary with a show called Thanks for the Memories, staged by amateur groups Bristol Light Opera Club and Bristol Musical Youth Productions.
The theatre has staged a number of premieres including:
- British premiere of Guys and Dolls in 1953
- European premiere The Music Man in 1961
- European premiere of Sail Away in 1962
- British premiere of Jeeves in 1975
- World premiere of Windy City in 1982
- World premiere of The Nutcracker by the English National Ballet in 2002
- World premiere of Mary Poppins in 2004