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A thoroughly English autumn at the Old Vic
The Wind in the Willows THIS STORY LAST UPDATED:
20 June 2002 1512 BST

Shakespeare, Shaw and Pinter are helping create a decidedly English feel to drama at the Old Vic this autumn.
Poop, poop all aboard for riverbank fun

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Bristol Old Vic

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As the theatre launches a series of "plays for England" for its autumn season, it appears that the national fervour, created by the Jubilee and World Cup, continues.

The season kicks off with George Bernard Shaw's comedy, Mrs Warren's Profession, followed by Henry IV - Parts one and two, Harold Pinter's play Betrayal and that quintessentially English tale of life on the riverbank, The Wind in the Willows.

The Old Vic's Associate Director, Gareth Machin, was unsure about placing the new line-up under one banner, as, he insisted, each production had been chosen by its merit.

But, there is no disguising the fact that each play has something decidedly English about it.

"This is a season of plays which all tell very different stories about England," admitted Gareth.

"Mrs Warren's Profession is a social comedy about the role of women in Victorian times.

"Betrayal looks at marriage and friendship in middle England.

"The Wind in the Willows is the ultimate Edwardian road move - and, of course, Henry IV, parts one and two, are epic plays about the making of England as it is today."

For the dedicated theatre-goer there's even a couple of chances to see parts one and two in one go, with Henry IV I starting at 2.30pm followed by ii at 8pm!

The season unfolds as follows:

Theatre Royal - Old Vic
King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED
Tel: 0117 987 7877

September 6th - October 5th
Mrs Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw

Isla BlairIsla Blair returns to the Old Vic to play one of George Bernard Shaw's greatest characters. A respectable businesswoman who has made her fortune by running a Europe-wide chain of brothels.

October 11th - November 30th
Henry IV, parts one and two

Gerald MurphyOne of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the theatre in recent years, Shakespeare's sweeping epics come to the Old Vic under the direction of Gareth Machin. Gerald Murphy takes centre stage as Falstaff, leading a company that includes Sean Dingwall as Hotspur and Hornblower star Jamie Bamber as Hal.

December 6th - January 25th
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Director Elwyn Johnson promises that this latest version of Grahame's classic riverside tale will bring mischief and mayhem to the Old Vic.
Stripped back to the basics Johnson says it will give children a chance to let their imaginations run free.

January 31st - March 1st
Betrayal by Harold Pinter

The season concludes with Gareth Machin's revival of Pinter's famous play about a desperate love triangle involving a married couple and their best friend.
Pinter has long associations Bristol with his first play premiering at the city's university and a 1996 return to direct Twelve Angry Men at the Old Vic.

The Old Vic's Basement theatre is taking a break for the autumn season after a very successful spring/summer and is expected to relaunch in the New Year.

Meanwhile the focus for new plays at the Old Vic moves across to the New Vic Studio.

Its season looks like this:

New Vic Studio
King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED
Tel: 0117 987 7877

24th - 28th September
The Joy Society
Inside the dark and dangerous world of the carnival normality is turned upside down.

30th September - 5th October
Beside Picasso
Mick Jaspar and Iain Armstrong star as Pablo Picasso and Jamie Sabartes, his lifelong friend.

7th - 9th October
Infinite Number of Monkeys do Gravity
A fast and furious sketch show with Sir Isaac Newton as its central character.

11th and 12th October
Lovin' a Sorna Gora
A comedy combo of Asian stand-up, sitcom, songs and sketches.

16th October - 9th November
Master Harold.. and the boys

Set in a South Africa torn apart by apartheid this is a uniquely personal account of the life of a 17-year-old boy.

13th - 23rd November
The Knight of the Burning Pestle

Theatre School pupils present a Jacobean theatrical event.

25th - 30th November

The David Mamet play that split audiences around the Globe, with its ideals of free speech and invasive political correctness.

2nd - 7th December

The Volcano Theatre Company offers you a unique opportunity to master some of the most difficult sexual practices known to mankind...

11th December - 11th January
Four Toys in a Tent (a load of country noises and no loud bangs!)

Join Jake and his friends Clown, Giraffe, Peggy and Rabbit for their daftest adventure yet. This is the third specially commissioned children's play in the Toys series and should delight the youngest theatre fans.

20th - 25th January
Instant Wit

The highly acclaimed Instant Wit return to the Old Vic for another bout of comedy improvisation.

"This is a season of plays which all tell very different stories about England."

Gareth Machin, Associate Director, Bristol Old Vic
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