As part of the city-wide sourced Bristol Arts Channel on YouTube, Bristol Old Vic will screen its acclaimed macabre musical THE GRINNING MAN, free to view for one week from 7pm on Friday 26 June 2020.
Based on Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs, The Grinning Man tells the story of Grinpayne, a fairground act with a hideous smile, who is helped by an old man, a lone wolf and a blind girl as he journeys to share his terrible secret with the world. Brought to life by writer Carl Grose, with a score from Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, the production features puppetry from Gyre & Gimble, the original puppeteers of War Horse.
The Grinning Man had its world premiere in 2016 at the Bristol Old Vic, where this 'bootleg film' was captured, and then transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios, where Louis Maskell reprised his role as Grinpayne along with Julian Bleach. The Bristol cast also featured Audrey Brisson as Dea, Gloria Onitiri, Stuart Neal and Glorio Obianyo.
The Bristol Arts Channel brings together venues and artists from across the city to create moments of online togetherness in May and June. Founding partners include Bristol Old Vic, Watershed, Colston Hall, St Pauls Carnival, Trinity, Spike Island, St George’s Bristol, MAYK, Arnolfini, Paraorchestra & Friends and Bristol Museums with support from Bristol & Bath Creative R&D and The Space.
The programme includes streamed performances, live and archived, interactive events, carnivalesque experiments, online galleries and mini-festivals, all curated by Bristol’s cultural organisations to give audiences the pleasure and thrill of going out from the comfort of their own home.
Bristol Old Vic contributions, including The Grinning Man, will feature additional material in order to make the experience closer to ‘going out’ while actually being at home.
Artistic director Tom Morris, who also helmed the production, said:
“Watching theatre on your screen at home is not the same as experiencing a play in a beautiful auditorium with hundreds of others. That is why our ambition for this pilot season is not only to make some of Bristol’s most-loved plays accessible to a wider audience, but also to give people a little taste of the magic they may experience when they step into our theatre on King Street, from arriving at the bar to taking your seat as the lights go down. It’s that transformational feeling of surprise and delight that we want to share and celebrate.”