Centre Stage takes visitors on a magical journey to explore the story of theatre in Bristol, turning the spotlight on those working within the wings and behind the scenes as well as the famous names on stage.

This enchanting family-friendly exhibition includes life-size sets and props from the Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins (designed by ex-Bristol Old Vic Theatre School student Bob Crowley), which had its world premiere in Bristol in 2004. Alongside these magical treats will sit spectacular costumes and designs by Maria Bjornson and the gothic candelabra from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera produced by Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Theatre Company.

Taking a walk down memory lane, the exhibition also includes a large selection of intimate production photographs taken by Derek Balmer PPRWA and Desmond Tripp, chronicling many of the famous faces that have trodden the boards at Bristol Old Vic over a forty year period including Pete Postlethwaite, Peter O’Toole, Jane Asher, Annette Crosbie, Christopher Harris and Daniel Day-Lewis.

An immersive new artwork by Judith Aston and Sara Easby (supported by the Centre for Moving Image Research, UWE, and Bristol Old Vic) will create a ‘theatre within a theatre’ providing visitors with a glimpse into the captivating relationship between audience and performer, whilst reproductions of costumes accompanied by lovingly detailed designs and the intricate detail of 19th century ‘Tinsel’ prints add to the magic. Focusing on craft and creativity, Centre Stage opens the doors on the enchanting world of theatre, transforming design into art and art into theatre.

Admission to this exhibition is free for everyone - a great outing for all the family this Christmas and New Year.

As the inaugural event in Bristol’s 2016 celebrations of 800 years as a mayoral city, Centre Stage also celebrates the 250th anniversary of Bristol Old Vic, 70 years of the Bristol Old Vic Company, 70 years of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 70 years of the Theatre Club and 65 years of the University of Bristol Theatre Collection. As well as family events throughout this free exhibition please join us on the 23 and 24 January 2016 to celebrate the start of the Bristol 800 celebrations.

This exhibition has been produced in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, and is supported by Bristol 800, Bristol City Council, Bristol Festival of Ideas and Arts Council England.