One of the most prestigious provincial theatres in the country, the Bristol Hippodrome provides a family-friendly atmosphere and offers the best in opera, ballet, concerts and of course, shows for children. Open all year long, the Hippodrome caters to everyone’s tastes and offers the world’s most exciting shows.
The History of Bristol Hippodrome
Designed by Frank Matcham, the Bristol Hippodrome has been a local icon since it first opened its doors in 1912. Opening day, December 16th, proved to be a wondrous occasion. Guests were amazed by the giant water tank, the retracting dome and of course, the performers taking stage.
The theatre has been popular ever since, but it did have a 10 month closing shortly after World War II ended. A fire quickly spread on the stage and would cause a major rebuild to take place. Thankfully, the theatre has not had any other disasters of this magnitude ever since.
Musicals have been a staple in the theatre since it has opened thanks to its large stage. Aside from London, most theatres do not have a stage of this magnitude. This allows the Hippodrome to provide the utmost in performances to their guests. Shows ranging from Of Mice and Men to Winnie the Pooh are able to be performed at the theatre.
Comedy shows are also a big draw with many big names, such as Frankie Boyle, taking stage.
Through the theatres 100+ year history, thousands of shows have taken place. While all shows are said to be exceptional, there have been British, European and World Premieres of some of the biggest shows in the world taking place right in the theatre. Some of the most memorable premieres are as follows:
Guys and Dolls (1953)
The Music Man (1961)
Sail Away (1962)
The Nutcracker (2002)
Mary Poppins (2004)
The theatre was also highly touted for their premiere of Jeeves in 1975 and Windy City in 1982.
The Modern Day Venue
The venue today is just as prestigious and beautiful as it has ever been. With only a 10 month interruption in service seen, the venue has produced amazing shows that are unforgettable. The auditorium is broken down into the following areas:
The stalls are on the ground floor and consist of seating closest to the stage. There are many amenities seen in all three seating tiers, including the following:
Exceptional sound quality
Ample leg room
Bench style seating, with no arm rests, are seen in the Upper Circle. Guests should note that there is not a lift to bring patrons above the ground floor. In this case, a person may need to navigate 100+ steps to reach their seats when sitting in the Upper Circle.
There are boxes available for a more comfortable, intimate viewing experience. Boxes can hold 2 – 4 people and will need to be booked by telephone or in-person.
Large group bookings, consisting of 10 or more patrons, will be eligible for a group discount offered by the venue.
While the dome can be opened, it has not be retracted since 2012.
The Bristol Hippodrome has a maximum capacity of 1,951 people.
Before the Show
Arriving early is the optimal choice. The theatre features a Piano Bar, which opens 90 minutes before the show begins. Elegant and luxurious, the Piano Bar offers wines, cocktails, champagne and of course, fresh coffee.
This is the perfect place to sit back and relax before the show.
Location and Directions
The Hippodrome is located at: St. Augustine’s Parade in Bristol.
Directions to get to the venue are as follows:
Signs will be seen for the City Centre and must be followed. Drivers will want to adhere to the following:
M5 North: Take Junction 18 and proceed to A4.
M5 South: Take Junction 15 to M32.
M4: Take Junction 10 to M32.
The above directions will lead to signs for the city centre, which will lead right to the theatre.
Buses and taxis are common in the city centre. Buses 8 and 9 from the Bristol Temple Meads train station will lead right to the venue.
There are a few points to note when coming via a different transportation method:
Bristol Airport is the optimal landing destination for anyone flying into Bristol for a show.
The Bristol Ferry does have service that will drop passengers off right next to the Hippodrome.
The Bristol Hippodrome provides some of the best shows in the world. Offering affordable tickets, group discounts and three tier seating, the venue has an option for every budget. Handicap accommodations can be made, and calling the venue with any handicap-related concerns is recommended.
You can find the address here, get contact details here and take a look at the seating plan here.