Friday, 12 August 2016

Our Summer Newsletter

On May 30th we took part in the Celebrations for Bristol Old Vic’s 250th Birthday. We performed extracts from the last 25 years of Firebird’s work and also three pieces of work in progress on the Main Stage at Bristol Old Vic.

Our patron, Kathryn Hunter, performed alongside us, dancing Steve Knight’s shadow dance from The Nine Lessons of Caliban and performing an extract from Faustus, again one of Steve’s roles. This felt very important to us and we know Steve would have loved Kathryn’s involvement.

Kathryn Hunter rehearsing the extract from Faustus with Brian Davis,
photograph by company member, Sharlie Yea
Also for this performance, Jack Drewry, Ed Goater and Ruby Spencer Pugh provided music and support on stage. Frank Spencer made projections and film especially for this show, which made an amazing and accessible backdrop to the performance.

So, we wish Bristol Old Vic another Happy Birthday and thank them and Kathryn, Jack, Ed, Ruby and Frank for supporting our work in such a wonderful and exciting way.

Thanks also to Sherrie Eugene who interpreted the performance into British Sign Language.

Moving into the Public Hall, Shirehampton 

Moving into the Public Hall, Shirehampton, Photograph by Penny Goater

At the beginning of June, we moved into the Public Hall in Shirehampton whilst the demolition and renovation work is going on at the Bristol Old Vic.

We thank Amanda at the Public Hall for being so welcoming to Firebird. It is a lovely big space and although we miss being at the Old Vic very much, we are very happy to have found the Public Hall. 

The new work 

Prior to the performance on the 30th May, Kathryn Hunter ran a workshop for us as well as rehearsing for the Bristol Old Vic Celebrations. She worked with us on the three extracts from our new work, which was really helpful. We hope to have more of these sort of sessions with workshops from people like Kathryn.
A selection of photographs from the new work that is being developed,
working title: Firebird is 25, photographs by Ed Goater

We are currently having 'closed' sessions on Mondays so we can focus on structuring the material for the new work, which is going well. When this process has finished we hope we’ll have a draft  script that will form a basis for collaborative work with the artistic team. Members of the artistic team have not been confirmed yet but we hope they will include Ruby Spencer Pugh, set/prop/costume design; Composer/musicians from the Paraorchestra; Frank Spencer, film and projections; Chris Swain, lighting design; Anna Griffiths, stage manager.

Again, we cannot definitely confirm other artistic input but we would like to work with Tristan Sturrock, Kathryn Hunter and others to help us develop the new show.

Other news

New Trustee

We are proud and pleased to welcome Mel Scaffold as a new Trustee for Firebird. Mel is co - director at Theatre Bristol and brings a huge amount of experience and expertise to Firebird.

New film on website

You will see a new film on our website of work in progress performed at Bristol Old Vic on the 30th May. The film was made by Frank Spencer who not only contributed hugely to the performance but also managed to set-up a camera in the auditorium so that we had a record of performing on the Main Stage: big thanks to Frank.

Doing things Differently

Some of us are getting involved in the Choir for Extraordinary Bodies and Diverse City's ‘Doing things Differently’ in Bristol over the weekend of 16 – 18 September. There is a lot happening over the weekend and the performances are free. Please visit  for more details.

Jenny Stafford

Finally, Jenny Stafford has retired from Firebird Theatre after nearly ten years with the Company. We wish her well with all future enterprises and would like to thank her for all she has given Firebird. We have all enjoyed working with Jenny and recognise what she has brought to the Company.


We thank everyone for their constant support – it is very much appreciated. We particularly thank families and supporters who have helped make our move into the Public Hall so easy, supporting us by helping with transport and planning journeys.

We wish you all a good summer and we will be in touch again when we have more news to share.