There was an outpouring of dismay on social media yesterday after Bristol theatre Stalwarts Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (STF) announced they would no longer be producing plays.
The company has been producing work by Shakespeare and other classic authors at the South Bristol Tobacco Factory Theatres for 21 years.
As well as an annual programme of events at the venue, the company has grown to undertake annual touring shows both across the UK and internationally.
After being forced to postpone their 2020 production and tour due to the pandemic, the company secured grant funding from two rounds of the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to create in-person and digital work. This included a new production of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and podcast series ‘What would Shakespeare do in a pandemic?’
STF will now be moving to support theatre professionals and aspiring artists through an annual student bursary which will be offered through the Quartet Community Foundation. The Stf’s website and social media accounts will remain running to keep people up-to-date with news on the bursaries.
Stf Chair of Trustees, Kerrie Hunt said: “Over the past 21 years, stf has done far more than merely fulfil its mission to bring great theatre to the public and grow support for the musical and performing arts.
“Stf has supported new talent in Bristol, providing roles for actors, producers, musicians and technicians, which granted them national and international visibility. We are indebted to the talented and dedicated actors, freelancers and management teams with whom we have worked so closely during this time and proud to have helped to foster the next generation of Shakespearian theatre professionals.
“It’s been a pleasure to support the charity as a Trustee for 11 years and to contribute to such innovative, powerful productions of Shakespeare plays. From my first experience of a production with Andrew Hilton’s Richard II to Elizabeth Freestone’s Much Ado About Nothing, our plays have been a joy and a revelation of what can be achieved with clarity, vision and a wonderful ensemble company. The organisation has always brought new talent into the theatre and, whilst it is with a heavy heart that we have taken this decision to bring our touring productions to a close, we are delighted that our new bursary will continue to support actors and creative practitioners in Bristol and its surrounds.”
For more information, visit: https://stf-theatre.org.uk/