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April: What's on in Bristol?

Ava Todd details below all the different artistic events you can get involved in this month in Bristol.

By Ava Todd, First Year, French and Theatre

Comedy, literature, theatre or art, wherever your interests lie, Bristol has everything you need!  Your guide to the most exciting performances, exhibitions and events this April. 


What’s Next? 17th-19th April at the Alma Theatre and Tavern-

With incredible reviews from its UK tour in 2023, What’s Next? comes to the Alma Theatre, an intimate 48-person venue in Clifton. The one-woman play follows the remarkable life of Harriet Quiby - the first American woman to gain a pilot licence. What’s more - the Alma Tavern pub is right below the theatre and has an excellent menu for pre or post theatre dinner, or a lovely atmosphere for a drink.

The Ponds, 29th-30th April at The Wardrobe Theatre-

If you missed the Daily Bread Theatre’s The Ponds run at the Alma Theatre at the beginning of December, you’ll be pleased to know that it is back for another two night run at the Wardrobe theatre at the end of the month! This dark comedy follows the interactions and reactions of five female characters after a man’s body is discovered in the female-only bathing ponds they frequent. This version will be more developed - with changes to the design, writing and the script. Situated around a murder investigation, but not a typical whodunnit - this play focuses on exploring female fantasy and the aftermath when female spaces are disrupted. Having seen it at the Alma, I will be going to watch the re-staging - book tickets fast to ensure you don’t miss it (for the first or second time)!

Hamilton, 30th April-22nd June at the Bristol Hippodrome-

Whether you’re a fan of musicals or not- I cannot recommend this breathtaking show enough. For an exclusive eight-week run, Lin Manuel Miranda’s critically acclaimed, award winning musical Hamilton will be coming to Bristol for the first time ever. Shaq Taylor (Alexander Hamilton) plays alongside Sam Oladeinde (Aaron Burr), who began his career in the original West End cast of this show, in this hit musical that follows the heart-wrenching story of the Founding Fathers. As always with Lin Manuel Miranda’s work, there is nothing about this show that won’t blow you away. Whether it’s the slickness of the staging and the choreography, the incredibly clever lyrics that will fester in your brain for months and the overall energy of this piece. This show is definitely not one to miss. 

The Taming of the Shrew, 25th-27th April at Theatre TBC and The Murder of Agnes Blue 22nd-24th April at the Loco Klub 

University of Bristol’s drama societies continue to amaze us with the amount of pieces they produce in such a short period of time! This month, Shaksoc brings us a rendition of The Taming of the Shrew and Spotlights brings us the student-written, devised murder mystery, The Murder of Agnes Blue. The Loco Klub’s underground tunnel stage, which incorporates former ash pits of the original railway station, will certainly add to the already tense atmosphere of a whodunnit. We can’t wait to see what they do with the space!

The Last Show Before We Die, 16th-22nd April at the Weston Theatre, Bristol Old Vic 

Bristol Old Vic’s studio theatre hosts Ell Potter and Mary Higgins in their self-written play about life’s existential questions - whatever they may be. We hear a mash-up of audio and original interviews of a 93-year-old, a former addict, a grief counsellor, a climate activist and a midwife - but one of them is already dead... The play, described by Broadway World as both ‘bonkers and deeply moving’, may not leave you walking out the theatre overjoyed, but it will definitely spark conversation. 

Mr Toad’s Magical Menagerie, 20th-21st April at the Loco Klub-

On a very much lighter note, the Loco Klub - or rather, I should say, Mr Toad is hosting a very unique night of fun. Including a Freak Show Cabaret with world renowned Sword Swallower, burlesque and fire acts and a fortune telling puppet, I’m sure there won’t be a dull moment on this night out. From 10pm until 3am, get dressed up, get drinking, and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of the Wind in the Willows. 

National Theatre Live: The Motive and the Cue, 2nd April at Vue Bristol, Cribbs Causeway  

If comfier seats and a bucket of popcorn are more your style, don’t worry - one of (London’s) National Theatre’s incredible plays are coming to screens near you. The Motive and the Cue, starring Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton and Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud in the tumultuous rehearsal period that was their 1964 production of Hamlet. In this production, we are given not one but two plays, seeing extracts of Hamlet amidst the fierce and funny politics that practicing it entails. Having seen the live show at the Noel Coward last month, and having barely stopped talking about it since, I would advise to get yourselves down to Cribbs Causeway on the 2nd April!


Bristol Women's Literature Festival presents: the Future of Women's Writing, 23rd April 7pm at Waterstones, Bristol - Galleries

Award-winning non-fiction and fiction writers Jessica Au, Noreen Masud, Sian Norris and Olivia Sudjic will host the final event of the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival. Come along to hear them discuss their writing influences, their perspectives on literature and together explore the intersectionality that exists within the literary world and the future of women’s writing.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 - Exhibition ends 23rd April at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery 

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery presents the wonderful Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition for the fifty-ninth time this year. Come along and see the 100 best photographs (out of almost 50,000 entries) alongside the breathtaking natural science collections of the museum! Entries are from a range of ages and a total of 95 different countries and are presented alongside a range of different mediums: soundscapes, videos, expert insights. This phenomenal exhibition has been on since October, but if you haven’t managed to go and see it, you only have until the 23rd April!

These Mad Hybrids: John Hoyland and Contemporary Sculpture, 3rd February – 12th May RWA

Inspired by a group of John Hoyland’s abstract ceramic sculptures named his “mad little hybrids”, which haven’t been on display since 1994, this exhibition features a combination of his unique sculptures, as well as his paintings. There will also be an assembly of (equally playful) contemporary sculptures by artists including Phyllifa Barlow and Hew Locke. 

Young In Hong: Five Acts, 5th February-3rd May at Spike Island

Inspired by the 11th-century cloth, the Bayeux Tapestry (which depicted events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066), this exhibition’s focal point is a forty-metre long embroidered tapestry that depicts women’s labour protests in Korea over the last century. Through photographic archives, Young In Hong exhibits the lesser-known stories of Korean female labour and their struggles for better working conditions and fair pay. Make sure to check the website as on certain days of the exhibition’s run, there will be a series of live performances, in which, through movement and sound, five performers will interact with the sculptures and respond to the historical events within the embroidery.

Featured Image: Nathan Riley from Unsplash

What artistic events are you attending in Bristol during April?