Bristol Hippodrome

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Bristol Hippodrome
Façade of the Bristol Hippodrome
Address St Augustine's Parade
Coordinates 51°27′11″N 2°35′53″W / 51.4531°N 2.5981°W / 51.4531; -2.5981Coordinates: 51°27′11″N 2°35′53″W / 51.4531°N 2.5981°W / 51.4531; -2.5981
Owner Ambassador Theatre Group
Designation Grade II
Type Provincial
Capacity 1,951
Opened 1912
Architect Frank Matcham
Bristol Hippodrome website at Ambassador Theatre Group

The Bristol Hippodrome (grid reference ST590729) is a theatre located in The Centre, Bristol, England, with seating on three levels giving a capacity of 1,951. It frequently features West End theatre shows when they tour the UK, as well as regular visits by Welsh National Opera and an annual pantomime.


The theatre was designed by Frank Matcham for Oswald Stoll, and opened on 16 December 1912. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building.[1] An important feature of the theatre when it opened was a huge water tank at the front of the stage, which could be filled with 100,000 gallons (450,000 litres) of water. Along with the tank was a large protective glass screen which could be raised in order to protect the orchestra and those in the stalls. It also has a dome, which can be opened when necessary; however since air conditioning has been installed it is rarely opened.

The theatre survived World War II, but less than three years after it ended, a fire destroyed the stage, though not the auditorium. The theatre reopened about 10 months later, and there have been no other disasters as severe.

American musician Eddie Cochran played his final show here, in 1960, and was killed in a road accident only hours later, in Chippenham, Wiltshire.

The theatre plays host to many top shows, such as Miss Saigon, Cats, Les Misérables, Blood Brothers and Of Mice and Men. This is due to the size of its stage, which is one of the largest outside London. In addition to large musicals it is also a venue for comedians such as Frankie Boyle, Ricky Tomlinson and Lee Mack, as well as children's shows such as Winnie the Pooh Live. The Bristol Hippodrome has strong links with many shows that frequently appear there, such as the Welsh National Opera.

In 2012, the theatre celebrated its centenary with a show called Thanks for the Memories, staged by amateur groups Bristol Light Opera Club and Bristol Musical Youth Productions.


The theatre has staged a number of premieres including:



  1. ^ "The Hippodrome". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 

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