Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres’ studio will be known as the SPIELMAN THEATRE

Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres has announced that its new studio theatre, planned to open in October 2018, will be named the SPIELMAN THEATRE  following a major gift to the fundraising appeal by The Spielman Charitable Trust. Tobacco Factory Theatres now seeks the generous support of its audiences to help reach its remaining target of £20,000 as building work begins.

The Spielman Charitable Trust has played a significant role in the development of the cultural sector in Bristol over the last 20 years, and this gift will see one of the city’s most iconic venues transform its theatre spaces. The new Spielman Theatre will sit alongside the unchanged Factory Theatre and provide contrasting and complementing programmes of work under one roof. The Spielman Theatre will be a multi-purpose flexible studio theatre that also unlocks potential for increased children’s workshops, artist development and community activity.

The 2018 redevelopment project (for further detail see THE 2018 REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT below) is part of a truly transformational 12 months for Tobacco Factory Theatres. The organisation will present its inaugural Factory Company season from February to May 2018 – when a new resident professional ensemble will work together to create unforgettable new Tobacco Factory Theatres productions of Macbeth and A View From the Bridge.  The doors will be open to the public even wider than ever before; anyone who is curious about theatre can get creatively involved in upcoming productions through the Get Involved, Artist Development and CYP programmes and Tobacco Factory Theatres is expanding its focus more keenly on reaching out to its broader South Bristol communities.


The Spielman Charitable Trust joins a growing list of generous supporters of the redevelopment project to whom Tobacco Factory Theatres is very grateful. They include key local charitable trusts The Nisbet Trust and The Society of Merchant Venturers, and national support from the Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust and S.R & P.H Southall Charitable Trust. Arts Council England endorsed the project with a major grant earlier in the year and DAC Beachcroft lead a number of businesses who are supporting the transformation. Long term theatre supporters Mary and John Prior and Helen and Peter Wilde have also been both generous in their financial support and influential in their patronage of the fundraising campaign. Tobacco Factory Theatres would like to thank its committed group of major donors who have collectively contributed over £250,000 towards the target.


Landlord of the Tobacco Factory building, George Ferguson, has agreed to Gift a 999-year peppercorn rent Leasehold to the whole of the first floor as part of this project, to enable the organisation to flourish well into the future.

“It is wonderful to have the endorsement and support of The Spielman Charitable Trust as a key part of this project. As we look to the future opportunities that the redevelopment offers to Bristol audiences and artists, we are thrilled to name the new theatre after a trust which has made such a contribution to the development of the cultural sector in Bristol.” Sarah Smith, Chair of Trustees, Tobacco Factory Arts Trust

“The Spielman Charitable Trust is delighted to support Tobacco Factory Theatres to deliver this exciting project. Their commitment to expanding their programme for young people and the opportunities that the new theatre unlocks in this regard are outstanding. We look forward with great anticipation to 2018 and the next stage of their journey.” Christopher Moorsom, Chair of Trustees, The Spielman Charitable Trust

“We are overwhelmed by the major contribution that The Spielman Charitable Trust has made to our redevelopment project and are so grateful to the trust for coming on board in such a significant way. We are also indebted to the many other donors – too many to mention by name – who have joined the appeal in order to make this project a reality and complete the vision for Tobacco Factory Theatres in its iconic South Bristol building. The vibrant success story that is Tobacco Factory Theatres is down to the audiences, artists and donors who come together to create such an exciting place of imagination and storytelling. We couldn’t do it without our donors of all sizes, thank you to each and every one of you. ” Lauren Scholey, Executive Director, Tobacco Factory Theatres


In January 2018 Tobacco Factory Theatres will embark on a £1.5million building project to completely transform the current footprint of the first floor of the building. The plans cleverly reconfigure the space to create the following alongside the existing Factory Theatre:

  • A new flexible and multi-purpose 84-seat studio performance space with state of the art retractable seating
  • Refurbished backstage areas to provide three new dressing rooms, kitchen area and technical management/storage
  • Improved and extended front of house and bar spaces to transform the audience experience

The project will begin works in January 2018 with all new spaces open and functioning for a launch in October 2018.

The transformation will have an extraordinary impact on everything that Tobacco Factory Theatres does:

  • It will expand the programme and grow audiences – In the new studio theatre 30,000 more people each year will enjoy over 360 more performances by 50 additional companies. The programme will include daring, innovative and eclectic high profile local, national and international work.
  • It will enable Tobacco Factory Theatres to inspire more local young people – the studio theatre will provide a home for the organisation’s flourishing Children and Young People Programme, allowing an expansion of activities to over 3000 young people each year.
  • It will empower artists – the fully equipped state of the art studio space will provide a dedicated space to support artists to explore, challenge and create brilliant new theatre.
  • It will support the local community – for Tobacco Factory Theatres, its audiences, artists and young people are the reason for its existence. The range of new flexible spaces will allow it to offer more opportunities for everyone to be involved in the life of the organisation through its Get Involved Programme and more.