Curtain Up For New Tobacco Factory Theatre Seating

Great to see bottom appreciation for the wonderful transformation at The Tobacco Factory Theatre this month…….  fun time had by all with some of the city’s most influential bloggers

Following a six month public appeal, Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre is delighted to announce that its new auditorium seating is now fully installed and ready for use by the public. The investment in new seating was undertaken to increase audience capacity, to improve customer comfort and to improve sightlines in the theatre auditorium, whilst retaining the character and flexibility for which the space is known.

Part of an on-going programme of updates and improvements at the much loved hub for classical and contemporary theatre, the generosity of business and public donations has provided a significant amount of the funding required to install the new seating.

Commenting on the seating appeal, Tobacco Factory Theatre Deputy Director Lauren Scholey, said; “The huge response from the public and local business community in helping us fund the new seating has been staggering! It really is testament to the good-will towards the theatre and what it stands for within the local community and city of Bristol at large. Without this support of our audiences and those across the city we simply wouldn’t have been able to get the new seating.”

 “The reward will hopefully be a much more comfortable seating experience and better view of the action on stage. Designed by Giles Favell who has worked with the Royal Albert Hall amongst others, the seats are deeper and wider with more leg room. Whereas the old seating could be compared to flying with a budget airline, the new seating should hopefully be akin to going first class!”

As a registered charity, the Tobacco Factory Theatre received £122,000 towards the new seating from the Arts Council England, a £30,000 award from BIFFA, £10,000 from Bristol City Council and £10,000 from Southall Trust. However the rest of the £138,000 came from 350 members of the public who sponsored a seat and business donors, including DAC Beachcroft and 33 who both made significant contributions. A huge thank you to everyone who has donated.

The new seating is part of a series of on-going transformations at the Tobacco Factory Theatre, which has firmly established itself as the centre of the cultural and social revival of South Bristol during the past fifteen years.

In 2008 the Theatre undertook a major renovation to its auditorium ventilation, installing a new air conditioning system which significantly improved the audience experience. In 2009, it expanded its performance space with the acquisition of the Brewery Theatre, which is now part of the Tobacco Factory Theatres group.

Ali Robertson, Tobacco Factory Theatre Director, added: “These on-going improvements and the increased audience capacity will enable us to fulfil some of our ambitions such as producing more of our own work. Not to mention helping us to keep attracting top theatre companies, directors and artists as well as supporting emerging talent locally.

“We believe that the Tobacco Factory Theatre is one of the best studio theatres in the country and will continue to innovate and build our proposition over the coming months and years.”

The Tobacco Factory Theatre invites its first audiences into the newly refurbished theatre this evening, with the internationally acclaimed Bristol Festival of Puppetry kicking off an impressive Autumn Season.

Images can be downloaded here: (please note the photo credit: Farrows Creative)



The Tobacco Factory Theatre is a dynamic, innovative and popular theatre located at the heart of one of the fastest growing areas in Bristol. It is a hub of creation, development and learning, which produces and presents a diverse and exciting programme across its two main performance spaces, the Tobacco Factory Theatre and the Brewery Theatre. The programme includes classic and contemporary theatre, comedy, dance, puppetry, film, opera, music and family shows. Last year over 100,000 people came through the theatre doors and the theatre is regularly attracting national critical acclaim.


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