Bristol Hippodrome to reopen with world premiere of Disney's Beauty and the Beast

  • Watch Victoria Davies' report

Stewards, directors and actors have been getting ready for the first full capacity crowd at Bristol Hippodrome since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

For almost a month the Bristol theatre will be home to the first leg of the brand new stage show, Beauty and the Beast.

It will be the first performance in the theatre to have all seats available to patrons with no social distancing in place - although face masks are still strongly advised.

Those working on the performance have said that although the story is well known and loved by many - there will be some big changes so there's something new for everyone.

Dancers rehearsing for the new show. Credit: Disney

Courtney Stapleton who plays Belle said: "Beauty and the Beast is one of those Disney shows that I think is underrated, but if you ask around a lot of people say it's their favourite."

Matt West, the show's director and choreographer, said: "All the choreography, all the dance music is completely new.

"The costumes have been reimagined with a bit more of a modern take on it - it's still Belle, but with a modern layer to it.

"The scenery is all new, so it's a brand new production of a show that everyone has loved for many years."

Courtney Stapleton and Emmanuel Kojo rehearsing their roles as Belle and the Beast. Credit: Disney

Getting a show to a Disney standard on stage immediately after a pandemic has been no easy feat, but show runners have said the location for the premiere has made all the difference.

Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical said: "We've got this glorious theatre to be in, the community has been really supportive, we kind of take over the street outside, people are really nice."

The show has been welcomed by everyone from politicians to tourism boards, as the region begins to fully reopen.

Dancers rehearse for Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Bristol's Hippodrome. Credit: Disney

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: "I am delighted that audiences will finally beable to return to The Bristol Hippodrome from the 25th August.

"Like many businesses, they've faced incredible challenges over the last year and a half but now, finally, the show will go on."

It is hoped the brand new show will also help kick-start the economy in the city's art sector as summer holiday tourism begins winding down.

The show will run at the Hippodrome for almost a month.

Kathryn Davis, Visit West's Director of Tourism said : “We’re thrilled to welcome TheBristol Hippodrome back, and with a world premiere as an opening production, thereopening is even more special.

"The Bristol Hippodrome is a vital part of Bristol’s visitor economy and this is an exciting start of an incredible calendar of events.”