Slapstick Festival: We haven't come a cropper | Bristol event cancels its 2020 gala, but nothing more

Slapstick Festival: We haven't come a cropper

Bristol event cancels its 2020 gala, but nothing more

Bristol’s Slapstick Festival of vintage comedy has reassured fans that it is going strong, despite cancelling its gala for next year.

Organisers say the only issue is finding a venue big enough for the event, which screens a silent film with an orchestral backing.

Its usual home, Colston Hall, is currently closed for a major refurbishment, and this year’s event was moved to the Bristol Hippodrome – which has no suitable dates for the 2020 event.

The change of venue also explains why this year’s gala – taking place on Sunday with  Marcus Brigstocke introducing Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times – is slightly later than the rest of the festival, which was staged last month.

But in previous years it has always been held at Colston Hall – one of the few local venues able to accommodate both a large screen and full orchestra – and currently closed for a c. The Gala was saved this year by moving it away from the main festival, in January,  and to the Hippodrome but the Hippodrome is unable to provide a suitable date for 2020 and it is not yet certain when Colston Hall will re-open.   

Festival director Chris Daniels said: ‘We’re sad.  Our silent comedy gala is a highpoint in Bristol’s cultural calendar, but we need a big stage to hold a giant screen and 40-piece orchestra and a sizeable auditorium to ensure ticket sales cover the costs. 

‘So with Colston Hall closed and the Hippodrome unavailable we have no option but to pause. The festival will still go ahead in 2020, of course, and we’re very hopeful of bringing the gala back before too long.’

Sunday’s event will also feature live music from the Bristol Ensemble and European Silent Screen Virtuosis as well as shorts starring Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton.  

Published: 8 Feb 2019

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