Bristol Blog blog

Return of the Pirates

The pirates were back in Bristol city centre for the summer, and they had their pirate ship with them.

Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins came to life on the streets as Bristol Old Vic, in King Street, staged a production of Treasure Island in a rather unusual way throughout July and August.

A specially designed open air pirate ship theatre was built outside the theatre for the event, while the theatre itself was being renovated.

Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris said: “While the theatre itself is being refurbished, we thought we’d build our own ‘New Theatre in King Street’ to stage Treasure Island.

“It will be as if a ship had been dragged up the street from the Welsh Back and docked at the front of the building.”

The theatre ship had seats for 500 people and the streets were closed to traffic during show times.

The performance was aimed at audiences aged six and over, and people were invited to turn up in their own pirate costumes.

Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson is said to have based some of his novel on parts of Bristol.

The Harbour area of the city has strong connections with pirates and their legendary tales. Tourists can even take part in tours called The Bristol Pirate Walks.

The walks cover 16th, 17th and 18th century maritime history, including discovery, trade, slavery and piracy. They take tourists to Long John Silver’s treasure chest in the smugglers cave, Treasure Island’s Spy Glass Inn where the press gangs roamed and to Blackbeard’s Lair in the medieval port.

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