Wild Swimming play at Bristol Old Vic

05th September, 2019

A new play about outdoor Wild Swimming has returned to Bristol Old Vic after a run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The show was created as part of Bristol Old Vic’s development programme, Ferment, and centres on characters Nell and Oscar who meet on a beach in Dorset in the 16th century. They continue to meet at the beach over the course of 400 years.

The play is described as “a kaleidoscopic exploration of cultural progress and an interrogation of gender and privilege”. The outdoor swimming element relates to the idea of freedom and the privileges that men have had throughout history that women were unable to access.

The play’s writer Marek Horn says: “I grew up near where the play is set, and have spent many happy hours in the water off Studland beach. I live in Bristol now so it is more difficult to get in the water… maybe writing the play was a substitute activity!

“Swimming works in the play primarily as a metaphor for liberation and self-expression – I associate open water swimming with a profound sense of freedom, and I wanted the characters to have that relationship too.”

Wild Swimming runs at Bristol Old Vic until 21 September, with tickets available from £13.

Justine Harvey