Bristol Old Vic, Kneehigh and Wise Children present

Kneehigh’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
Written by Daniel Jamieson

Directed by Emma Rice; music by Ian Ross; Set and Costume design: Sophia Clist

Lighting design: Malcolm Rippeth; Sound design: Simon Baker;Choreography: Etta Murfitt

Bristol will be going into Tier 3 when lockdown ends on Wednesday, which means there will be no live audience watching Wise Children broadcast Kneehigh’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk from Bristol Old Vic at the end of this week. But, as a gift to audiences still locked down round the country, and due to incredible demand for tickets for the live streams, the three companies today announce an extension to the show’s run. From today, Monday 30 December, the production can purchased in advance and watched at any time from 11 – 18 December 2020.

The production reunites the original cast Marc Antolin (Marc Chagall) and Audrey Brisson (Bella Chagall) with musicians Ian Ross and James Gow, with performances broadcast live to audience’s homes nationally and globally. To buy tickets for the livestreamed digital tour, 3 – 5 December, or to access the show on demand, 11 – 18 December, please visit

Emma Rice said today, “Tickets for the live broadcasts of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk have been selling like hot piroshki, so, with the news that Bristol will be placed in tier 3 after lockdown, we’ve decided to make the show available on-demand for one extra week. It won’t be live (like the broadcasts on 3rd, 4th and 5th Dec) but it does mean you can watch it at whatever time suits you. So, what you might lose in the jeopardy of the live event, you will gain in glorious flexibility and independence! The on-demand shows also deliciously coincide with Hanukkah, so why not take the opportunity to light the candles, snuggle up and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of one of the most famous (and romantic) Jewish artists? I carry this show in my heart and I want as many people as possible to enjoy the moving, healing and hopeful magic of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.”

Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, also commented, “These are mad times for theatre.  But whatever tier they put us in, we are determined to entertain Bristol this Christmas. So we’re delighted to announce this new release of the on-demand edition of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.   And don’t worry, live audiences will be back at Bristol Old Vic as soon as we can legally welcome you.  We are fighting like cats for that, I can assure you!   And in the meantime, what could be more delicious than running yourself a piping hot bath, pouring a Russian cocktail (alcohol free or heady), lighting a candle, and watching The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.”

Mike Shepherd and Carl Grose, Artistic Directors of Kneehigh, added “We’re delighted to be working with Wise Children and Bristol Old Vic to bring this glorious show back to life. We want as many of you as possible to share in this with us, especially at the moment where we’ve had too few opportunities to come together. What a thrill it is to work with Emma again, to help her tell this incredible story, and to offer the live-streamed production for a week (after the shows themselves). Come one, come all, no matter your time-zone, no matter what tier level you’re in! It’s waiting for you. The beautiful Flying Lovers of Vitebsk – a soaring, delicate love letter for our times.”

Perhaps you’ve seen them floating over a Russian village? Or perhaps you’ve seen her toppling forward, arms full of wild flowers, as he arches above her head and steals a kiss.

Meet Marc and Bella Chagall—the flying lovers of Vitebsk! Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella are immortalised as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history.

Implementing a COVID-secure procedure, the company will each have a Coronavirus test before forming a bubble in Bristol. These rigorous measures mean that they will be able to perform the show without social distancing.

Theatres across the UK and USA are selling tickets to their audiences, with partners including Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, York Theatre Royal, Oxford Playhouse, The Lowry, Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, Shoreditch Town Hall, Wilton’s Music Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Spoleto Festival USA, Wallis Annenberg Centre for the Performing Arts and NYU Skirball.

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk was originally produced by Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic.

Daniel Jamieson has worked for Exeter-based Theatre Alibi as an actor, joint artistic director (1995-2000) and writer. His writing credits for the company include FallingHammer and TongsGoucher’s WarCobboCaughtOne in a MillionThe FreezeShelf LifeLittle White LiesThe SwellSea of Faces and Birthday, as well as adapting novels by Charles Dickens, Graham Greene, Michael Morpurgo and Dick King-Smith for the stage. Other theatre credits include A Box of Photographs,  We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Polka Theatre), Where’s the BearWish WashKnitwits and Flathampton (Royal & Derngate).

Marc Antolin plays Marc Chagall. His previous credits for Wise Children include Romantics Anonymous (Shakespeare’s Globe/Bristol Old Vic/digital tour). Other theatre credits include Camelot (Watermill Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Sherman Theatre), Cry Havoc (Park Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors – for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, Into the Woods, Hello Dolly! (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), , Peter Pan (National Theatre), The Trial (Young Vic), Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket/ Chichester Festival Theatre), Amadeus, Singin’ in the Rain, The Music Man (Chichester Festival Theatre), From Here to Eternity (Shaftsbury Theatre), Matilda (RSC/Cambridge Theatre), Billy Liar (UK tour) and Imagine This (New London Theatre). His television credits include Keeping Faith; and for film his credits include London Road and Love Actually.

Audrey Brisson plays Bella Chagall. Her previous theatre credits include Amelie (The Other Palace, Watermill Theatre – for which she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical), PericlesPinocchioElephantom (National Theatre), Dead Dog in a Suitcase & Other Love SongsThe Wild BrideMidnight’s Pumpkin (Kneehigh), La Strada (The Other Palace, UK tour), The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic), and Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre Kingston). Her television credits include Money, and Outlander II; and for films her credits include Hereafter

Emma Rice is the proud and excited Artistic Director of her new company, Wise Children. She adapted and directed Angela Carter’s Wise Children (The Old Vic/UK tour), Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers (Bristol Passenger Shed/UK tour) and Romantics Anonymous (Bristol Old Vic/Digital tour). For the ENO she directed Orpheus in the Underworld. As Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe (2016/18), she directed Romantics AnonymousTwelfth NightA Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales). For the previous 20 years, she worked for Kneehigh as an actor, director and Artistic Director. Her productions for Kneehigh include The Flying Lovers of VitebskTristan & Yseult946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus TipsThe Wild BrideThe Red ShoesThe Wooden FrockThe BacchaeCymbeline (in association with RSC), A Matter of Life and Death (in association with National Theatre), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre), Brief Encounter (in association with David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Productions), Don John (in association with the RSC and Bristol Old Vic), Wah! Wah! Girls (in association with Sadler’s Wells and Theatre Royal Stratford East for World Stages), and Steptoe and Son. Other work includes the West End production of The Umbrellas of CherbourgOedipussy (Spymonkey), The Empress (RSC), and An Audience with Meow Meow (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). She was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre at the 2019 UK Theatre Awards.



Livestreamed digital tour

3 – 5 December 2020

Performance times: 7.30pm (Saturday matinee at 2pm)

Available on demand

11 – 18 December 2020

Captioned and audio-described versions of the production available on demand from 11 – 18 December.