Sally Wood heading to the Bristol Hippodrome for a Matinee Mingle

Tackling loneliness with a theatre tour for Matinée Minglers arriving by bus

Theatre fans arriving in Bristol by bus are being given the chance of a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the venue which kickstarted the career of Hollywood great Cary Grant.

First West of England has teamed up with The Bristol Hippodrome to support its Matinée Mingle – designed for audiences aged 60 and over, who would normally visit the theatre alone.

The events take place from 1pm on selected dates in the venue’s Piano Bar, and offers theatre fans over 60 years old the chance to meet like-minded people in a dedicated, welcoming social space before enjoying the matinée show.

And for the next two Mingles – Wicked on Wednesday 21 February and Edward Scissorhands on Thursday 7 March - The Bristol Hippodrome is offering free theatre tours to those who arrive by bus.

Sarah Wallbridge, Senior Marketing Manager for First West of England, said: “The Matinée Mingle is such a great opportunity for like-minded theatre lovers over 60 to get together, and it’s really important that we support an initiative which is helping to tackle loneliness.

“With about half of eligible adults, including pensioners and those registered as disabled, owning a concessionary bus pass - giving them free travel - this makes coming to a Matinée Mingle at The Bristol Hippodrome even easier.

“With the special offer of a free theatre tour for those arriving by bus, why not take a trip to Bristol, enjoy the Hippodrome theatre tour, grab a coffee and lunch, sample the delights of Bristol, then back to socialise at the Matinée Mingle, before finally settling in to enjoy the matinée show – what a great day out.”   

The Matinée Mingle was set up by The Bristol Hippodrome before the pandemic as part of a wider loneliness campaign, and is now supported by First West of England.

One of the largest theatre stages in Britain, The Bristol Hippodrome has established itself on the touring circuit for all major musical productions, becoming known as Bristol’s West End Theatre.

Jo Snow, Sales and Development Manager at The Bristol Hippodrome, said: “Here at the Hippodrome, we recognise that venturing out alone can be daunting.  Matinée Mingle is a way of combatting this as it encourages people aged 60 and beyond, who love the theatre or simply want to try it for the first time, to come to The Bristol Hippodrome, meet in a friendly and safe space and share the experience of watching live theatre with others.

“The First partnership with Matinée Mingle is the perfect combination for helping to tackle loneliness in the south west by overcoming that first barrier of just getting out of the house, and we are excited about future Matinée Mingles with them on board.”

Seventy-seven-year-old Sally Wood from Street recently took the service 376 from Street to Bristol to enjoy The Drifters Girl Matinée Mingle. She said: “I had a really lovely time and met some really nice people who I may not have normally chatted to if I’d come to the theatre on my own.

“I have my free concessionary bus pass, so being able to hop on a bus; arrive in Bristol for a bite to eat; grab a drink and enjoy socialising with other theatre fans; and then enjoy a matinée show in time for me to get home and put my feet up is a dream day.”

If you’re aged over 60 and want to join a forthcoming Matinée Mingle call 0117 3023310 or email: Each Matinée Mingle starts at 1pm with the show getting underway at 2.30pm. For those arriving by bus, the theatre tour for Wicked starts at 11.15am and for Edward Scissorhands at 11.30am.

More details about the initiative can be found on the First West of England website.

Notes to editors

PICTURE CAPTION: 77-year-old Sally Wood from Street joined the recent Matinée Mingle at The Bristol Hippodrome which is helping to tackle loneliness among Hippodrome theatre fans