Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (SATTF) is an unsubsidised theatre company producing large-cast professional Shakespeare, as well as works by other authors, in the intimate in-the-round space of Bristol’s most exciting studio theatre. The company's national reputation was established by its very first season of King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in, 2000.
Each spring, from early February to May, SATTF offers a Shakespeare double bill, occasionally mixing in works by other authors. SATTF's productions regularly sell-out attracting in excess of 20,000 people annually, with audiences travelling from throughout the U.K. and beyond.
The company's nationally and internationally acclaimed Bristol productions have transferred to theatres in London, the South West and Ireland. SATTF co-produced two widely admired productions with the Bristol Old Vic, Uncle Vanya 2009, and The Misanthrope 2010 and in 2012 its production of The Cherry Orchard transferred to The Rose Theatre, Kingston.
SATTF also offers valuable and increasingly rare opportunities for young artists to develop their careers through its Graduate and Apprentice Actor Schemes. Graduate and Apprentice Actors are offered the chance to work professionally with a large ensemble cast and learn from a collective wealth of experience.
Additionally, SATTF works closely with local schools and colleges as part of a strong Educational Outreach programme to enable young people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds to access theatre and gain valuable skills for life. The company endeavours to run its Saturday Morning Workshops at an overall subsidised rate and offer free places to talented young people (where possible) who would otherwise be unable to attend.
Some REVIEWS from October 2009 - October 2011
"Andrew Hilton's production is a revelation. This early play is more than a comedy…Unmissable.” *****
John Peter, The Comedy of Errors, The Sunday Times 3rd Apr 2011
“As ever with this tremendous company, Shakespeare's language is given top billing. Lines that get lost in heavy-handed productions shine here, and are given time to unfurl.” ****
Elisabeth Mahoney, The Comedy of Errors, The Guardian 6th April 2011
"Hilton resists the temptation to treat this early work as pure farce. He never forces the laughs, relying on the near-perfect comic timing of his 16-strong cast rather than any descent into slapstick."
Jeremy Brien, The Comedy of Errors, The Stage 31st Mar 2011
"Well, they've done it again....[SATTF] proved how, if done correctly, Shakespeare's work can be moving, hilarious, and accessible to a modern audience."
Natalie Hale, The Comedy of Errors, The Bristol Evening Post 1st Apr 2011
"Richard II goes to the heart of Shakespeare's play, and proves yet again how hard it is to have a bad time at the Tobacco Factory”
Susannah Clapp, Richard II, The Observer 20th Feb 2011
"No gimmicks, just the Bard at his best." ****
Quentin Letts, Richard II, The Daily Mail 17th Feb 2011
“…a flawless piece of company acting.” ****
John Peter - The Misanthrope, The Sunday Times 17th October 2010
"Director Andrew Hilton has shown a rare knack for communicating a story...terrifically watchable and charismatically done."
Elizabeth Mahoney, The Guardian on The Misanthrope at Bristol Old Vic.
“Andrew Hilton wisely gives his actors space to perform”
Nina Caplan, The Independent on The Misanthrope at Bristol Old Vic.
“Simon Armstrong, an outstanding Vanya in the companies previous joint venture, is at his forceful best handling Alceste’s ridiculous farrago of righteous anger, honesty and foolish idealism.”
Jeremy Brien, The Stage on The Misanthrope at Bristol Old Vic.
"...this is an outstanding production, polished, confident and witty, and it deserves to be a sell-out."
Helen Reid, Bristol Evening Post on The Misanthrope at Bristol Old Vic.
"Blissfully funny, exquisitely detailed and sexy in a sinister way. Great show"
The Guardian's Lyn Gardner speaking about A Midsummer Night's Dream on Twitter.
"The performances are polished, with a tempo like music, and the actors play together with a sense of intimacy, like a chamber orchestra."
John Peter, The Sunday Times on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"Hilton is so attentive to the language, and draws such sprightly invention from his actors"
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
“Shakespeare’s enchanted isle is conjured, in Andrew Hilton’s production, with a simplicity that has become the stylistic hallmark of this miniature theatrical powerhouse.”
Sam Marlowe, The Times on The Tempest.
“We have become so used to Director Andrew Hilton making expert use of the Tobacco Factory space it almost goes without saying that he has done so again in this intelligently staged and presented production of Shakespeare's final enigmatic offering.”
Gerry Parker, The Bristol Evening Post on The Tempest.
"Andrew Hilton has kept the beacon alive in Bristol with forensically clear, pinpoint sharp Shakespeare productions"
Susannah Clapp BBC RADIO 3 on Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic.
"This truly is the most wonderful production”
Jeremy Kingston, The Times on Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic.
"This production is so fresh, so painful, so funny and so alive, that all the stage magic came flooding back.”
Charles Spencer, The Telegraph on Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic.
Chekhov's comedy Uncle Vanya proves that boredom has never been so riveting… Chekhov doesn't get much better than this”
Patrick Marmion, The Daily Mail on Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic
“Andrew Hilton's very funny and utterly merciless Uncle Vanya has all of Hilton's hallmarks of simplicity and clarity, and sits beautifully on the Old Vic stage”
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian on Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic.
“The keynote in Andrew Hilton's incisive production of Uncle Vanya is anger…This must be one of the most confrontational Chekhov productions ever staged.”
Susannah Clapp, The Observer on Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic.
“The spectacle is simultaneously hilarious and pitiful. Boredom, loss, waste and wretchedness are seldom so eloquent and absorbing.”
Georgina Brown, The Mail on Sunday on Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic.