Meghan speaks of importance of theatre opportunities for young people
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited the Old Vic theatre in Bristol, which has recently undergone a £2 million renovation.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex both have a “passion for theatre”, the artistic director of Bristol Old Vic has said.
Harry and Meghan visited the theatre, which was built in 1766, after arriving in the snowy city on Friday morning.
They were escorted into the building by Peaches Golding, the lord lieutenant of Bristol, after meeting well-wishers outside.
Meghan, wearing an Oscar de la Renta dress, shook hands with three-year-old Ocean John – brought to the event by her mother as snow had forced her nursery to close.
Ocean had chosen to wear a name tag reading “Ballerina Ocean”, prompting the couple to ask if that was her full name.
The little girl told Meghan her hands were cold, with the duchess replying: “My hands are cold? Thank you for warming them sweetie.
“Ballerina Ocean, I think you are going to be everyone’s favourite person of the day.”
Ocean’s mother Sally Cordwell, executive director of the theatre, said her daughter kept asking “Where’s the princess?” after meeting Meghan.
“I was a bit worried that she would be running off and shouting, but she could obviously sense the moment,” Ms Cordwell added.
“They were amazing with her – they remembered her name and said goodbye to her.”
After visiting the foyer, the couple climbed the stairs to view examples of theatre sound techniques through the years.
They laughed as a song by rock band Queen was played on one piece of equipment.
Harry, who tried out a wind machine, spoke to students in the sound museum about their passion for theatre.
“This is more than a hobby, isn’t it? It runs in your blood,” he said.
Meghan added that it was good to have a “balance” of learning at school and taking part in creative workshops.
“When you have school, you really appreciate coming here,” she told the students.
“It is really good that you are able to explore all this creativity together.”
The couple stood in the theatre’s dress circle to watch young performers during a workshop.
They received a loud round of applause after coming on stage to meet those taking part.
Vintage sound equipment was used to create noises of wind, rain and thunder, with students chanting lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Meghan told the group she had just been speaking about the importance of theatre opportunities for young people.
“There’s so much emphasis in after-school clubs on sport,” she said.
“Channelling energy that you have into the creative arts and theatre is equally as important.
“Sport isn’t for everyone, just like theatre isn’t for everyone.
“You know there’s a place where you can find community and sort of explore self-discovery and other things you might thinking about.”
At the end of the public part of their visit, Harry and Meghan unveiled a plaque in front of staff, supporters and students.
Tom Morris, the artistic director of the theatre, thanked them for their visit.
“I am really inspired by the passion they have for theatre,” he told the crowd.
As they left the foyer, Meghan spotted three-year-old Ocean and said goodbye to her.
Fosters Event Catering later revealed that they had served lunch to the royal couple.
Our very own Chef Director, @ChefTomGreen cooked for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today @BristolOldVic . It’s not the first time Tom has cooked for royalty either! #RoyalVisitBristol #Bristol #FostersEvents pic.twitter.com/mVdxjV5SC0— Fosters Events (@fosterscatering) February 1, 2019
The meal, cooked by chef Tom Green, was served in the theatre’s Foyle Room.
Crowds cheered and waved to the couple as they left the theatre.