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*Please note, The Wardrobe Ensemble are due to fully emerge in Spring 2017.
The Wardrobe Ensemble are an emerging* group of theatre artists working together to make new plays that dissect the twenty-first century experience. We consist of nine core members, one producer and a constantly growing community of associate artists. We are based in Bristol.
Bristol 24 Hour Plays
The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol
See the Wardrobe Theatre website for full details:
The Wardrobe Ensemble are an emerging group of theatre artists working together to make new plays that dissect the twenty-first century experience. We consist of nine core members, one producer and a constantly growing community of associate artists. We are based in Bristol.
Flashy, rough, silly and serious, we explore the big ideas of our time through intimate human stories and audacious imagery. We are usually energetic, often irreverent and dedicated to finding the place where the intellectual and the emotional collide.
Please click on the menu to the left, to find out more about the company and our associate artists.
Ben is a director, performer and musician. He began working at the Bristol Old Vic whilst studying Philosophy at Bristol University. Most recently Ben has been directing and assisting work at The Old Vic Tunnels, Battersea Arts Centre and the Camden People's Theatre. He continues to work with young people through the Old Vic New Voices programme and Big Wheel Theatre Company, and plays saxophone in two bands called the The Sweet Easy Peelers and The Moscow Trip.
The Wardrobe Ensemble met back in September 2010 while training together on The Made in Bristol program at Bristol Old Vic. Since then they have been making shows and touring them internationally. Here is some background information on each of them. Please familiarise yourself with these facts, they may one day save your life.
Emily is a performer and choreographer. She currently studying Drama at the University of Manchester. She was part of the Bristol Old Vic Young Company for 5 years and has had 14 years ballet experience (IDTA), which has helped develop her keen interest in and ability to lead Dance Theatre sessions with the Bristol Old Vic Young Company.
Tom BrennanMain skill: Sandwich-making
Allergies: None (Used to be allergic to face-paint.)
Emily GreensladeMain skill: Cartwheels
Allergies: Horse Fly bites and "once I ate a tomato and blew up like a tomato"
Jesse JonesMain skill: Sunday Roasts
Kerry LovellMain Skill: Acting/Pretending
Jesse MeadowsMain skill: Salad assembly
Allergies: Tree Sap
Jesse Jones is a director and performer and technical manager of The Wardrobe Ensemble. He has worked extensively for Bristol Old Vic as an Associate artist of Outreach and teaches workshops in institutions across the city. Jesse is also founder and Co-Artistic Director of Bristol’s The Wardrobe Theatre and an associate of Little Axe theatre company. Jesse directed The Grandfathers as part of NT Connections at Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre in 2012 and 2013. Most recently he was Staff Director on the National Theatre’s production of Emil and the Detectives.
More about Emily
More about Edie
Jesse is a performer, theatre-maker and company director of The Wardrobe Ensemble. She graduated from University of Warwick with a BA First Class Honours in Theatre and Performance. Jesse has since been working extensively with The Wardrobe Ensemble and FellSwoop Theatre for which she co-produced and performed in the award-winning Belleville Rendezvous. Jesse's recent deviser/performer credits include Tea Time for Oxford Playhouse, and Winnie the Witch for Pegasus Theatre, Oxford. She is also Co-Artistic Director of The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol.
More about Jesse J
Tom Brennan is a director, performer and writer. He is currently studying American Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. Tom directed RIOT and 33 for The Wardrobe Ensemble. He assistant directed Children of Killers (2010, Bristol Old Vic, Cottesloe Theatre), which won the National Theatre Connections Festival. Tom founded Closer Each Day, a cult improvised soap opera at The Wardrobe Theatre. He also won the British Film Institute Award for Most Promising Young Talent for the short film Tracks (2009) which he co-wrote and co-directed.
More about Helena
More about Kerry
Hannah is an independent theatre producer. She has been working with The Wardrobe Ensemble since 2013 and they are her faves. Before going freelance, Hannah worked at the Bush Theatre and at Fuel and in every library in the borough of Hounslow.
More about Jim
Edith Woolley is a performer, director and designer for The Wardrobe Ensemble. She is currently studying in New York as part of her BA in Drama and English at Queen Mary University London, having completed a foundation in Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts. Edith also holds experience in physical theatre, starring in her first professional dance piece, Fallen, as well as Swarm, a dance film by Twisted Theatre. Her directing credits including the Foundation of Trust at the Theatre Rondo Bath.
More about Ben
More about Jesse M
Kerry is a performer, theatre maker. She is a graduate of Bath Spa University studying BA Drama Studies and specialising in Devising and Musical Theatre. Kerry has performed with Myrtle Theatre Company, Fairground Theatre Company and featured in Traces, a short dance theatre film with Twisted Theatre Company. She has worked extensively with the Bristol Old Vic Young Company, delivering workshops and assisting shows.
I just want to knowmore about Hannah!
James Newton is a performer and musician. He is currently studying European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. An accomplished trombonist, James has toured with the South West Youth Wind Sinfonia to Poland and Germany. He also assistant directed Our Country’s Good with the Bristol Old Vic Young Company, which won Best Ensemble at NSDF 2010.
Helena is a director, writer and performer. She is currently studying English at Cambridge University. She won prizes for both Best Director and Best Show at the Cambridge 24 hours plays and was recently the assistant director to Helen Eastman in the double bill: Prometheus and The Frogs at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.
Helena MiddletonMain Skill: Interpretative dance
James NewtonMain skill: Trombone
Ben VardyMain skill: Running fast (100m)
Allergies: Mild Lactose Intolerance
Edith WoolleyMain skill: Sumo
Allergies: "Dust, hay fever, etc. I get sneezy and cloggy eyes nose"
Hannah Smith - ProducerMain skill: Pithy lymerics
Allergies: "Are you writing a risk assessment? I have no allergies."
More about Tom
Our Associate Artist are creative people - actors, musicians, directors - that we really enjoy working with. Many of them have helped us create several projects, and we are extremely grateful for their hard work, creative input and hugs.
Miranda CromwellMain skill: Horticulture
Allergies: Rye Bread
With TWE: Director of Sense
Tom EnglandMain skill: Somersaults
Allergies: Brazil Nuts
With TWE: Performer in RIOT and 33
Deviser and Performer in 1972: The
Future of Sex
Fiona MikelMain skill: Moto-racing
With TWE: Director of Eliza & The Wild Swans
Performer in RIOT
Ben OsbornMain skill: Crimping
With TWE: Performer and Musical Director of
Eliza & The Wild Swans
Greg ShewringMain skill: Quilt-making
Allergies: Unrefined Sugar
With TWE: Performer in RIOT
Jack DrewryMain skill: Origami
Allergies: Rapid changes in temperature
With TWE: Performer and Deviser in The
Click below to find out more about our productions...
The Star Seekers
Eliza and the Wild Swans“When it all comes apart at the seams and you’ve got nothing left but a handful of nettles and blisters, fight on dear Eliza, fight on.”We’ve a story to tell. Come inside and drink some nettle tea to escape the troubles of the cold, windy world.Across the northern seas is a town where it’s Winter all year round. Superstition rules and folk wear long coats of feathers and fur, in fear of deadly curses.You’ve never met anyone like Eliza; as silent as a mouse, as determined as a lion and with the heart of a wild swan.This winter, fly away with us on a quest for family, love and redemption in a bold adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale Wild Swans. As sharp as a nettle sting, as tender as a bird’s wing and as refreshing as Russia’s icy wind, Eliza and the Wild Swans will transport you to another universe.
An epic tale of violence, greed and cheap sofas.
10 February 2005. At the stroke of midnight the British public punch, kick, strangle and eventually stab their way to £45 sofas and £35 bed frames at the opening of their favourite Swedish furniture store.
Riot is a true story set in a lamp-lit flat-pack universe bursting with violence, chaos and more characters than you can throw a meatball at.
Hammered together with physical theatre and music, The Wardrobe Ensemble tear up the instructions and disregard the diagrams to construct a comedic tragedy of a thoroughly modern kind.
33Following their highly acclaimed debut, RIOT, 33 is the second of The Wardrobe Ensemble's Real Things Trilogy. 33 premiered at Bristol Old Vic in July, before going to the Edinburgh Fringe, where it played to sell-out audiences at Zoo Aviary.
The Wardrobe Ensemble use soulful stories, macho choreography and original music to present their take on the Chilean miner crisis of 2010. 33 tells the tale of the thirty three men stuck half a mile under the ground, the journalists in the desert above them and the world that watched them from afar.
A tale of friendship, hope and Elvis Presley, 33 takes you beyond the newsrooms, past the cameras and leaves you 2000 feet under the ground. An outlandish, touching and funny modern-legend of men on the brink of death, fame and madness.
The show was devised by the company at the National Theatre Studio, Bristol Old Vic and on residency in the USA.
COMING SOON: Bristol 24 Hour Plays
Eliza & the Wild Swans
1972: The Future of Sex
In 2014, an age of internet porn, marriage equality, forth-wave feminism and twerking, The Wardrobe Ensemble are looking back.It's 1972: an age of Deep Throat, David Bowie, gay liberation and Germaine Greer. The Wardrobe Ensemble use funky music, non-linear storytelling and space hoppers to ask, how far have we really come?
3 directors. 3 writers. 9 actors. What will happen when they are asked to create 3 brand new plays in just 24 hours to be judged by industry experts?
6th March, 8pm
Edgar and The Land of Lost
Written by Anja Hilling, translated by Logan Kennedy and Leonhard Unglaub.
Sense follows the tangled relationships of a group of teenagers through poetic streams of consciousness. In the moments that transcend normality they discover what it means to love and be loved.
Sense was performed by The Wardrobe Ensemble at the Bristol Old Vic and Wardrobe Theatre in June 2011
"this very good production of a very good play left both audience and performers transported and inspired."
This is Edgar; ordered, sensible, grumpy, alone.
This is Peewee; Unruly, suspicious, adventurous, bored.
Welcome to Winton, a sleepy, monochrome town where everything feels misplaced and one young girl is growing restless. The singer has lost his voice, the butcher has lost her cleaver, Edgar has lost something much closer to home. Can anyone remember?
Join us as our unlikely pair travel through the imposing doors of lost property to somewhere undiscovered. An extraordinary kingdom, filled with magic and mystery; The Land of Lost.
Workshops for young people
For Theatre Makers
For Young People
Workshops for emerging theatre makers
We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for the guidance we received from many, many people. We hope to share and exchange our knowledge with who are taking their first steps towards theatre-making, as well our emerging contemporaries who are making theatre right now.
We run three kinds of workshops:
Please do click to find out more.
• Music and sound in theatre
• Enjoying being on stage.
• Writing in the rehearsal room.
• Using the principles of filmmaking
(e.g. editing, perspective) when devising.
If you would like us to come and run some workshops with your organisation, or you just want some more information, please do get in touch via our contact page.
Workshops for schools, theatre groups and young people...
The Wardrobe Ensemble can provide workshops for groups of young people of up to 40. Workshops can vary in length from one hour to two full days.
All of our members are trained workshop facilitators, and have been running workshops for many years for companies such as the Bristol Old Vic, The National Theatre and Old Vic New Voices.
Our sessions can centre around any or several of the following:
• Making awesome movement, quickly.
• Having confidence in your creativity /
Saying Yes / Make first, judge later
• Creating characters and relationships
• Using everyday objects.
• Devising from real-world events.
Workshops for Emerging Theatre Makers...
For people who work within theatre or are thinking of making the leap, but are not sure how, we run workshops aimed at introducing or developing the skills necessary to make devised theatre that is exciting, original and sustainable in today's tempestuous financial climate.
We also run workshops and talks based around skills for professional development. For example: taking a show to Edinburgh, running an egalitarian ensemble, crowd funding and national touring.
For Theatre Makers
The third kind of workshop we run is based around a show that we are developing or performing. We want audiences to engage with our work beyond simply watching the show.
These workshops attempt to:
• Share the skills that we developed whilst making the show.
• Develop a dialogue between audience and us about the themes and ideas of the show.
• Use the show as a springboard to develop other creative ideas and techniques.
“A cutting accuracy that draws genuine belly-laughs from the audience… a peerless performance”
★★★★★ Whats On Stage
“Funny, stylish, poignant… a magnificently executed morality tale”
★★★★★ Fringe Guru
“RIOT is a tour-de-force that could not be funnier, smarter, more engaging and profounder if it tried… a vibrant live experience… an amusing yet powerful critique of the worst elements of human nature”
★★★★★ EdFringe Review
“As hot topic theatre goes, RIOT is absolute magma… genuinely hilarious… an exciting new theatre company who seem destined to go places.”
★★★★★ Exeunt Magazine
“The flawless action is tightly choreographed…RIOT is one of the highlights of the Fringe… sheer genius”
★★★★★ Counter Culture
“If you are going to see only one sarcastic furniture-retail based musical this year, here it is, because I’m still smiling a day later.”
★★★★★ Bristol Theatre Review
"Devised theatre of the highest quality: daring, unique, and imaginative... incredibly clever and relentlessly energetic... I expect big things for
the future of the group."
★★★★★ EdFringe Review
"A charming, slick and gripping piece of physical theatre... inventive and impressive...
funny and moving."
★★★★ A Younger Theatre
"A surreal, touching triumph."
★★★★ The List
"An inventive mix of physical theatre, live music, video and projection... jaw-dropping...
there are few [shows] that drill into such a
rich vein of human interest."
★★★★ Edinburgh Guide
Reviews for 33...
"The company weave live music and storytelling together with entertaining effect… A breathless, excitable quality”
The Stage MUST SEE!
“An anarchic comedy… deserves to be applauded for their darkly convincing portrayals of mass hysteria.”
★★★★ The Scotsman
★★★★ The Theatre Guide London
★★★★ Broadway Baby
“A well-directed, well-choreographed, and well-performed hour of truly original theatre… nothing short of astounding”
“Darkly comedic… a bleak comment on greed and consumerism offered up with tongues firmly in cheek”
★★★★ Edinburgh Spotlight
“A beautifully crafted, functional yet stylish piece of theatre... You will laugh. You will cry. You may even find a reason for simply being alive.”
★★★★ Itchy Bristol
"An amazing story – and an amazing performance... a compelling show, which entertains just as much as it poses questions... evoking every feeling from claustrophobia to euphoria."
★★★★ Broadway Baby
"The Wardrobe Ensemble cement their reputation for inventive and thought-provoking theatre... an intense, immersive experience."
★★★★ TV Bomb
"While psychologically complex, also rib-splittingly funny... a truly gripping story."
"The use of physical theatre, against a backdrop of original music, was some of the best I’ve seen in a long time... The cast were all superb... What a show!"
★★★★ Everything Theatre
Reviews for Eliza and The Wild Swans...
"A true ensemble piece... will no doubt inspire a great deal of youngsters... well worth seeing"
The Public Reviews
"Imagination is the cornerstone of this very inventive production... a deliciously different tale... unforgettable."
Western Morning News
"The Wardrobe Ensemble showed true creative flair... ingenious visual storytelling... catchy, comical and delightfully composed."
We are a rather modest theatre troupe, we don't like to brag, and so we've tucked our reviews away under this very sensible shirt. If you really must have a peek, then just click on the "shirt of modesty" below, and you can ogle at our reviews to your heart's content...
Reviews for RIOT...
If you're now blushing, and finding this all a bit too much, you can to bring the shirt back.
Soon you will be able to browse a deep and dusty archive of photographs, sounds and videos of our creative process. But it's taking a while to put together. It will be here soon. Promise.
There are many ways to contact us:
twitter: (only one "e" in the middle!)