At this point in time there are scores of theatre makers and performers like ourselves descending on Edinburgh. Many of whom, I imagine, will be in a similar place emotionally and creatively to ourselves. All putting the finishing touches to shows, checking into accommodation, frantically practicing lines in parks, living rooms, or around kitchen tables. Thousands of people all coming together to share what they have created with people looking to laugh, or escape, or just while away an hour or so before having a wee dram or 2 with their friends. If you are one of those people, much love to you. …

Just over a month ago, as the rain beat a gentle pitter patter on the streets of London, we were readying ourselves for our first ever run on a West End Stage, transferring Education Education Education to the Trafalgar Studios. Now, with the sun at our backs and a spring in our weary legs, we find ourselves in Northampton preparing for our next voyage of discovery.

And so, as I look out longingly from my window seat on the 0833 from Birmingham New Street, the fields of Long Buckby mixing with the not so distant memory of mingling with the stars (Paul Chuckle, Sinnita and Anthea Turner), I put finger to ipad and reflect upon the lessons and learnings from the past few weeks as we push on to Edinburgh 2019. …

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When someone asks about The Wardrobe Ensemble’s journey I often talk about how much we said ‘yes’ in those first, formative years. “Should we take our first show to Edinburgh, we’ll need to somehow raise £5000” — “Yes!”, “Should we take that same show to America, borrow a rickety car that smells like rat wee and try not to starve” — “Yes!”, “Should we make another show, and another, and another” — “Yes, yes, yes!” This mildly foolish but totally glorious yay saying was what led us to make our first show for younger years. …

Hey, I’m Tom Crosley-Thorne A.K.A. “Chum” the composer for South Western. I am an associate artist of The Wardrobe Ensemble and I previously wrote and performed the music for 1972: The Future of Sex and Wind in the Willows. In this blog I’m just going to write a brief summary of the instrumentation I’m using to compose the music for the show. This is partly because I haven’t written a blog before, but also because I’m still writing the music and a lot of it is in its early stages. However I will include some Soundcloud sneak peeks.

I’ve spent the past two weeks in my usual ‘music corner’ surrounded by instruments, well mostly guitars actually, in all different shapes and sizes. From lap steel to mandolins, acoustics to electrics, I’ve been playing with every sound possible that a guitar can make. At the moment the biggest influence on the music in the show is Ennio Morricone for his epic western scores on classics like Good, The Bad and The Ugly and A fist Full of Dollars. If you want to listen to some of the artists we are enjoying in the room check out this Spotify playlist —…

Last week, we packed our city-slicker suitcases and headed down the M5 to a Cornish riverside town called Lostwithiel. We were there to R&D (research and develop) our new show for the Tobacco Factory: South Western.

We went into the week excited about what this show could be; each of us with hundreds of ideas buzzing around our heads, about what the characters, the scenes, the stories and the themes could be.

This week was all about getting those ideas out on paper, and up on their feet. We made and wrote what felt like thousands of scenes; we made funny scenes, dark scenes, weird scenes, classic scenes, we made music, wrote songs, and even taught ourselves to Morris Dance. We wanted to see which of these ideas worked in practice, which ones got us excited as a group, and fitted together into a bigger narrative arc. …

To the Bike Shed…

Thank you.

Thank you for being a constant source of support, guidance and trust for almost the entirety of our existence as a company.

Thank you for nurturing us at a time in our artistic development when we needed it most.

Thank you for taking a punt on a company that was barely 2 years old, and agreeing to let us make your Christmas show, Eliza and the Wild Swans.

We have had a very fruitful first week of R&D at Travelling Light!

Hannah and I were very excited to borrow Travelling Light’s van. I drove us down to the Bristol Old Vic prop store where we picked up two doors and some 90’s teaching equipment (old telephones, kettles, tape recorder, wooden sword, mega phone).

The doors have been a massive success in the room. It’s a relief to stop miming doors. We would now like a ridiculous amount of doors as our set.

We have begun a new regime of morning Yoga, led by Emily. And we are addicted to an after lunch warm up game “four square” — a very intense ball game where pairs battle it out to reign as Queens in the top square. …

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We’re back in the room. Twelve of us. The whole gang. After making a few projects with smaller numbers from the ensemble it’s exciting to have so many minds, and bodies and storytellers in the room again.

We’re bringing ideas from previous R&D’s into the room but we’ve also been having conversations about the show over the past few months and it does feel like we have returned to the rehearsal room with a sense of collective focus. At the moment, the play could go anywhere. It may take place over a day, or it might span 20 years. We may set it all inside a school, or we may jump here, there and everywhere — winding our way into the wider community. …

Rehearsing Little Tim and The Brave Sea Captain

Ahoy there sailors! Greetings from S.S. Bubbletub!
(I’ve just noted it’s CHILDREN’S DAY — so this blog feels rather fitting.)

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6 years ago The Wardrobe Ensemble formed through piloting the first Made In Bristol project at Bristol Old Vic. This year we are making their studio younger years Christmas show. Now that is a dreamy thing that we couldn’t be more excited to undertake.

4 years ago I was introduced to the world of children’s theatre making by the super-duper wonderful Toby Hulse. It was totally and utterly joyous and rewarding. An audience of under 10s is the most challenging, honest audience you will ever get. When they are having a good time they laugh out loud and sing along, when they’re in awe their eyes widen and their jaws drop open, and when they are bored or confused they wriggle around on their seats and shout ‘I WANT TO GO HOME’ very loudly! For the majority it is probably one of their first trips to the theatre. Now that is something very special. …

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Tom and Edie have been working with the brilliant Philippa Hogg to make The Forever Machine, which opens on Monday at the Bike Shed Theatre. Here’s Philippa’s blog from the first week of rehearsals:

We’ve just finished the first week of rehearsals for the Forever Machine, and what an exciting week it’s been!

We started on Sunday with a story meeting, being really specific with each section of the plot, focusing on making it clear, but also as fun and as bonkers as possible! We are being ambitious. …


The Wardrobe Ensemble

An ensemble of storytellers, character makers and thought provokers, we are interested in theatre which explores, questions, and celebrates human life.

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