The Wardrobe Theatre has relocated to Old Market and is now open for business. Passionate about its showcase of local playwrights and performances in Bristol, it is continuing to grow.
Established in 2011, by a group of passionate theatre-makers, The Wardrobe Theatre has grown from its inception and in the past two years it has hosted 440 performances, 62% of which are Bristol based productions.
The new theatre space, which opened on 1 December, is a spacious affair, being housed in the same premises as the The Old Market Assembly – offering a theatre space, cafe, restaurant, bar and a bakery. Why would you need to go anywhere else?
The relocation took a lot of hard work and fundraising to raise the £70,000 required to make their vision a reality. They are over halfway there with their fundraising efforts, and despite having opened early in December, they are still relentlessly raising the funds needed to cover equipment costs.
To find out how you can support their fundraising campaign, visit the website: http://www.helpbuildthenewwardrobetheatre.com
Jesse Meadows, Matthew Whittle and Chris Collier met when working as ushers at the Tobacco Factory Theatre and established their own pop-up theatre company when they were given the opportunity to utilise an unused space in the The White Bear pub. Giving local writers and actors a platform to showcase their work, was so well received, that they decided to make it into a more permanent thing and so, The Wardrobe Theatre was born.
Talking about the fundraising efforts, so far, co-Artistic Director Matthew Whittle explains:
“We’ve been totally overwhelmed with the support we’ve received from the people of Bristol. We’ve felt the sense of good will out there for the theatre for a long time but when we launched this fundraising campaign we were totally blown away by everyone’s generosity, support, kind words, advice and eagerness to help.”
“Theatre is the most affecting of all art forms. Live theatre has the potential to get under your skin, into your head and heart…”
The new theatre space has been designed specifically with theatre in mind, and really lends itself to the ethos of The Wardrobe Theatre. There is still a long way to go, as far as raising essential costs for the upkeep go, but the progress already achieved is something to feel very proud about:
“None of us had been involved in a large fundraising campaign before so we’re thrilled that we’ve managed to get this far. Now that we are open, any donations people make are being put towards acquiring the theatre’s lighting equipment, some final adjustments to the walls and doorways, refurbishing the theatre’s entrance to create an effective space for posters, and flyers, resources to recruit and train new box office volunteers and theatre ushers, and to fully equip the theatre office.” Says Matthew.
Matthew and the team at The Wardrobe Theatre have finally found a way of turning their passion for theatre into a tangible, community-focused resource for Bristol – and as Matthew explains, it is one of the rare art forms that you can really engage with at a level that crosses all boundaries:
“For me, theatre is the most affecting of all art forms. Live theatre has the potential to get under your skin, into your head and heart and make you laugh. By being in the same room as the performers, you are part of the show. The way you react as an audience member influences the performance. I find it incredibly powerful when that special relationship is harnessed by a show.” Matthew says.
As well as theatre, The Wardrobe Theatre host the regular Sharp Teeth open-mic style evenings – a chance to see an eclectic mix of live music, comedy and storytelling. Established by director and writer Stephanie Kempson, Sharp Teeth formerly took over The Art House in Stokes Croft.
“They’ve been putting on a wonderful mix of storytelling, music and theatre and we’re now really excited to bring it to The Wardrobe Theatre as I think our audiences will love it.” Matthew says.
There will also be exciting live music plans for 2016, including the recent gig from Martha Tilston, which sounds as though it went down very well:
“We had our first live, sit-down music gig at the venue very recently with Martha Tilston It was received wonderfully well so yes, I think we can expect more gigs in the future. We’re always on the look out for new areas and ideas too, one of our founding ethoses was to not be afraid to take risks and try new things – and it’s worked out pretty well for us so far!”
Goldilock, Stock & Three Smoking Bears (current until 17 January)
A Christmas show with a difference.
The silver-tongued Goldilocks can see that her days of selling moody goods on the cobbled streets of East End London are numbered. But when circumstances leave her on the run from a pack of bears and badly indebted to a notorious gangster, will our young heroine be able to raise the needed ‘bees and honey’ in time and avoid doing porridge?
After the stunning successes of Muppits Die Hard, Se7en Dwarfs, Oedipuss In Boots and Home Alonely, The Wardrobe Theatre excitedly christened the opening of their new venue with this darkly comic, adult-only show.
Goldilock, Stock & Three Smoking Bears is a madcap merging of the classic porridge-thieving fairytale with Guy Ritchie’s cult 1998 cockney caper – and is The Wardrobe Theatre’s biggest and boldest show yet.
Four lives are touched and entwined forever by the music, fashion and culture of the day but friendships are stretched to the limit and bonds tested when Jem suddenly returns ‘home’ from London, bringing with him a new identity. Secrets and jealousies from the past bubble to the surface, but why has Jem decided to return and what made him leave all those years ago?
Skin Deep explores themes of cultural identity, working class values, race and sexuality in a Devon City through the eyes of four young characters set against the volatile backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain.
The Hours Before We Wake (5 – 6 February 2016)
The Hours Before We Wake in conjunction with Tremolo Theatre, is a sharp dystopian comedy about dreaming, conspiracy and not letting anyone inside your head. It’s 2091: we have the technology to control our dreams, we are never off the grid, we are humans 2.0. But we still sometimes eat cereal for every meal of the day and finding love is still a complete nightmare.
Follow the idiosyncratic and love-struck Ian, who takes a pill each night without fail to dream of being a hero who might finally attract his supervisor’s affections. One night he crosses paths with Bea, who drags him head-first into the truth behind a world he has never questioned, revealing the untold story of Matilda.
The Wardrobe Theatre are also looking for anyone who would be interested in volunteering – be it on the box office, ushering or general assistance at shows. If you are interested in getting involved, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org And for anyone interested in submitting a programming idea, you can email: email@example.com
For more information on The Wardrobe Theatre: www.thewardrobetheatre.com