Bristol Old Vic welcome The Wardrobe Ensemble home with blue plaque dedication

The Wardrobe Ensemble with Tom Morris and Emma Stenning at Bristol Old Vic

A blue plaque celebrating The Wardrobe Ensemble’s amazing achievements was unveiled at Bristol Old Vic today as the company prepare to open their award-winning show Education, Education, Education at the Theatre tonight. Placed inside Bristol Old Vic's rehearsal room, the plaque honours the inaugural Made in Bristol company, and marks where The Wardrobe Ensemble were formed in 2011.

Made in Bristol is a project which brings together a small group of young people aged 18-25 who become resident at Bristol Old Vic for two days a week across the space of a year. The group train to become workshop leaders, facilitators and theatre makers, creating work that can reach out across Bristol and the South West, engaging with local arts organisations as well as performing their own piece of original work at the end of the course. Made in Bristol is designed to give young theatre makers an opportunity to train together, make work together and to develop their teaching skills through their associate relationship with the Young Company.

Bristol Old Vic’s Engagement Director Lucy Hunt said: “The Made in Bristol project was formed to support the exceptional creative minds of the young people that came together to form The Wardrobe Ensemble. These theatre makers were on the cusp of adulthood, members of Bristol Old Vic Young Company who needed space, support and resource to take the first step forward in their careers. It was a tremendous success and led to Made in Bristol continuing until today, supporting a further seven years of young creative talent. We are so incredibly proud of all of these young people, who continue to prove that there really is no limit to what us Bristolians can achieve!

Traditionally installed to commemorate a link between a location and a notable person or event, The Wardrobe Ensemble’s blue plaque will serve to inspire each new generation of theatre makers who use the rehearsal room on a regular basis, through Bristol Old Vic Young Company, through COMPANY sessions, through Adult Company and all those who come into contact with Bristol Old Vic’s Engagement department.

Speaking today Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director Tom Morris said: “This is the very place where The Wardrobe Ensemble began. In all sorts of ways, the success of this company is the story of everything we are trying to achieve at Bristol Old Vic, not for ourselves, but for the artists who we think can make theatre brilliant in the future. The fact that there is a company, all of whom discovered the possibility of a career in theatre during the first Made in Bristol, a company which has, through its sister company The Wardrobe Theatre, created the extraordinary event of a new theatre space and become a powerful element in Bristol’s theatre ecology, that’s a very special thing for us. This is a moment for Bristol Old Vic to say thank you to The Wardrobe Ensemble for everything you have given us, through your brilliance and continuing success.

Bristol Old Vic Chief Executive Emma Stenning added: “To be inspired by what others have achieved is very tangible when you step foot in this room. Countless young people have begun their careers in this very space. We encourage, foster and feed creativity wherever we can, and it is testament to the commitment of our brilliant Engagement team that provides such solid foundation from which theatre artists of the future can emerge.”

Upon being surprised by the plaque for the first time this morning, The Wardrobe Ensemble said: “It’s incredibly moving to be presented with this plaque. We’ve been coming to Bristol Old Vic since we were kids, it’s how we all met, it’s how we all started making theatre. It’s really brilliant to literally now become part of the fabric of the building. There are tears in our eyes as we speak, it is nice to be back where it all began.

Made in Bristol is now in its eighth year, and 2017’s cohort have begun their residency at Bristol Old Vic, and will present their debut show at 1532 Performing Arts Centre in July 2018.

The Wardrobe Ensemble present their award-winning, critically acclaimed, sell-out production of Education, Education, Education at Bristol Old Vic this week, playing 1 – 4 November in the Theatre. The last remaining tickets are available through Bristol Old Vic Box Office / 0117 987 7877.

The Wardrobe Ensemble's blue plaque is unveiled at Bristol Old Vic