creative and evolving storytelling theatre applying physical performance and people power
The MakeShift Ensemble creates theatre on stage, off stage and all about, exploring physical ensemble performance in all its forms as a tool for engaging, affecting and passing on the story. In an age of uncertainty and change it sneakily aims to incite small acts of revolution through and for art; connecting with audiences young and old to deliver messages alongside a large dollop of enjoyment.
The MakeShift Ensemble started out life in 2005 as MakeShift Theatre developing physical exploration of folk tales from around the globe; employing mask, puppetry and authentic language to bring the stories to culturally diverse audiences. The original company disbanded after two years as the members toured and performed separately. Growing, evolving, teaching and learning.
Now it returns under the Artistic Directorship of founding member Jacqueline Avery and actor-musician/songwriter Laurence Aldridge.
Jacqueline is a writer, director, choreographer, teacher, mask maker, puppet maker, Mother. Coming from a contemporary dance background Jacqueline's practice continually evolves through the use of physical performance and creative collaborations, seeking to consolidate her practice through her work both practical and academic. Jacqueline has performed extensively in the world of physical and ensemble theatre and shortly after gaining her degree in theatre and performance at the University of Plymouth was fortunate enough to cut her directing teeth for the Jonah Lie Project, a collaborative piece performed with core members of Kneehigh at The Hall for Cornwall more than a decade ago. Since then her work has taken her all over the UK.
Laurence Aldridge trained at Bretton Hall College for the Arts.
From graduating in 2001 he performed across a wide range of productions including shows at Theatre Royal Stratford East, The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham and The Theatre Chipping Norton. He has also toured extensively across the U.K. from full scale Shakespeare productions to rural tours of new writing.
Since starting to play the guitar in 2006, Laurence has become a song-writer, performing with his political folk/punk outfit Jack of All since 2014.
More recently, Laurence has combined the two with appearances as an actor/musician in Richard III for Changeling Theatre, The Wind in the Willows for The Brewhouse, Taunton and in 2016, he was commissioned to write a new version of the music for Brecht's Mother Courage and her Children for Contexture Theatre, and was appointed Musical Director for the production.
For MakeShift, Laurence has written music for Fox and Rabbit's Idiots' Guide to The Owl and The Pussycat, Sofa and The Children in the moon.
Since 2012, Laurence has become increasingly interested in exploring new ways of telling stories and is delighted to be part of The MakeShift Ensemble - exploring purposeful storytelling in multiple forms, combining experiences and learning from accomplished practitioners
Family Members past and present: Maya Aitkin, Laurence Aldridge, Bee Daws, Chris Gallarus, John Hatziemmanuel, Sally Horwill, Thomas Hughes, James Marshall, Mainga Mayeya, Amber Antonia O'Connell, Matthew Saunders, Robert Sealey, Andy Sherlock, Rhea Soulsby, Hannah Soulsby-Phillips, Henry Topham, Ellis J. Wells, Victoria Welsh, Jessica Chloe Young.
"From day one Jacqueline was a joy to work with; she makes rehearsals incredibly fun, challenging you as an actor but always keeping you in a safe environment. I loved being directed by her and performing opposite her and would eagerly do so again. I've been directed by many wonderful people; but few have I enjoyed and respected in equal measure in and out of the rehearsal room, and get to call my friend on top of that. Any actor would be lucky to have Jacqueline as their director, I know I was. " Ellis J. Wells. Actor '100'
"An incredible ensemble director. Jacqueline created an imaginative rehearsal process which allowed us to play and be completely spontaneous at all times. The process developed me physically, vocally and mentally. Jacqueline works in an incredibly physically demanding way that enables the actor to discover the most effective way to use their own physicality. By the end of the process my movements felt closer to a dancer, which is the complete opposite to how I would usually move. The Makeshift Ensemble produces high quality accessible theatre that everyone can enjoy. It has been an absolute joy to work with Jacqueline and I cannot recommend her highly enough" John Hatziemmanuel, Actor 'Tinderbox'