The Wardrobe Ensemble announces the winners of their £10,000 theatre commission


The Wardrobe Ensemble has announced the winners of their £10,000 theatre commission

As part of The Theatre on the Downs, currently playing in Bristol, The Wardrobe Ensemble have announced the winners of their brand-new commission of £10,000 for artists based in South West England to develop two new pieces of theatre via an open call.


Hannah Kumari, performer, writer and puppeteer has received funding for her extraordinary, experimental show Spinning Wheel, alongside Brook Tate for his unforgettable biographical play, Birthmarked, both of which will debut at The Theatre On The Downs this September.

Having received funding from Arts Council England for The Theatre on the Downs, The Wardrobe Ensemble created the commission to enable select South West artists to keep doing what they do best. With an interest in new and progressive shows, the funding allows both artists to use it in the way that best supports them. Alongside the £10k commission, Kumari and Tate will also receive one to-one sessions with members of The Wardrobe Ensemble to support them in their next steps.

The Wardrobe Ensemble said: “After the last 18 months, we understand how vital financial and venue support is for artists to continue making and presenting work. We are delighted to announce the winners of our commission and we cannot wait to help them turn their artistic dreams into a reality. The Theatre on the Downs has been a wild ride so far but we are excited to continue to delight audiences with our extraordinary programme of theatre shows and these two new special productions.”

Commissioned by The Wardrobe Ensemble and in association with Blind Summit, Hannah Kumari will present Spinning Wheel – an interdisciplinary examination of sobriety and the rule book. A weird and wonderful peek at the semi-secret world of Alcoholics Anonymous, through the eyes of three women who might not belong there.

Hannah Kumari said: “This commission, so generously created by The Wardrobe Ensemble, will allow me to collaborate with a creative team on my new show Spinning Wheel throughout September, and receive mentoring from a company whose work and practice I hugely admire. It gives me the time and space not only to develop my creative practice and ideas but also my self-producing skills, collaborating with more artists and creating work on a larger scale. It offers me the chance to perform previews of my new work at Theatre on The Downs, which will be invaluable to its ongoing development. I hope I can make a meaningful contribution to the cultural landscape of Bristol and the South West, and inspire young global majority artists that there is a place for them and their stories in the region. ”

In addition, Birthmarked by Brook Tate tells the tale of his own life experiences growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness until he was excommunicated at the age of 23 for being gay. Weaving in music to tell his personal story, the show will be comprised of 10 songs that focus on Tate’s experiences.

Brooke Tate said: “I’m pretty dang blown away by the support and encouragement I’ve got from the Wardrobe Ensemble. I’m so grateful, quite nervous, but overall SO friggin’ excited to get going with this project. Super super chuffed. Having a bunch of people believe in me and this idea is such an incredible feeling. So yes. Ta. Very. Much! ”

For full programme listings, please visit The Theatre on the Downs website:

Picture: © Chelsey Cliff

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