The MakeShift Ensemble

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 are Artistic Director/Performer/writer/puppet maker Jacqueline Avery and actor-musician/songwriter Laurence Aldridge. We are associate artists of Puppet Place, Bristol.

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.

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 under the mentorship of Kneehigh Theatre Artistic Director Emma Rice for the Jonah Lie Project, a collaborative piece performed with core Kneehigh members at The Hall for Cornwall more than a decade ago. Since then her work has taken her all over the UK as performer, director and teacher helping actors, students and dancers to encounter and employ the body as a primary means of telling the story.

Along the way she has helped Quicksilver Theatre (in association with Lighthouse, Poole) instil the idea of creative and imaginative play to children across London and the South West. Workshopped and choreographed with Marc Bruce. Helped re-imagine Shakespeare with Tim Supple and most recently has worked with physical theatre pioneer David Glass learning all about the nature of creative practice, the teachings of which she has been embedding in her most recent touring productions. She hopes to further this practiceas well as attempting to complete academic papers on the nature and relationships of and in Ensemble making……..and looking after two small people, her best creations yet.

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.
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



Portfolio image: The MakeShift Ensemble - 100
Imagine you had to choose just one memory to take into eternity, and that you would re-live that treasured memory afresh, experiencing it as for the first time over and over and over. That is what four characters are urged to do by a mysterious other – to a count of ‘100’! This singular decision turns out to be far more difficult than any can imagine. It challenges the way each have lived, loved, observed, and even valued life itself; there are implications none would have guessed. What memory would you choose?rnrnThe MakeShift Ensemble bring an imaginative, energetic approach to story-telling and a huge heart that will leave the audience buzzing with images, thoughts and questions. Written by Diene Petterle, Neil Monaghan and Christopher Heimann ‘100’ is an Edinburgh First winning production – realised anew in collaboration with acclaimed director Peter John Cooper.rnrnDirected by Jacqueline Avery and Peter John Cooper


Portfolio image: The MakeShift Ensemble - tinderbox
‘A captivating twist on an original tale’rnrnPlay by Jacqueline AveryrnMusic by Joe ButcherrnrnA war-torn soldier and an obstinate princess – aided by three unearthly dogs, a strange and wizened woman with a magic tinderbox – discover the unbreakable bonds of true love.rnrnThis new play gives a classic Hans Christian Andersen tale an illuminating Jurassic Coast twist, and The MakeShift Ensemble add heart and soul dusted with humour.rnrn‘tinderbox’ is an audio-visual treat to thrill all the family. Powerful physical storytelling; puppetry; shadow play and animated imagery – accompanied by live, original music and song – combine to create a spell-binding experience whatever your age.

Fox and Rabbits idiot’s guide to The Owl and the Pussycat

Portfolio image: The MakeShift Ensemble - Fox and Rabbits idiot's guide to The Owl and the Pussycat
Join the wayward Reynard. H. Fox and his reluctant sidekick Rabbit as they meander their inelegant way around the world of the Owl and the Pussycat in their beautiful pea-green……boat?rnrnDodge the jellyfish in the deep blue sea, climb the giant bong-tree to meet the spirit who dwells within and journey with them to find the allusive and mythical shilling.rnrnAided by a rockabilly hog (Elvis Pigsley), a Compass Fish and a somewhat melodramatic turkey – can Fox and Rabbit get the Owl and Pussycat to the hill on time to finally tie the knot?rnrnThe MakeShift Ensemble bring a sense of adventure and humour to this wonderful retelling of Edward Lear’s classic nonsense poem, brought to life with puppetry and live music . Bring your imaginations and your runcible spoons and be entertained whatever your age


Portfolio image: The MakeShift Ensemble - Sofa/Blueprint
In development 2017 with Parkinson’s UK and Puppet Place, Bristol.rnOur next production (working title ‘Sofa’) is a piece based on memory. rnWe are looking to investigate the effects of Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s related dementia on sufferers and the memories of carers and family members. rnThe decision to focus the piece on this area comes in part from our own experiences and in part from the recognition that often only the functional memory issues of Parkinson’s related dementia are discussed, ignoring the changes in how we remember people, places and things. rnrnIf you or a family member have experiences you would be willing to share with us, we would like to invite you to The Puppet Place, Bristol for a session to share your experiences and stories with us. rn rnThere will be tea, coffee and cake and the session will be loosely structured but informal, respectful and we hope a good opportunity, not just for us to learn from you but also for you to hear other experiences that may offer you food for thought. rn rnWe are hoping to talk with you about how you think of the past in the light of the present. Have the effects of Parkinson’s on you or a family-member or friend altered your perception of your shared history? rnIf you have cared for someone who has passed on after Parkinson’s, how you feel the experience has changed your memories, both in terms of how you view past events and how you remember them? rn rnThe two people running the session will be Jacqueline Avery and Laurence Aldridge. Laurence has direct experience of Parkinson’s, through his father living with the illness for around 20 years, and Jacqueline has similar experiences of caring for a family member with dementia. These experiences have prompted them to make a piece of theatre exploring the way our memories, perceptions and relationships are altered. rn rnThere will be a second session at the end of the week, where they hope to present what has been developed during this first week of the process for your reaction and comments. rn rnIf you cannot attend the session but would like to contribute, we would welcome emails with your experiences and your thoughts on the subject. rnrnrn