Onwards and Upwards: A Family Christmas Show

by INKBLOC ensemble in Bath, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 6th November 2018 we successfully raised £1,500 with 39 supporters in 28 days

We're creating a brand new, family theatre show about 3 extraordinary female explorers who were the first to conquer incredible feats.

by INKBLOC ensemble in Bath, England, United Kingdom

We’re recruiting bold, brave explorers to join us on our mission! Could you be one of them? This Christmas INKBLOC ensemble are going to be making and performing a brand new family christmas show at the Rondo Theatre in Bath from the 13th to the 23rd of December but we need to raise money to fund the production. 



About the Show  

Deep underground, beneath scrambled wires and twisting pipes lives Luna; an inventor and fixer of broken bits and bobs. Luna’s never lost her bobble hat to a gust of wind, skated on ice, or even thrown a snowball! In fact, she’s never been to Uptop at all. She’s got everything she needs right here in Downblow. But when a broken compass clatters into her workshop, Luna’s world is turned upside down as she uncovers the extraordinary real life adventures of the first women to cross oceans, skies and to reach the very top of the world. … could Luna become an explorer too? ONWARDS AND UPWARDS is a story about digging deep and finding the bravery to step up and outside of your comfort zone. In our show we are going to be sharing the inspirational stories of 3 heroic female explorers:

- The Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei who was the first female climber to scale right to the top of Mount Everest!

- The Australian sailor Kay Cottee who was the first woman to perform a single handed, non-stop circumnavigation of the whole world!

- and The American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart - the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean, from America to Ireland. She was also the first woman to try to fly all around the globe! 

Through sharing these incredible stories, ONWARDS & UPWARDS is designed to inspire young minds to find their courage and enjoy the world’s possibilities.



About the Company 

INKBLOC ensemble was formed through Bristol Old Vic's emerging theatre makers scheme; Made in Bristol 2016/17 and continue to be based in the city. The scheme takes a small group of emerging theatre creatives between 18 - 25 and mentors them with professional directors, playwrights and producers to become theatre makers and practitioners. Our first production ‘LEGO Beach’, was programmed as part of BOV’s studio walkabout season and toured the show to local venues: The Pound, The Wardrobe Theatre, Salisbury Arts Centre (as part of Theatre Fest West), Backwell Festival and The Rondo. The show dramatized the real life event of a cargo container struck by a giant wave causing 4.8 million pieces of Lego to spill into the sea, subsequently washing up on cornish shores. Our work is devised collaboratively and our shows use original live music on-stage, ensemble movement and puppetry to tell our stories. This collaborative way of working we believe makes for a playful, charming and imaginative style. 



Why are we raising money?

We need your help! We currently have no funding for this project and making shows can be pretty pricey! 

Your money will help us pay for the venue running costs for the Rondo Theatre where we are performing, the set, the costumes and the props. The marketing for the show will also cost a lot, we need to raise money to pay for posters, flyers, social media campaigns and listings on websites to advertise the show.

And finally, we are making this show because we are passionate about this story. We want to share these women's stories with young people and frame it in an original story that will uplift, entertain and educate children and their families. Your money could help pay us something over the 3 weeks of rehearsal and the 2 weeks of performing, we would like to eat this Christmas! We are making a professional show and would like to pay the team involved as professionals with a decent, living wage. We produced, made and toured our first production to sell out audiences but didn't pay ourselves. As we move foward and develop as a company we aim to pay ourselves, which without any funding or fundraising, isn't possible.

We are asking for £2,500 to cover the production costs in order to pay ourselves from profit through ticket sales. We need a troupe of brilliant, generous people to raise £2,500 to make our goal a reality. Plus there’s lots of exciting rewards for those brave explorers who want to donate!


Outreach Projects and Partners

In addition to making this new show, we will be working with three main partners and delivering workshops with the young people involved with them. 

The British Exploring Society

We are working with the British Exploring Society, meeting with their young explorers to chat about their adventures and delivering a workshop in presenting and public speaking. 

Jamie's Farm

We are working with Jamies Farm, a charity that acts as a catalyst for change, enabling disadvantaged young people to thrive academically, socially and emotionally through outdoor experiences and a follow-up programme, combining farming, family and therapy.

Woodcraft Folk 

We're leading two theatre workshops with the Woodcraft Folk, a movement for children and young people, which helps children grow in confidence, learn about the world and start to understand how to value our planet and each other. 


Creative Team


Helena Middleton

Helena is a co-founder of the Wardrobe Ensemble. Helena has co-directed Education Education Education, Eloise and the Curse of the Golden Whisk and Edgar and the Land of Lost (Bike Shed Theatre), and directed Little Tim and the Brave Sea captain (Bristol Old Vic), The Time Seekers and The Star Seekers (The National Theatre, Wardrobe Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse). Her recent directing credits include: Then Again (King's Head), Monkey Puzzle (Discover Children's story centre), The Assembly Women (VAULT festival), Islanders (Theatre West) and The Oil and the Shard (Camden People's Theatre). Helena has assistant directed productions at the Soho Theatre, The Cambridge Arts Theatre and Trafalgar Studios and was Assistant Director on Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution at London County Hall.  

Performers, Writers and Musicians

Alison Cowling

Before university, Alison worked as Education Events Assistant at Shakespeare’s Globe. She graduated in 2016 with a BA Drama: Theatre, Television and Film (2:1) from Bristol University, then trained with Made In Bristol and continues to work as a theatre practitioner for the Bristol Old Vic, the Tobacco Factory Theatre and the Theatre Royal Bath. Alison is Communications Manager for the Bristol Improv Theatre and is also in theatre company, Riddlestick Theatre. 

Claire Crawford 

Claire is a graduate of The University of Exeter, and works as a freelance theatre maker, director and producer. Following Made in Bristol, Claire continues to work with Bristol Old Vic Engagement department; Assistant Directing the Young Company on Punk Rock, and as Acting Engagement co-producer. From 2015-18 Claire was the Assistant Producer for Tessa Bide Productions, AP-ing three original shows for families. She is also an associate practitioner for Prime Theatre, and an associate creative producer for Red Oak Theatre.  

Toby Robertshaw 

Toby is a co-founder of INKBLOC ensemble and trained on the Made In Bristol scheme and with the Young Company at Bristol Old Vic. He works primarily as an actor and devisor in INKBLOC and has also worked with Palomar Theatre, most recently in 'Darlings' (Edinburgh 2018). 

Movement Director 

Alex Wollacott     

Alex is a Bristol based movement director currently studying BA Hons Acting at Bath Spa Uni. She trained on the Made In Bristol scheme and is a co-founder of INKBLOC ensemble. She works regularly with Theatre Royal Bath engagement and performs with the dance group Angels Dance Academy.

Sound Design

Jack Morrison

Jack is a Bristol based sound designer and musical director. Jack trained with Made In Bristol 2015 - 16. He works extensively with the Bristol Old Vic engagement department as a sound designer, performer and assistant director on projects, workshops and Young Company shows.

Design Assistant 

Jennie Harris

Jennie is a co-founder of INKBLOC ensemble and trained on the Made In Bristol scheme and with the Young Company at Bristol Old Vic.


Reviews for past production, LEGO Beach

“Surprising, poignant, funny and impressive – all while ultimately serving up a rather damning reflection on human greed... contemporary, colourful, creative and brilliant, this performance packs hell of a punch.” Bristol 24/7 on LEGO Beach, 2017

“It’s highly stylised – poetic, rhythmic and choreographed to perfection.” Visit Bristol on LEGO Beach, 2017

“A great mix of humour, original music and crafted storytelling.” Weston Super Mum on LEGO Beach, 2017

“The production is full of life, humour and poignancy from its versatile cast” Theatre Bath on LEGO Beach 2018



This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£50 or more

A Personalised Story!

We'll write you a short story with you at the heart of an adventure, expedition or discovery! PLUS a signed poster, listed on our website as an official show supporter, a postcard and a tweet!

£10 or more

A Postcard and Tweet!

You'll receive a handwritten postcard from a far away place! Plus a shout out on our twitter!

£25 or more

A Signed Poster!

A signed poster of the show and a mention on our website as an official show supporter PLUS a postcard and tweet.

£100 or more

2 of 20 claimed

A Framed Illustration!

A framed illustration of an explorer of your choice! PLUS a short story, a signed poster, listed as an official show supporter on our website, a postcard and a tweet!

£200 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Music To Your Ears!

A song composed and recorded for you by us, about you or an explorer you admire! PLUS a signed poster, listed as an official show supporter on our website, postcard and tweet.

£500 or more

An INKBLOC ensemble theatre workshop

INKBLOC ensemble will deliver a tailor made theatre workshop for your group or company. It will last the whole day and could cover puppetry, movement, devising, music or writing - anything you want to explore with your group with our experienced theatre practitioners. PLUS a signed show poster, listed as an official show supporter on our website, a postcard, a tweet and a short story!

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