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The Cupboard Commission Call Out

We are looking for applications from a Theatre Maker or Makers for our CUPBOARD COMMISSION!

The cupboard commission will be part of “What If…?” a Festival of Children’s stories which we are delighted to say has been awarded Arts Council England Project Funding.

Downstairs at Emmanuel Hall is a wonderful, double-doored, walk-in cupboard – part of the original, Edwardian fabric of the building. We are looking for a theatre maker or theatre makers, to draw on children’s stories we’ll be gathering, as inspiration for ‘The Cupboard Commission’, which will take place in our cupboard during the festival! The piece could take the shape of a performance or an installation, or perhaps a bit of both, its form is up to you!

Commission Fee: £3000

Creation dates: Between 1st Feb & the 11th Feb 2024 (TBC)

Performance dates: 12th – 17th Feb

We are committed to equal opportunities for everyone and actively encourage people with different backgrounds to join us and positively impact our team and working practice. We are particularly keen to receive applications from underrepresented and Global Majority groups, D/deaf and disabled people, or those experiencing barriers due to their socioeconomic background.

To Apply:  

Please read through the pack below and send an expression of interest outlining the type of piece you are interested in creating for the Cupboard Commission and why (max 1 page), along with your CV or a description of your previous experience. Alternatively, you can record a video (max 5 minutes) outlining what you are interested in creating and why, and telling us about your previous experiences. You are welcome to apply as an individual or as a group. 

Please also complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form and send it through to us with your application (please note this is optional).

Send your application to Hattie, hattie@theatrealibi.co.uk by the 4th December at 9am. 

Interviews will be on the 6th, 7th or 8th December.

If you’d like to have a further conversation, or even a little look around the cupboard itself, get in touch! 

Cupboard Commission Pack HERE.

Easy Read Version HERE.

Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form: Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form


Past News:


A note from Nikki Sved…

Ok, deep breath…  

After what has been a wonderful lifetime with Theatre Alibi, I am moving on from being the Artistic Director. What a privilege it has been. And I don’t use that word lightly.  

Over the last few weeks and months, we have been working our way, inch by inch, through our wonderful home, Emmanuel Hall, undertaking the mother of all clear outs in preparation for our new life as a Centre for the Imagination for children and young people. It has meant revisiting every part of Alibi’s history. Black and white photos of Alibi’s founders, Ali Hodge and Tim Spicer, in their very first few shows, wearing fetching striped trousers and holding the rapt attention of children, crowded into their school hall (those children will be well into their 40s now!). Boxes upon boxes of magnificent photographs of Alibi’s shows over the years. Countless glorious props, and files full of letters written with such care and attention to detail. And it all adds up to make a very vivid picture of a company with such heart, skill and talent. I should add that all those precious props have gone to great new homes, and the papers and photos are being archived, so that others can learn from what we have done. Ripples. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Dropping a stone into the water and watching the ripples… 

This whole process has taken me right back to the very beginning of my time with Alibi. I was 23 and I had an audition, for Tim, in what is now a sparkling new studio in our Emmanuel Hall home, and which was then a rather ramshackle and crowded storage space. That was the day that set the ball rolling. And I will never stop thanking my lucky stars for being here all these years, and for the road that led me here. 

One of things that I love most about making theatre is the wonderful alchemy that occurs when a whole bunch of people work together to make a thing happen. I love looking at a single moment in a show and realising how many hands have been at work. There was a short section in Falling, some of you may remember it, when a mother and daughter built a bridge together on stage. It would make me catch my breath every time, as they stepped up onto the completed bridge together. Held in that one moment – Daniel Jamieson’s beautiful writing, Trina Bramman’s glorious construction, Tom Johnson’s heart stopping music, moving performances from Jordan Whyte, Amy Blair and Thomas Fripp, Marcus Barlett’s brilliant lighting, Elaine Faulkner’s smooth as butter production management. And the list goes on. Mary Attewell will have set up the structures that allowed us all even to be in the same room at the same time, Annie Chave will have ensured that the team were happy where they were staying, Annemarie MacDonald will have filled the auditorium… and on, and on, for moment after moment, with practitioner after practitioner, show after show, year after year. So many people, all together, always serving our audience, and the story (the show’s story, and Alibi’s story). It’s humbling. And I have learned so much from so many. 

It feels important to mention the recent fate of the company – the grief and anger we have felt at the loss of Alibi’s regular Arts Council funding and the impact that might have on so many thousands of children. The company won’t look the same, but I will always remember that over the years we have landed astronauts in schools, flown cats over the moon, sent cows through supermarket aisles, flown angels with crows, brought unicorns to life and thrown custard pies galore. No one can take that away and I will hold on tight to the thought of all those resulting ripples. 

After all we have been through in this last year, I can’t tell you how immensely proud I am that this isn’t the end for Alibi, when it so easily could have been. Far from it. Debbie Bucella’s deep resilience and resounding resourcefulness led her to dream up Alibi’s Centre for the Imagination. A bright new beginning. Debbie becomes the Director of the Centre (after being Alibi’s Executive Director for several years) and is our continued example of serving our community and serving the story. She will be surrounded by a cracking team of wonderful women – Ruth Weyman, Hattie Collins and Rachael Duthie. Over the years our Alibi office has been filled with so much laughter, even in the hardest of times. It’s made anything seem possible and I know, absolutely, that the laughter will continue. I shall leave it to the team to tell you all about the Centre, in the coming weeks, but I will say that our children need this and they need it now. 

I’m not completely disappearing just yet. As well as teaching in Exeter University’s Drama Department, I’ll be on the sidelines at Alibi, just for now, as a Creative Advisor. And I can’t wait to see things grow. At a moment, last year, when things were feeling very hard (and there were quite a few such moments), Ruth bought each of us a small yellow badge, printed with the words ‘Our story goes on…’. I will continue proudly wearing mine and cheering Alibi on all the way.