Ambassador and Patron Ella Glendining

Ella Glendining has become ambassador and patron of Total Ensemble taking time out of her busy movie-making schedule to lend her brilliant mind and experience as a consultant.

She is a Writer/Director dedicated to telling authentic disabled stories.

In 2024 she received a BAFTA nomination for her feature documentary ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’

She was a recipient of the BFI and Chanel Filmmaker awards 2023, celebrating ‘creative audacity’, and was named a BAFTA Breakthrough 2023.

Ella is currently writing a historical drama for the BFI called CURIOSITIES OF FOOLS. (See article below).

She is also an Access Coordinator, assisting disabled talent in the Film and TV industry get their access needs met.

Exclusive for Screen Daily by Wendy Mitchell 18.8.23

Ella Glendining talks plans for fiction feature debut ‘Curiosities Of Fools’ 

Ella, touring the festival circuit with her documentary Is There Anybody Out There?, is now at first-draft script stage on her fiction feature debut, Curiosities Of Fools. Janine Marmot of Hot Property Films, who she also worked with on the doc, is producing and the project has funding from the BFI Film Fund. Glendining,  a 2020 Screen Star of Tomorrow says “It’s a period drama about the life of a court dwarf in the 1600s. It’s about his journey to overcome his internalised ableism and finding community within the confines of thje palace.”

(Ella) is “very excited about casting… there are so many incredible disabled actors out there, some are very successful but there are far more who just haven’t had the opportunities yet.” 

She’s inspired by an inclusive theatre group, Total Ensemble Theatre Company that she used to act with, “where I drew inspiration from for this story.”

The following is a quote from Ella’s speech at a Total Ensemble fundraising performance in 2017:

“Total Ensemble sounded really interesting to me, so I decided to go to a rehearsal, just to observe. I mean it when I say that nothing could have prepared me for what would ensue. It was impossible for me to retain my, at the time, natural defensiveness and general scepticism and that was thanks to the genuine unity, creativity, passion and total respect that exists within the ensemble. But what really drew me in was the powerful and innovative work produced at each rehearsal by the performers, led by Rebecca Chapman who is incredible. Bex works tirelessly to nurture and encourage the very best from each cast member and the company as a whole. In Total Ensemble, there is no element of shying away from truth. There is magic in the room at every rehearsal, which translates through each performance, and even though I am no longer part of the cast, I carry with me the warmth and the strength that Total Ensemble has brought into my life. Art like this and this type of community gives me hope that there can be a future in which everyone has a place, and everyone is equal.”