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A group of artists as diverse as their subject matter… meeting… talking… eating…exploring…

Check out Divergency’s Autumn programme below. Starting with the second Mixology – a group meal and discussion; followed by an exploration of critical writing; and finishing with a Live Art workshop, and an invitation to a performance by Stacy Makishi.

Tue 18 Sep 6-9pm 2018 | Z-arts | FREE

Group meal + discussion: MIXOLOGY
Challenging the barriers encountered by artists of colour exploring Live Art. A group meal + discussion, with guest Tarik Elmoutawakil.

In May 2014, we invited a diverse group of artists to come together for a meal, a glass of wine and a conversation about Live Art and cultural diversity. And so, Divergency was born…

A gathering of like-minded people, over the last 2 years we have eaten (plenty), drunk (even more) and talked, sometimes even argued (too much). We’ve also done workshops, seen and put-on performances and sown the seeds for a new crop of work.

Now we’d like to mix things up — and we’d like to invite you to join us in exploring, talking, watching, and making Live Art. There’ll be food, there’ll be talk, there’ll be a bit of performance — and we might even be mixing our drinks…

About Tarik Elmoutawakil
Tarik Elmoutawakil is an artist, programmer, and community organiser based at The Marlborough Theatre in Brighton since 2008. His recent public work is entitled ‘Brownton Abbey’, an Afro-Futures Performance Party that centres QTIPOC (queer, trans and intersex people of colour), in particular those with disabilities. Drawing on the divine energies of QTIPOC, Brownton Abbey reclaims and reinterprets QTIPOC spirituality and ritual, channelling it into an out-of-this-world party.

Tarik is fixated on themes of queer resistance, harnessing the elevation, celebration, and centring of Otherness. He is currently investigating the transformational power of both radically inclusive and radically exclusive spaces as modes of empowerment and social cohesion. Tarik is a keen public speaker on subjects such as ‘Tokenism’ and ‘Learning to Talk about Race’, and is invested in connecting connecting collectives, and amplifying the voices of marginalised people whose perspectives are usually unheard.

If you are an artist of colour, experienced, emerging or just plain curious about exploring live art, we would love for you to join us. To request a place, please email us at


Thu 25 Oct 6-9pm 2018 | Z-arts | FREE

How can artists and audiences sidestep the star rating format to give meaningful critical responses to watching performance? A workshop lead by Salome Wagaine.

This workshop is intended for artists and audiences looking to try out new ways of expressing joy, tedium, or something else entirely after watching a performance. Focussing on criticism that sits outside the star rating reviews format, the session will explore approaching critical writing in a way that makes room for the social context in which any show is made, through a combination of discussion and exercises.

About Salome Wagaine
Salome Wagaine is a writer and producer from London. Currently co-project managing Live Art UK’s Diverse Actions initiative (which works to support people of colour working within the live art sector), she will edit a publication at the end of the project’s three years. Outside of her work in theatre and performance, she has a cultural criticism newsletter and wrote and directed her first short film, Highlife, earlier this year.

If you are an artist of colour, experienced, emerging or just plain curious about exploring live art, we would love for you to join us. To request a place, please email us at


Tue 20 Nov  6-9pm 2018 | STUN Studio at Z-arts | FREE

Live Art Workshop with Stacy Makishi: KILLING TIME
Do you kill your creative ideas before they’re born? Do you notice that the more time you have, the less you get done? Are you constantly getting in your own way?

Introducing Killing Time!
This workshop that galvanizes participants to:
Move faster than think
Create faster than critique
Resist resistance
Pulverize procrastination.

Killing Time is a physical workshop that welcomes anyone who is curious about live art and performance. One must have a willingness to try out new ideas and an adventurous spirit to walk out into the unknown.

About Stacy Makishi
Hawaii born Stacy Makishi frolics with many forms including live art, film, visual art and physical theatre. She has performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall, TATE Modern and at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Stacy Makishi has over twenty years experience as a facilitator and has been carefully cultivating crafty ways to catch artists off-guard. She has taught at Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Wellesley College and University of Massachusetts and has been resident artist and guest lecturer at Queen Mary University, London.

If you are an artist of colour, experienced, emerging or just plain curious about exploring live art, we would love for you to join us. To request a place, please email us at

plus on Wed 21 Nov, 7pm at The Lowry | Pay What You Decide

Stacy Makishi: THE COMFORTER
Part ritual; part prayer; part rowdy revivalist rally, The Comforter is a rite of passage that reclaims spirituality and proposes a new perspective on church. Exchanging psalms and sacrament for 80’s/90’s pop culture, it draws inspiration from Twin Peaks and Ingmar Bergman and throws a kiss to George Michael.

To book PWYD ticket for THE COMFORTER:  Info here.


Tuesday 18 September     |      10am – 6.30pm 

How do we use digital platforms to create amazing theatrical experiences for young people and children? How do we incorporate digital technology into helping us tell stories and ignite imaginations?

Z-arts will host a digital masterclass, including sessions from three of the most inspiring companies making the most of digital technology in theatre, that will explore the incredible possibilities digital technology can bring to theatre and storytelling, and inspire making the best use out of digital technology in theatre.

Leading the key digital workshops are:

Tassos Stevens, Director of Coney, who will be discussing what the word ‘digital’ means and how, in actuality, it’s about people and how we connect with each other over different times and places. Looking at the technology most frequently used and why, and what models work best, this is an interactive session that will really get you thinking about new and exciting ways to communicate with others. There will be a chance to play some games to see how this works practically for customers and audiences.

Peter Higgin, Director of Enrichment & Punchdrunk Village at Punchdrunk, will be sharing insights into Punchdrunk’s approach to implementing digital technologies into the company’s ground-breaking practice. Peter will be talking through the nature of The Oracles project, a cross-platform storytelling project which won Columbia University’s Digital Dozen Break Through Award, digging deeper into the mechanics of the project and delving into the relationship between technology and live performance. The session will finish with a creative workshop that will allow participants to dream up their own ideas.

Ilya Van Autreve, Medialab Co-Ordinator and Assistant Director at KOPERGIETERY, Belgium, will be delivering an insight on how the Medialab of KOPERGIETERY works, exploring more about what the vision of KOPERGIETERY is in performing arts for young people and more precisely in relation to technology and media arts. This session involves a workshop with technologies that the Medialab are researching with right now (like livestreaming) or what they want to be working with in the near future (like Virtual Reality).
This masterclass is an opportunity to share your ideas and experiences, learn from others, and be inspired into revolutionising theatre and creative experiences.

The masterclass is being run by Z-arts ahead of its Big Imagination Festival in October 2019, which will focus on artistic work that uses digital content for young people. Z-arts and Big Imaginations are looking for new work to support and/or programme as part of this exciting festival.

Follow the link below for more information:

**Please note, this event is now sold out, but there is an opportunity to see a paid-for live stream of each masterclass, please see the information at the link below:

Our friends at Z-arts are hosting a Vital Spark roadshow on Wednesday 5 September. Vital Spark is a pioneering scheme by The Spark Arts for Children, Leicester.

The Spark Arts are looking for artists who identify as BAME, a person of colour and/or D/deaf or disabled to join them to create more diverse work for children and young people. Adel Al-Salloum (Director of The Spark Arts) and Tara Lopez (Creative Producer) will be travelling across the country to deliver informal networking events and are interested in meeting artists and companies interested in the programme.

Vital Spark is a four year programme which will work with artists and young people to understand how the arts, as a sector, can be more representative of and relevant to children today.

By supporting diverse artists and ideas, Vital Spark aims to shift the landscape of performance for children and young people. They will do so by questioning what stories we should be telling, how they should be told, and who should be telling them, and using this conversation to respond and act in a positive and immediate way.

The four-year programme will consist of
Vital Spark Development Programme: a yearly programme inviting a range of artists who identify as BAME, a person of colour and/or D/deaf or disabled to develop themselves and the sector by interrogating their practice and the environment within which it sits;
Ideas Fund: commissioning and supporting new, bold, exciting ideas for work more representative of children today;
Vital Spark Productions: producing two new pieces of high quality work that have the potential to tour nationally and internationally.

Applications are now open for the Development Programme and Ideas Fund for 2018-19. Follow the above links for more information, and come along to the Roadshow when it visits Z-arts on Wednesday 5 September.

Please follow the link below for more information and to register for your space:

Without Walls invites artists and companies to request support for the creation and touring of new outdoor work for presentation in 2019.

Without Walls supports the creation and touring of a range of exciting and ambitious outdoor projects of different genres, styles and forms by UK artists. Our main agenda is to support new work of the highest quality.

Artists are invited to submit proposals for the next round of Without Walls commissions, for new outdoor arts projects in any form which will premiere and tour in 2019.

Check the link below for full information and how to apply – deadline 5pm 4 September:

Commissioned by Dance Manchester and supported by Waterside Arts, Sustained Theatre up North, One Dance UK and by National Lottery funding through Arts Council England.

Fresh from Breakin’ Convention ’18, Manchester’s own Chad Taylor presents Awakening – using the intricacy of Hip Hop to explore how substance abuse infests and play tricks on the mind in.


This is a free event taking place on the Plaza at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF

30 mins approx.
Friday 20 July: 16:00 & 19:00
Saturday 21 July: 16:00 & 19:00


#Awakening #Refract18



Check out Chad Taylor’s website

Gael presents THE OTHER here in the STUN Studio on 29 June. Here she talks more about the work and what makes her tick!

How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I’m a writer, theatre-maker, performer and director born in the Amazon by a Brazilian mother and a French father. My theatre explores themes of identity, gender & migration through the perspective of women. I have 12 ethnicities.

Tell us a bit about the work you’ll be performing at STUN.
First time I’ll be performing with STUN and also first time bringing my own work to Manchester, looking forward to it!

What got you started?
Probably reading the play Antigone with my dad as a child, in the Amazon.

What was your big breakthrough?
Not sure breakthroughs exist… but an important moment was being offered to play the role of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

What’s the best advice you’ve had?
Keep working, keep focused and follow your instincts.

Can you describe your process?
It really depends on the project. But it always starts with a theme and a lot of research then experimenting the findings in the space, after that I make decisions on what material to use and find a structure. Then, it’s all about the re-drafts, lots and lots of them.

More about THE OTHER

Written and Performed by Gael Le Cornec
Directed by Ben Samuels
Produced by The Footprint Project

Chicago, Physical Festival – Thurs 7- Sat 9, 7pm
Isle of Wight, quay.arts – Sunday 17th, 6pm
Sheffield, Migration Matters Festival – Wed 20th 7pm
York, York Theatre Royal – Thurs 28th 7.45pm
Manchester, Z-arts & STUN – Sustained Theatre Up North – Fri 29th 7.30 BOOK TICKETS

Twitter: @gaellecornec
Facebook: @footprintpro

An award-winning show about war and refuge, written and performed by French Brazilian artist Gael Le Cornec.

29 Jun | 7.30pm
Tickets £9 / £7

“Unbearably powerful and moving.” ★★★★ The Scotsman

The Other – Trailer from Gaël Le Cornec on Vimeo.

Unicef estimates 30 million children are fleeing brutal violence, extreme poverty or both.

Like the others, one night young Mana escapes the war-torn Redyellow planet on a shooting star. During her journey across the universe, imagination is her best defense in the struggle for survival. Will Mana ever arrive to her dreamland, the beautiful blue planet?

Embark on a disturbing coming-of-age, award-winning show (Edinburgh Fringe 2016), overflowing with poetry, strange creatures and stunning imagery.

“Stunning. Imaginative, emotionally powerful and aesthetically beautiful.” 
★★★★★ Broadway Baby

“Heart achingly funny… a humble low-fi yet dazzling affair” 
★★★★ The Skinny


Presented in STUN Studio at Z-arts
Running time: 65 minutes
Produced by The Footprint Project
Directed by Ben Samuels

STUN (Sustained Theatre Up North) partner up with long-time collaborators Fade to Black Film Festival and the Mbari Group to present a series of feature-length films under the banner ‘Fade to Black Season – Generations‘.


dtrt1 Generation Revolution thumbnail concerning-violence-header-image

Taking place over three Friday evenings, from November 25th, audiences can see films that in some way chronicle and examine how race relations have changed from the 1950s to the present day. There will be Q&As and talks alongside each film that will tap into current debates and discuss the political situation at hand. STUN Studio is the perfect venue for this, as one of Manchester’s few spaces dedicated to BAME film, theatre and current political debate. Fade to Black is Manchester’s only Black Film Club specialising in Black Films.


Friday December 9th

7pm – 10pm | STUN Studio at Z-arts

From the director of The Black Power Mixtape comes a bold and fresh visual narrative on Africa, based on newly discovered archive material covering the struggle for liberation from colonial rule in the late ’60s and ’70s, accompanied by text from Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. Narrated by Lauryn Hill.

“Archival footage provides a damning indictment of European imperialism from the director of ‘The Black Power Mixtape.’”


”Concerning Violence is one of the best documentaries to hit this year’s Sundance. It also acts as an excellent companion piece to We Come As Friends, another great doc about imperialism in Africa that’s been playing the fest. It stands alone both as a work of history, sociology, psychology, and philosophy.”

Movie Mezzanine


SPOKEN WORD THEATRE at Contact, Manchester November 12th

Poetry and theatre combine to explore how displacement narratives shape people’s concepts of home in the British context.

On the same morning the Government unleashes ‘Go Home’ buses on the streets of London, four strangers find themselves detained together following a raid at a train station. As they speculate on the reasons for their detention and react to their predicaments and each other, their individual stories unravel a tale of subtle prejudices, displacement narratives not limited to migration as well as diverse coping mechanisms.

Ilé la wa, which means ‘we are home’ in Yoruba, explores what happens when your idea of home conflicts with your reality.

The play features writing from Tolu Agbelusi, Tshaka Campbell, Russenï Fisher, Jemilia Wisdom and Belinda Zhawi and performances by Tolu, Russenï, Belinda and Flo Wilson.

Plus a curtain-raiser performance from Young Identity.


Tolu Agbelusi is a Nigerian British poet, writer and performer with strong story telling skills. Her commissions have included the IWM and Theatre Royal Stratford East. Tolu is published internationally and has appeared on TV. She is a gentle but powerful writer who brings raw emotion that cuts deep.

Russenï Fisher is an explosive poet with exceptional performance ability. He has featured widely including at the Olympic Park, Southbank and as opening act for the Last Poets at the Love Box Festival 2015. He is definitely one to watch.

Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean British poet. She was a shortlisted Young London Poet Laureate for 2015/16 and has graced stages including Africa Writes, TATE Britain and Bestival. Her work explores her experiences of living in Zimbabwe and the role this has played in shaping her own narrative.

Flo Wilson is an actress, composer, director and storyteller with over 20 years experience. She has appeared on stage including at the Royal National Theatre, Royal Exchange, West Yorkshire Playhouse; and on screen in productions including Coronation Street, Fat Friends, Waterloo Road. Flo embodies her characters with an artistry that demands attention.


Home Is...ILÉ LA WA

£11 FULL // £6 CONCS. 

Suitable for all ages.
Supported by Arts Council England and Apples and Snakes.

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Yinka presents CLAY here in the STUN Studio on 28 October. Here she talks more about the work and what makes her tick!

How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I am a Flamenco dancer based between the UK and Spain. Recently much of what I am creating is centred around the relationship between Flamenco and other forms of expression. Dance has always been in my life but I came to Flamenco as an adult, after studying at University. I think this has given me a certain freedom when it comes to what I want to achieve with my dancing. I’m also at the very beginning of my creative experience as a dancer, and I have a sneaky feeling it might go off in an unexpected direction! Having said that my place of departure will always be flamenco, this complex and rich art form which I continue to study and train in.

Tell us a bit about the work you’ve been making at STUN.
CLAY is a very special piece of work, it’s really the meeting of Asha Thomas and myself. Asha is an incredible contemporary dancer with a wealth of experience and when she discovered Flamenco she was fascinated by it. In our conversations we were really interested in exploring what it was in Flamenco that called us so much, specifically for her as and African American and for me as a Black British woman of African and Caribbean descent. This show is our excavation into what might be in our collective ancestral or genetic memory that has made flamenco seem so relevant to us. Or maybe the question is what is in flamenco that makes so much sense to us?

What got you started?
Following our numerous conversations, we decided to just get into the studio and see what happened. We didn’t want to put any pressure on ourselves to turn it into a show, it really was like a meeting in the studio and we liked what we were coming up with. The first time we got in the studio was in the summer of 2014, it wasn’t till a year later that we were able to get back to it and then now. So it’s been quite an organic process.

What was your big breakthrough?
Playing around with the bata de cola (train dress) one day I realised there was a brilliant way of epitomising the confluence of cultures, beliefs and rituals through one image. This very strong image is something we are using in the piece.

What’s the best advice you’ve had?
Trust and Believe!

Can you describe your process?
Processes change for me according to the project. This collaboration with Asha was my first experience of working with contemporary dance and it really opened me up to working from improvisation and given the nature of this piece, also work from the most natural place for movement. I’m co-founder of dotdotdot dance, all three of us are flamenco dancers and (maybe I should say until very recently) the process had been much more structured, musically and technically you’re often working within a given structure. Creating CLAY has been quite a challenging process of unlearning positioning, letting go and working from almost a far more instinctive and visceral place. I think the interesting thing for me as I start to create more work is to define the process that works best for me. To be continued!

More about CLAY

Artists: Yinka Esi Graves and Asha Thomas
Musical director/ guitarist: Guillermo Guillen
Artistic advisor: Chloé Brulé

11/12 October: Chateauvallon, France
28 October: STUN, Manchester, UK BOOK TICKETS
4/5 November: Mes de Danza, Seville Spain


Twitter: @YinkaEsiGraves

Presented by Word of Warning, STUN + Black Gold Arts Festival


Thursday 6 October 2016, 6-10pm

Join us on Thursday 6 October for an evening of the different in Hulme — a unique insight into eight new works in various stages of development, from first sketches to ready-to-go shows…

Feat. Maya Chowdhry, Jamil Keating, Chanje Kunda, Afreena Islam, Cheryl Martin, Chelsea Morgan, Toni-Dee Paul and Yvonne Shelton.

From the earth beneath our feet to the stars in our skies, an evening of emerging works by a group of artists as diverse as their subject matter. Quantum mechanics, homelessness, food and sex brought together in a series of tabletop performances, installations and sit-down shows.

Installation, 6-8.30pm. FREE

Jamil Keating | Asteroid RK1
Chelsea Morgan | Tented
Yvonne Shelton | Testimony

Tabletop Trio, 6pm. £6/3

Maya Chowdhry | Peas on Earth
Afreena Islam | Daughters of the Curry Revolution
Toni-Dee Paul | My Father’s Kitchen

Double Bill, 8.30pm. £6/3

Chanje Kunda | Superposition
Cheryl Martin | Who Wants to Live Forever (extract)

Venue + Booking Details for Installation
Date: Thursday 6 October 2016, 6-8.30pm
Venue: Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA
Tickets: FREE no booking required, come + go as you please.
Venue (Z-arts) Tel: 0161 232 6089

Venue + Booking Details for Tabletop Trio
Date: Thursday 6 October 2016, 6pm (very limited capacity)
Venue: Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA
Tickets: £6/3, available from Mon 19 Sep.
Venue (Z-arts) Tel: 0161 232 6089

Venue + Booking Details for Double Bill
Date: Thursday 6 October 2016, 8.30pm
Venue: Z-arts (incl STUN Studio), 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA
Tickets: £6/3, available from Mon 19 Sep.
Venue (Z-arts) Tel: 0161 232 6089

Access Information

Divergency is primarily an adult-focussed event, some works will not be suitable for younger viewers (i.e. under 18s). It takes place in a number of different spaces and formats — some seated, some standing, some spoken word, some visual, some limited capacity, some participatory. We apologise but some of the work may not be wheelchair accessible. For specific age and access information please email or call 0161 232 6086.


Divergency is an ongoing artist development programme supported by hÅb +STUN; supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. | Header image: Chanje Kunda | #Divergency | Black Gold Arts Festival

Thursday 29 September 2016 | 6.30 – 9pm | STUN Studio at Z-arts

Please Note: We expect this showing to be very busy and limited space is available. Please book in advance where possible to avoid disappointment.

Inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU recounts the eventful summer day in 1989 when a young law firm associate named Barack Obama tried to woo lawyer Michelle Robinson during a daylong date.

“92% fresh”Tomatometer

“A tremendous walk-and-talk romance that would work just fine devoid of context. But it’s that context that puts it over the top – into “best of the year” territory.” – J. Olson – Cinemixtape

“…perceptive, intelligent, entirely credible imagining of how these two very bright young lawyers broke the ice during a long afternoon and evening in Chicago in 1989.”The Hollywood Reporter

BOOK TICKETS NOW £7/£5 concs.


STRIKE A POSE: Dance Cinema Event
7 Oct | 7.30pm
Tickets £10 / £6
Please note, this event is now sold out – call Z-arts Box Office on 0161 232 6089 to be added to a wait list. 

Black Gold Arts Festival with the help of Queer Media, has bagged the Northwest premiere of Strike A Pose.

What does it take to express yourself? The surprising and moving story of Madonna’s most famous troupe of dancers.

In 1990, seven young male dancers – 6 gay, 1 straight – joined Madonna on her most controversial tour. On stage and in the iconic film Truth or Dare they showed the world how to express yourself. Now, 25 years later, they reveal the truth about life during and after the tour. Strike a Pose is a dramatic tale about overcoming shame and finding the courage to be who you are.

In a one-off special event taking pace in the STUN Studio at Z-arts, this screening of the film will be accompanied by a spectacular dance piece choreographed by rising star Natasha Gooden and performed by Manchester favourites House of Ghetto.

Stike A Pose_Smaller image_STUN

Praise for Strike A Pose
“Resilience and spirit come through strongly” — The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney
“An uplifting survival tale.” — The Playlist/Indiewire, Jessica Kiang
“A perfect love song by Gould and Zwaan to the exceptional men those boys turned out to be.” — The Huffington Post, E. Nina Rothe

Black Gold Arts Festival is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Supported by STUN, Contact, Commonword, and Divergency.

Strike A Pose website
Twitter: @StrikeAPoseDocu


BGAF footer

This was a speech delivered by Tanzil Chowdhury on behalf of the Northern Police Monitoring Project at Fade to Black’s screening of ‘The Hard Stop‘ at STUN Studio at Z-arts on the 29th July, 2016.


“I’d like to first start by talking very briefly about “truth.”

For many thousands of years, thinkers from around the world and throughout time have tried to determine what we mean by the truth- whether there is some kind of independent, objective reality out there and how we go about determining this objective reality. This branch of philosophy is typically called epistemology.

Some philosophers however, contest that there is an objective reality out there or that, while there might be, it is not possible for human beings to determine that objective reality.

Some of those people say we have to stop talking about truth therefore and have to start talking about discourses or narratives.

Discourses or narratives aren’t about trying to resemble truth (as they would doubt such a thing exists) but are about how we describe things and events and produce meaning for those things and events. Most importantly however, narratives are necessarily linked to power.

So the way a discourse or narrative is shaped necessarily reflects some power imbalance present.

This seems a much more appropriate way to understand how the state and media frame events and people- events like deaths by the police and those people who are its victims. Discourses and narratives therefore, are not only not about truth, but importantly reflect how these institutions, like the state, media and police reflect the power differences between them and the public whose opinions are shaped by these very discourses.

So when we talk about anything the police does, we need to recognise that the police are producing their meaning of what these events and people mean.

I imagine I am preaching to the converted when I now describe how Mark Duggan was vilified almost immediately after his execution.

So firstly, Police told the media that there had been a ‘shootout’, thus insinuating that Mark had a gun- and then later explicitly came out to the media confirming this. This was affirmed later by the shooter, V53, who said he was 100% sure Mark possessed a firearm. There was also the now infamous photo of a ‘hard faced Mark Duggan’ which was actually a cropped image of Mark mourning the passing of his daughter- the cropped version was published across the tabloid press with accompanying sensationalist headlines. At the Public Inquiry, a police officer from the witness box described Duggan as being “among Europe’s most violent criminals.”

Now a few days after the killing, the IPCC said there was no evidence that Mark had shot first. The IPCC said a few days after that, that they may have misled journalists on suggesting Mark had fired shots. Please take a moment to appreciate how catastrophic a blunder this was- but instead as a naive public we accepted this as a admirable concession. These public bodies need to be held to an incredibly high standard given the power we instil with them. Most conclusively however, in 2014 an inquest found that Duggan had not been carrying a weapon- though remarkably, his killing was deemed lawful.

Let’s be clear however. The moment that the term gang or gangsters had been uttered in the same sentence as Mark’s name, the damage had been done and his murder had been seen, not as another tragic episode of the institutionally racist police force’s vilification and disproportionate surveillance, stopping and searching and harassment of the Black community, but as the heroic bobbies ridding our streets of another gangster.

Only now, despite the years of research (much conducted by local academics such as Patrick Williams) are MPs beginning to recognises the toxic and racist labelling of groups of young black men as gangs. Let’s be honest, gang is used because its slightly less acceptable today to say that the police are killing, arresting and harassing black people.

This following quote from the Institute of Race Relations sums it all up saying:

“On examining deaths that have occurred over the years involving members of the African-Caribbean community in particular, it becomes clear that, in the immediate aftermath of death, information is placed in the public domain, citing unnamed police sources, which casts doubt on the character of the deceased, tending to frame him as a violent and dangerous black criminal. 

Mark Duggan had already been labelled a ‘gangster’ or ‘suspected gangster’ and the Daily Telegraph and the Sun, amongst others, had published stories that he was linked to ‘Manchester gangsters’.[13] The Daily Mail went even further claiming that ‘Duggan was a “crack dealer” linked to a string of feared gangs’.[14]”

The police and state don’t deal in truth, they deal in narratives.

Final two points – often families like the Duggan’s, Alder’s, Rigg’s, Graingers etc have sometimes been labeled paranoid, conspiracy theorists whenever they level attacks about how the police and state surveillance their families and campaigns.

But then 2 things happened.

The first is that it emerged that Doreen Lawrence (the mother of Stephen) and her family had been spied upon by undercover police.

The second is that of Hillsborough. What the Hillsborough Inquiry illustrated is how the State and its agencies shaped narratives to mitigate or avoid accountability. For many, it had taken the phenomenon of state cover up and collusion, spying and sureveille-ancing out of the realm of conspiracy and into the realm of possibility.

It’s therefore essential that we all re-think Duggan, Alder, Smiley Culture, Joy Gardner, Anthony Grainger, Habib Paps Ullah etc.

Linking US and UK & the ‘History of ideas’

I want to firstly mention  a common criticism levelled at the Black Lives Matter Movement. Firstly, to those that say All Lives Matter – African Americans comprised 15% of all police deaths in 2015, but only make 2% of the population. So at the very least, race plays a part.

Now while there are differences with the hypothetical I am about to present, imagine for a moment saying to Jews in the 1930s while they were being systematically executed, All Lives Matter. Or saying All lives matter to Bosniain Muslims while 800 of them were executed in Srebenicia.

Of course, all lives matter.

But in the states, Black lives have never really mattered. African Americans are underrepresented in key areas of employment, overrepresented in the mass private prison industrial complex and let’s not forget that the US was built on the backs of their ancestors. And perhaps most significantly, the only time the US government bombed its OWN citizens, was a black neighbourhood in Philadelphia in 1985.

But why do these remote historical things matter?

It is important to understand how ideas repeat themselves throughout time, albeit with different contents, contexts and situations.

In 2015, more African Americans were killed by the police than were lynched during the worst year of the racist Jim Crow laws. This is liberal America. And there are also the appalling responses to natural disasters in predominately black areas in the US, the selective grief of those they mourn, the US media’s sanitisation of terrorists going on shooting rampages in black churches, stop and searches etc etc.

But to quote Akala’s fire in the booth, ‘That’s America, This Britain, something similar, some different.”

1558 deaths have occurred in police custody or contact since 1990, 60 which were by way of shooting. Indeed in 2012, greater Manchester police killed Anthony Grainger not too far away from here.

500 Black and Asian people have died in suspicious circumstances while in state detention in the past 24 years according to a study conducted last year by the institute of relations.

In Greater Manchester, as a black person, the moment you step out of this building, you are almost 3 times more likely to get stopped and searched than your white counterparts.

And as I speak to my friends, many whom are respected community organisers and youth workers in this area, Operation Excalibur, the GMPs ‘gang’ program, seem to be adopting a tactic of ‘stop and harassing’ of predominately black youth in the area.

And of course there is also a context too in the UK that the Black Lives Matter UK movement will soon articulate- not of slavery of the black population, but of colonialism, of socially engineered poverty, of criminalisation following the Windrush and gentrification- which I won’t go into now.

The point am trying to make is this- we have to stop looking at these events in their historical context and instead start looking at them in their genealogical context. What do I mean by that?

It means that we have to stop presuming that just because time passes, we think ideas and the society and institutions they create necessarily progress and get better.

They don’t.

Ideas, unless they are challenged, just reformulate themselves which is why in 2015 more people were killed in liberal America, than lynched in the worse years of racially segregated American.

The content, contexts and situations of these ideas of oppression may change, but the ideas endure.

Only once we know that, will we stop relying on these same ideas, and the institutions and paradigms they produce, and will we begin to emancipate us.

No Justice, No Peace, Rest in Power Mark Duggan.”

Tanzil Chowdhury


Black Gold Arts Festival [BGAF], is based in Manchester and showcases outstanding work from Black and minority ethnic artists in theatre and dance. Now in its second year, the festival will present a programme of work at Contact and STUN Studio [Sustained Theatre Up North] the first week of October 2016.

Black Gold Arts Festival |  6 October – 8 October, 2016

A celebration of northern black performance that aims to change the face of theatre. Bringing together established and emerging black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) artists from dance, theatre, and live and performance art, with new work, critically acclaimed pieces, and some stuff just for fun.

A new force, led by artists, working for artists. For more information please contact: |

Follow @BGAfestival for updates, news and opportunities!

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Supported by STUN, Contact, Commonword, and Divergency.

Back in April, we caught up with the Artistic Director of ZENDEH, Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh, as the group undertook some R&D for their new show, TRANSIT, in the STUN Studio Space. TRANSIT tours to Theatre in the Mill, Bradford this Saturday 11th June. 

How would you describe yourself and what you do?

Artistic Director (CEO) of ZENDEH, a national touring theatre company based in Newcastle connecting the personal with the political. ZENDEH is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio of Organisations. ZENDEH is also a facilitator and founding member of Creative Case NORTH, for more information search on Twitter #creativecase

Tell us a bit about the work you’ve been making at STUN.

It’s a pleasure to return to STUN, our in with our show CINEMA during 2015 was dearly appreciated. This year into 2016 the opportunity to do research and development on TRANSIT – it has been brilliant in exploring our early ideas on: King Lear, Father’s and Daughters, Iran Air flight 655, and what our freedoms mean in a world twisting with terror.

What got you started?

The generous gift of a childhood provided by me family, where they made time and space to share stories with me, from the mythical to the epic, to the miniature, and real: and in doing so created the conditions for my imagination to run riot and weave new limitless playgrounds to explore with everyone I came into contact with.

What was your big breakthrough?

I was awarded an Arts Council England Directing Traineeship Bursary 2001-2002 based at Leicester Haymarket Theatre, which is now the CURVE.

What’s the best advice you’ve had?

Never give up on your creativity, and do this by being patient, generous, dedicated to your craft: and be supportive of others.

Can you describe your process?

ZENDEH has a 7 stage process for making theatre that is director led: but they come into three themes; Experimentation of Form, Collaborative Production, and Touring in Residence. For more information on this please email ( Steven Gaythorpe Playwright & Producer at ZENDEH


More about: TRANSIT (work in progress commission)

Artist: ZENDEH
Director & Creator: Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh
Writer: Steven Gaythorpe
Choreographer: Nadia Ifkhar
Composer & Sound Designer: Mariam Rezaei Production
Manager: Stacey Choudhury-Potter
Associate Designer: Jahead Choudhury-Potter
Associate Lighting Designer: Louise Anderson
Projections: ZENDEH

Cast to be announced on the ZENDEH website ( May 2016

Theatre in The Mill, Saturday 11th June 2016, 7.30pm
Theatre in The Mill, Bradford, Theatre in the Mill, Off Shearbridge Road, Bradford (Post code for Sat Navs: BD7 1NX)

Reduced rate tickets can be bought online
Box Office Phone Number: 01274 233200

**Also Touring February – March 2017**

Connect Online

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(all images courtesy of Ella Mayamothi Sommeil)


Contact STUN’s Director of Space, Garfield Allen, for details on how to book or hire STUN Studio:

Tuesday 14 June 2016 | 6.30 – 8.30pm | STUN Studio at Z-arts

Queen Njinga, set in the 17th century, tells the true story of the African Warrior Queen of Congo/Angola who fought a 40 year war against slavery. With bravery, perseverance and determination, Queen Njinga fought a long battle to gain the throne and to then lead her people in a fierce battle against the Portuguese army for national freedom.

“a well-made, action-packed historical film”

“a quite remarkable story, and I’m happy that today’s Angola  made a very nice / high quality film to tell it.”

Recommended age 18+

Download the press release


Friday 17 June | 7:30pm | STUN Studio at Z-arts
**includes post show discussion**

Phina Oruche is having an identity crisis.

Best known for her role as aloof supermodel Liberty Baker in ITV1 drama Footballers’ Wives, Phina, now in her 40s, has started to question who she really is.

Spending more than two decades of her life taking on other people’s identities – first as a New York fashion model and later as an award-winning TV actress – has taken its toll.
Her new one-woman show, Identity Crisis, was written as part of her Masters degree and although it is based upon her own life story, it explores identity struggles that are common to all of us.

Through its low-key staging, the show provides a perfect vehicle for Phina’s larger than life characterisations. From Amy Tan, a working class white girl with a Scouse brow and a taste for spray tans and black lads to Antonio de Silva, a football crazy Italian living in LA who misses his mum, Phina brings a colourful cast of eight characters to life, all of whom are having their own identity crises.

The tale begins with the real life story of the sudden death of Phina’s 19-year-old niece in her house in 2011 and the ensuing press intrusion.

Phina said: “After years of identity struggles, writing this show has given me the freedom to play characters I would never get cast as…”

Audience Feedback:
“A stunning bravura virtuoso debut…”
“…as good as anyone I have ever seen on screen or stage…”


Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester M15 5ZA
0161 232 6089

Recommended age 14+

Hear Phina talk about the show on BBC Radio Derby

Nubian Times preview
Twitter: @PhinaOru

Phina_ohJospehine Phina_ohglory Phina_comedy

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Playwright, director and theatre-maker Naomi Sumner has been in the STUN Studio space developing her new show ONE FLESH. We caught up with her to ask how it has been going…

How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I am a playwright, director and theatre maker who creates work exploring the difficult questions created by living in contemporary British society. These include issues relating to sexual orientation and sexual politics, the influence of religion in a “secular society” and non-nuclear families.

Tell us a bit about the work you’ve been making at STUN.
We have been rehearsing my new play ONE FLESH at STUN. This is a play which explores Evangelical Christians beliefs and practices relating to marriage including same sex marriage. The debate Churches are having re homosexuality and same sex marriage being widely publicised in the media so it is topical, especially as the LGBT History month theme this year is Religion, Spirituality and Philosophy. However, I wanted to make it personal and focus on how these big discussions and dominant attitudes affect individual LGBT Christians and their families.

What got you started?
I have always been interested in drama and acting and was a member of National Youth Theatre before realising I was better off the stage than on! I did a BA Hons in Performing Arts at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts specialising in Community Theatre and spent ten years in the participatory arts sector. I began writing for the stage in 2013 after attending classes led by award winning playwright Billy Cowan.

What was your big breakthrough?
In 2014 my play PASS was selected for the Manchester 24:7 Theatre Festival which meant my work was seen by a much wider audience than before including industry representatives and artistic directors of producing theatre’s in the North West such as Bolton Octagon.

What’s the best advice you’ve had?
Once you’ve got a first draft get it read aloud by actors – plays are meant to be heard!

Can you describe your process?
I don’t think I can actually put it into words (which sounds bad for a writer) but it involves a lot of time alone in my bedroom, drinking tea and staring at a screen…sometimes I venture out to a café with a notebook and pen – I do always start projects by doing a lot of handwritten work first before going near the laptop.

More about: ONE FLESH by Naomi Sumner (Writer , Director and Producer)

CALEB: Seth Daniels
LEAH: Rachel Creaer
ESTHER: Victoria Tunnah
NATALIE: Fiona Organ
DAN: Barney Cooper
HANNAH: Lucy Hird

Co-Producer/ Technician: Mike Heath
Backstage crew: Tom Byrne

Touring 27th Feb to 5th March 2016, various Venues including The Kings Arms Salford, Nexus Arts Café and Liverpool Quaker Meeting House. 

Tickets via

Keep in touch with Naomi online: 
Twitter: @naomisumner AND @onefleshtheplay

Check out the ONE FLESH rehearsal VLOGS:

Cast Photo High social media
Contact STUN’s Director of Space, Garfield Allen, for details on how to book or hire STUN Studio:

Panel Discussion and Q & A | Sun 28 Feb | 6pm

On the same day as the Academy Awards ceremony is due to take place in the United States, this event will debate the #OscarsSoWhite controversy with a discussion panel of actors, distributors and directors.

OscarsSoWhite is a free event, Sunday 28th February 6pm, at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge St, Manchester M1 5BY

The Fade to Black Film Festival organisation will offer a discussion about the recent criticism of a lack of diversity in mainstream TV and Film industry. #Oscarsowhite became a trending topic after Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee said they wouldn’t attend this year’s Oscars due to the absence of diversity in the awards nominees. Through some teasers and fragments of films that weren’t nominated in the Oscars we will explore what was missed and we will discuss why it was missed.

This controversy has found its mirror image issue in the UK industry with Black and Ethnic minority artists with significant numbers having to travel to the States to find work. Of this, Fade to Black artistic director Lwimbo Kunda said, ‘Its interesting that while its not uncommon to see Black British acting talent on television and film, you’re as likely to see them in American productions. That’s not always for positive reasons.’

Kinofilm Festival is back for its 13th edition thanks to support from faithful cultural and venue partners and a truly dedicated Festival Team. The Festival Team is delighted to have the opportunity to put forward this panel discussion in collaboration with Fade to Black Film Festival to present, analyse and discuss the structural barriers for Black contemporary film production and distribution in the UK and abroad.

Fade to Black is Manchester’s only Black Film Club specialising in Black Films. It is a partnership between The Mbari Group and Sustained Theatre Up North

Links: boycott_us_569bd4bce4b0b4eb759eb364


Saturday 12 March 2016 | 7:30pm | Z-arts

Immerse yourself in the majesty, passion and music of West Africa in this epic story of Mali.

Discover a royal family, torn apart by jealousy, plots and exile and a prophecy which hinges on the most reviled woman in the kingdom. Can her child bring the kingdoms of West Africa together?

Jan Blake, one of the world’s best-loved storytellers, together with two exceptional West African musicians, Kouame Sereba and Raymond Sereba, share a rarely told version of The Birth of Sundiata Keita, the visionary leader of the great Malian Empire. Songs of the Gban people, guitars, Nordic flutes, djembe drums and kalimbas and the extraordinary dodo mouth bow, cradle the story in an evocative soundscape.

The Old Woman, The Buffalo and The Lion of Manding is produced by Adverse Camber productions, one of the UK’s most celebrated storytelling companies. This tale reaches across the centuries, from its origins in 13th Century Africa to the recent conflicts of our own time when its telling was forbidden.  Enjoy a performance that is by turns delicate, dramatic, moving and truly uplifting; an epic tale of love, courage, faith and strength that has been told in Mali for many hundreds of years.

“An utterly compelling and passionate piece, with a voice and rhythm all of its own”
Festival at the Edge Storytelling Festival

“A rare and unique performance”
The Crick Crack Club

Running time: 2 hours 20 mins, including interval

(£10 / £8)
Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester M15 5ZA
0161 232 6089

Ticket Offer
Two for One ticket offer available both online and by calling the box office. When booking online, simply select your tickets and it will automatically deduct the cost of one ticket.

Recommended age 14+

Friday 12 February 2016 | 5.30pm | STUN Studio at Z-arts

Dating and the concept of love has changed so much over the last decade or so. Go back 50 years the man had to make the first move. But now dating is a commercial enterprise and a powerful emotional minefield. Online dating and social networking are the norm with the rise of dating websites and apps, like e-Harmony,, and of course, Tinder.

This no-holds-barred documentary from leading multi award winning British filmmaker Menelik Shabazz combines frank, intimate and humorous interviews alongside carnival footage and spoken word to explore modern relationships. The film focuses on the UK’s Black British community as a microcosm of British society. Individuals, groups, psychologists and comedians consider love, sex, intimacy and forgiveness

“Menelik Shabazz’s exploration of relationships in the UK’s black British community is laidback and likable” – The Guardian


Recommended age 18+

– Introduction by film maker Menelik Shabazz
6pm to 8pmLooking for Love (Approx running time 117 minutes)
8pm – Q&A
8.45pm – Fade to Black


Are you a BAME director/practitioner with an interest in becoming an Artistic Director of a producing theatre building?

If the answer is YES, then join Iain Bloomfield (Head of Arts and Artistic Director Theatre in the Mill), Javaad Alipoor (Artistic Director of Northern Lines) and Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway (Founder/Artistic Director of Artistic Directors of the Future) at the Artistic Directors of the Future development session at Theatre of the Mill.

The session will focus on pathways in becoming an Artistic Director, as well as the artistic development implemented at Theatre in the Mill, to demonstrate how this process provides a strong relationship with audiences.

This is a fun, informative and practical development session, set in a safe and informal environment to encourage discussion, brain-storming and networking.

At:  Theatre in the Mill, Off Shearbridge Road, Bradford, BD7 1NX
On: Tuesday 2 February 2016, 2-5pm.
Tickets: This is a free event but booking is essential –  BOOK NOW

For further information about Theatre in the Mill
, call 01274 233200 or email

About Artistic Directors of the Future

Artistic Directors of the Future is dedicated to increasing the number of BAME Artistic Directors in mainstream producing theatres across the UK. With the support of the Bush Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Young Vic Theatre and the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme, we aim to support, nurture and promote the existing pool of talented, culturally diverse theatre directors in the UK.

This initiative has been well received by many arts organisations including: Arts Council England, Theatre in the Mill, Royal Exchange Manchester, Curve Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Bush Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Unicorn Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Young Vic Theatre. / @adofthefuture

…with news of training, shows, and other special events. We hope to see you in 2016 – and thanks to everyone who joined us in 2o15.

Happy Holidays!

STUN_large_Waiting to Exhale

FADE TO BLACK & STUN Invite you to come and celebrate the 20th Anniversary film release of the 1995 box office sensation WAITING TO EXHALE, based on the Terry McMillan novel of the same name.

Reacquaint yourself with Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria and Robin as they navigate through their careers, family and romance…

WAITING TO EXHALE is an all African American cast (well apart from you know who!) and follows how four friends bond over the shortcomings in their love lives — namely, the scarcity of good men, relationships with married men, betrayal of an affair, divorce, but also the joy of finding new love… remember the scene when Gloria first meets Marvin and sashays her cute self across the road and says with the naughtiest grin, “Ooh, I hope he’s not still watching…he’s still watching.”

Friday 11 Dec | 18:30 | STUN Studio at Z-arts, M15 5ZA | £5
*includes buffet & bubbly*

Friday 4 December, 11.30am – 2pm
STUN Studio at Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, M15 5ZA


Benji Reid and Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) invite you to a rare critical dialogue,
A Question of Black Physical Theatre & Dance.

Over the past 30 years Black Physical Theatre & Dance has been delivered through the vision and politics of some of the world’s most interesting theatre makers, such as Denise Wong, Amani Naphtali, and Benji Reid. Whilst some archives exist, less has been documented about what one might call the engineering behind the art form, namely the energies and ideas motivating works in the Black Theatre & Dance canon such as Ragamuffin and Super Heroes.

Does a distinctive art form exist that is sufficiently unique and nuanced to be called Black Physical Theatre or Dance? What are its processes and products? Who are its champions and challengers?

Speakers include leading physical theatre practitioner Benji Reid; founder of the influential Black Mime Woman’s Trope, Denise Wong; and dramatist, writer (Ragamuffin), director and film maker Amani Naphtali. There will also be a film screening featuring artists Juliet Ellis, Amani Naphtali, Victor Romero, Robert Hilton, Diane Morgan (Nitro), Vicki Amedume (UpSwing), DeCypher (Auden Allen), and a live performance-in-progress by Michelle Scally Clarke, STUN’s Appetite commissioned artist.

11.30am Welcome: Garfield Allen, STUN
11.45 – 12.00pm Starter, Discussion: Masterclass
12.00 – 12.10pm Speaker, Benji Reid: Background to the project
12.10 – 12.30pm Performance-in-progress: Michelle Scally Clarke
12.30 – 12.45pm Round Table discussion
12.45 – 12.55pm Speaker: Denise Wong – Black Mime
12.55 – 1.15pm 
Round Table discussion
1.15 – 1.30pm Film screening
1.30 – 1.40pm Speaker: Amani Naphtali
1.40 – 2pm Round Table discussion
2pm Conclusion and Networking

Speaker Biographies
Benji Reid | | @benjireid
Benji Reid is a singular talent. His vision as Performer and Creative Director has made him an Award Winning and senior contributor to the Black Physical Theatre canon over the last 30 years. Having produced & performed over 30 cultural works for leading international cultural institutions led by The National Theatre, Birmingham Rep, PS122 (New York), + Sydney Opera House, Reid is without a doubt one of the most compelling cultural makers in contemporary British theatre.

“It’s director Benji Reid’s choreography and stage-pictures that are the real stars here. Inspired seemingly by everything from basketball itself to computer games, slow-motion replays, via architecture, geometry, and probably some abstruse sport theory of which I know nothing”.  – Andrew Haydon, Theatre Critic

Amani Naphtali | @Brixton_inc
Amani Naphtali is a trained dramatist, writer, director and filmmaker.  He was the founder member and Director of the groundbreaking Double Edge Theatre co and is currently Artistic Director of Brixton Inclusive. He is a dedicated exponent of the African Ritualistic genre and a pioneer of Multi Genre interdisciplinary practice. He has directed musicals, films and dance productions.

His plays include The Remnant, Valley of the Blind, Song of Songs, a multi art form, rap musical inspired by the Last Poets entitled Vibes from the Scribes and The Word Temple, a visionary performance piece inspired by Poetic Spoken Word. He also wrote and directed the experimental film, The Black Bohemians (1990) and a fiction film Circles of Fire (1997) which opened at The British Short Film Festival. His productions also include Ragamuffin (1988) Oval House, (1990) Hackney Empire (2002) Contact, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Birmingham Rep. Ragamuffin was one of the 80’s / 90’s most successful and groundbreaking theatre productions.

Denise Wong
Denise Wong joined Black Mime Theatre Company when it was founded in 1984, becoming Director in 1986. She directed all 16 of the theatre’s productions between then and 1997, including Mourning Song, Forgotten Heroes, E.D.R. and HEART. In 1990, she formed the Black Mime Women’s Troupe. She was instrumental in presenting notions of a Black British Mime Aesthetic. She has run the Streets Alive company since June 2001, directing the plays of the Main Company, and co-directing with Pippa Bailey The Little Match Girl, a site specific piece using pyrotechniques created by the World Famous.

Other work by Denise includes directing Driving Force for Union Dance Company and for Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble, Oya’s Choice in 1994, Thand ‘Abantwana in 1995 and Shango The God of Thunder in 1996. Before moving on to Streets Alive, Denise was Trainee Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Live performance-in-progress: Michelle Scally Clarke / Appetite Commission
Michelle Scally-Clarke is a Leeds-born writer and performer. She is a published poet with two novels I Am and She Is currently in print. Michelle has performed with some of the UK’s most recognised poets such as Linton Kwesi Johnson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Lemn Sissay and Simon Armitage, and has toured as a solo performer throughout the UK and internationally including America, Europe, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Michelle has also performed in theatre including productions Word Temple and Carnival Messiah in which she played the lead role Mama God.

Appetite was an open call for artists to respond viscerally, in ways that explore emotional and physical longing for an idea, place or thing, with a small commission and a week of mentoring with Benji Reid attached. This performance-in-progress is the result.

A Question of Black Physical Theatre
brings together a creative team led by Benji Reid and Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) to offer a selection of opportunities.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


Friday 27 November 2pm – 5pm

STUN Studio at Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, M15 5ZA

Ages 16+


For five full days a small group of artists have been playing, learning and exploring with leading physical theatre practitioner Benji Reid. This is your opportunity to share the results of this process in a free afternoon of showing and feedback.


Participating artists

Chanje Kunda | | @ChanjeKunda
Manchester based poet, writer and performance artist Chanje Kunda performs nationally and internationally. As a poet she has played alongside some of the most influential modern poets including Benjamin Zephaniah and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Chanje was most recently at STUN Studio at Z-arts with ‘Amsterdam’, and is currently under commission to BBC Radio 3.

Tania Camara | | @TaniaCamara2

Born in Lisbon, Portugal and currently a resident of Manchester, United Kingdom, Tania Camara creates work that challenges the concept of nationality, belonging and the black performing body. A graduate of the University of Chichester, her practice focuses on nationalism, patriarchy, double consciousness, memory, interaction, identity and communication, and international relations.

Debbie Bandara | | @Dabrhythm

Debbie is a professional dancer, choreographer and dance teacher working in the North West. Her choreography for performances and festivals are based on a variety of different styles ranging from Indian and African to Contemporary and hip-hop. A graduate from the Royal Academy of Dance, her work has been seen at Riverside Arts Theatre, Waterside Arts Theatre, Contact, Night and Day, Nantwich Arts Festival, Unity Theatre, One World Festival and Oily Cart to name a few.

Adam John Roberts |
A graduate from Liverpool John Moores University, Adam has performed in various contexts including on the BBC showcase with Strictly Come Dancing, the Backstreet Boys, and 12 Degrees North, and also participated in other projects with Cheshire Dance, Tmesis Theatre and DanceXchange. Following his MA, Adam wants to co-found an autism-specific integrated dance performance company which also offers performance opportunities, dance training and careers advice to autistic dancers.

More Information: A Question of Black Physical Theatre

Over the past 30 years Black Physical Theatre has been delivered through the vision and politics of some of the world’s most interesting theatre makers, such as Denise Wong, Amani Napthali, and Benji Reid. Whilst many of these archives have been chronicled there has been very little documented about what one might call the engineering behind the art form, namely the energies and ideas motivating works in the Black Theatre canon such as ‘Ragamuffin’ and ‘Super Heroes’.
– Is there a distinctive art form that is sufficiently unique and nuanced to be called Black Physical Theatre?
– What are its processes and products?
– Who are its champions and challengers?

A Question of Black Physical Theatre brings together a creative team led by Benji Reid and Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) to offer a selection of opportunities.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

**Last minute spaces now available – deadline to apply 12 noon Thursday 19 November**


If you are an artist living or working in the North West, there are two spaces available on a masterclass with Benji Reid, taking place at STUN Studio (at Z-arts, Manchester M15 5ZA) Monday 23 – Friday 27 November, 10am – 5pm each day.

This is a unique opportunity to work in a small group with leading physical theatre practitioner Benji Reid, offering you a chance to:
– share specific challenges in your artistic journey
– benefit from coaching from your peers
– work on and explore issues that are directly relevant to you.

The week will culminate in a small public sharing at 2pm on Friday 27 November, with feedback and discussion.

To apply please send us (*you can apply as an individual or as part of a group):
– A short summary of what you’d like to explore (max 200 words)
– an up-to-date CV
– any images or weblinks that feature your work.

Applications should be sent to Benji Reid, c/o, by 12 noon on Thursday 19 November.


Workshop Sharing:
Friday 27 November 2pm
STUN Studio at Z-arts

Artists and audiences are invited to join us for a small public sharing and feedback of the week-long Benji Reid masterclass.


More Information: A Question of Black Physical Theatre
Over the past 30 years Black Physical Theatre has been delivered through the vision and politics of some of the world’s most interesting theatre makers, such as Denise Wong, Amani Napthali, and Benji Reid. Whilst many of these archives have been chronicled there has been very little documented about what one might call the engineering behind the art form, namely the energies and ideas motivating works in the Black Theatre canon such as ‘Ragamuffin’ and ‘Super Heroes’.

– Is there a distinctive art form that is sufficiently unique and nuanced to be called Black Physical Theatre?
– What are its processes and products?
– Who are its champions and challengers?

A Question of Black Physical Theatre brings together a creative team led by Benji Reid and Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) to offer a selection of opportunities.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


Remember the dead and they live forever.

CINEMA is a new theatrical experience that explores the human and political aftermath of the Cinema Rex Fire in Abadan, Iran in 1978.

Performed and created by UK based Iranian artist, Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh, the play remembers the lives and people behind the numbers and the news stories. It was an event that changed Iran’s political course, and would lead to the revolution of 1979.

CINEMA is tender and explosive, interwoven with an original score, potent projections and delicious language.


ZENDEH creates award-winning, unforgettable theatre that connects the personal with the political.

After each show there will be a brief post-show discussion, we would love it if you would join us.

STUN @ Z-Arts

6 – 9 October, 7.30pm

10 October, 2pm

BSL Performance: 9 October

Tickets: £10 / £6 concs


We would like to invite you to our first Black Gold Arts Festival, celebrating the success of culturally diverse performances developed in partnership with Sustained Theatre Up North [STUN].

Black Gold Arts Festival features recent work by black artists from the North developed through Manchester’s Sustained Theatre Up North’s STUN Studio and produced around the city. All the shows are tour-ready, have been enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike, and have strong workshop and engagement packages.


BGAF_LOGO_B_WManchester is rich in culturally diverse performing arts talent, and STUN has been increasingly important in making sure that talent has the space to experiment and thrive. Besides celebrating this, we also want to support and to bring new BAME talent forward. So we want to throw a big arts party festival with just a sample of our awards-nominated and award-winning artists, and a seed commission for a culturally diverse newcomer.
To give folks even more reason to celebrate, we’d like to announce a £2,000 commission for a new work by a BAME Northern performance practitioner.For our first Black Gold Arts Festival, we have shows by four outstanding Mancunians:
For our first Black Gold Arts Festival, we have shows by four outstanding Mancunians: 


BOL_POSTER_3_copyBody of Light, by Darren Pritchard [Marcel Lenormand, Designer]

Light meets bodies in motion, all using a Kinect: Dance made both beautiful and accessible to everybody.

Tickets –





Alaska, by Cheryl Martin [Dir. Darren Pritchard] CHERLY_FLYER

Tells the story of a black perimenopausal lesbian’s descent into suicidal depression and her emergence from it.

“It is a devastatingly beautiful show, poetic narrative and heart achingly profound… people should go” Audience Member

Cheryl has won Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards as both writer [ Best Community Production,Heart and Soul, Oldham Coliseum] and director [Best Studio Production, Iron by Rona Munro, Working Girls/Contact], an Edinburgh Fringe First as co-director and producer of Traverse Theatre’s Breakfast Series The World Is Too Much, and this year a Lloyd’s Bank regional award for the immersive play she directed for Community Arts Northwest,Rule 35, and longlisted for the Polari Book Prize for her collection of poems, Alaska[Crocus/Commonword], the inspiration for this play

Tickets –


CHANJE_FLYERAmsterdam, by Chanje Kunda [Dir. Juliet Ellis, Movement Darren Pritchard]

Fusing spoken word, physicality and music, Amsterdam is a high-powered, supermodern 21st-century play of love and lust.

Seduced by the attractions of the city and a charming Surinamese man she met on holiday, Chanje embarks on a voyage into the unknown. What will be her fate?
Chanje Kunda is a poet, playwright and performance artist. Based in Manchester, she performs nationally and internationally. This show, Amsterdam, was nominated for Best Studio Production by the Manchester Theatre Awards after a national tour and rave reviews.

Tickets –


I Wish I Had A Moustache, by Keisha Thompson

a4_moustache__1_[Dir. Martin Visceral,

Movement Darren Pritchard]

Can you be a modern-day feminist and also feel the immemorial need to shave your legs? How much are we willing to consciously change about ourselves before the soul disowns us?

Young Identity’s Keisha Thompson will go on a comedic, at times disturbing, journey to find out if she has a problem with her gender, her culture, or just herself, in her debut solo show.

Tickets –

BReidOver the past 30 years Black Physical Theatre has been delivered through the vision and politics of some of the world’s most interesting theatre makers, such as Denise Wong, Amani Napthali, and Benji Reid. Whilst many of these archives have been chronicled there has been very little documented about what one might call the engineering behind the art form, namely the energies and ideas motivating works in the Black Theatre cannon such as ‘Ragamuffin’ and ‘Super Heroes’.  Is there a distinctive art form that is sufficiently unique and nuanced to be called Black Physical Theatre? What are its processes and products? Who are its champions and challengers?


‘A Question of Black Physical Theatre’ brings together a creative team led by Benji Reid and Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) to offer a selection of opportunities.  It is an Arts Council England supported project.


Week long master-class with Benji Reid: for emerging artists, up to 5 people

Please note: This opportunity is open to artist’s living/ working in the North West only

This master-class will encourage individual artists to share specific challenges in their artistic journeys and benefit from coaching from their peers.  This will be a unique opportunity for a small group of emerging artists to work with Benji Reid, a leading practitioner in physical theatre. Over a week, artists will be given the opportunity to work on issues that are directly relevant to them, exploring these in a small team.

This week runs from Monday the 23rd till Friday the 27th November and takes place at the STUN Studio’s at Z-Arts in Manchester (

Following this, artists will connect with a small audience to strike up a two way conversation about the work, what it says and what it means. This critical dialogue will take place on Friday 4th December, and will involve a discussion on the process and the inspiration behind the programme.  The final showing of work produced by STUN, with Benji Reid, will take place at Manchester’s the STUN studio’s, Z Arts.


To apply, (*you can apply as an individual or as part of a group) please send us:  

  • An up to date CV
  • Any images/ CD/ website that features your work


 ‘Appetite’, Small Commission for a mid career artist to work with Benji Reid

A commission for an artist to create a new piece of work that will be presented to an audience as part of a work-in-progress piece.  The theme is ‘Appetite’ and artists are asked to respond viscerally, in ways that explore emotional and physical longing for an idea, place or thing.

Applicants should pick upon something autobiographical – for example, the wish to appease a need, desire or inclination. We are looking for an artist who is able to explore their physical and emotional selves in ways which stretch their imagination – as well as those around them – to produce new experiences for audiences. The work should seek to transform thinking around an idea, using the experience of physical narrative storytelling. The artist may come from a background of dance, sports, theatre or live art, or a combination of all of these.

The successful artist will be required to contribute to a video diary. Artists will be required to work independently and spend a week working intensively with director Benji Reid.  This week has been scheduled and will run from Monday the 30th November to Friday the 4th December.  The sessions will take place at the STUN Studios, Z-Arts in Manchester.

The final day, Friday, will be an opportunity to share the work with an invited audience of up to 50 guests, this will take the form of a critical dialogue, performance led session.

There is a budget of £875


How to apply

Please send us the following information:

  • An outline of how you would respond (max 500 words)
  • A loose budget
  • An up to date CV
  • Images/ CD/ website featuring your work


The Deadline for both opportunities 9am, Tuesday 6th October

TO:  Benji Reid, C/O 27-29 Saint Mary’s Row, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8JT  

E: c/o

Community Arts North West and Filmonik invite you to First Person, a screening of powerful and surprising digital portraits created by 16 artists over 5 days. The event will take place at The Wonder Inn, one of the most exciting new arts & events spaces to pop up in the centre of Manchester.

First Person is the culmination of a week-long collaborative filmmaking event, using Filmonik’s intensive, part jam, part creative boot-camp, filmmaking methods. Participants have a short, set amount of time to write, direct, edit and screen films publicly. Collaboration is key.

Celebrate the longest day of the year with a vegetarian solstice Sunday dinner at 2pm, followed by the film screening at 3pm. All welcome, no booking required.

Sunday 21 June 2015
2-5pm, The Wonder Inn
29 Shudehill, Manchester M4 2AF

First Person is proud to be part of Refugee Week, a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational activities that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK.

For more information email Sara
@comartsnw  #firstperson

For more information about Filmonik
For more information about The Wonder Inn

First Person event flyer

Matilda and Me Publicity PhotoPresented by Word of Warning, Divergency + Sustained Theatre Up North

Ria Hartley – Matilda and Me

“Matilda is my Grandma.She migrated from Jamaica to England in 1962.Now all of her memories have faded.I need to remember for her, for me, for us…”


Weaving together storytelling, spoken word, dubpoetry, live art, autobiography, and reggae music, this colourful and challenging performance offers a political viewpoint surrounding the lived experience of migration, colonialism, racism, and the current perception of British cultural identity. Performed solo, the piece is presented as a biographical mythology of Ria’s lived experiences, reflecting poetically on the story of her and her Grandma, and the 2 islands they are from. (read more…)

MetalMetal is working with international artists Lucy + Jorge Orta to create a new Harvest festival weekend in September 2015 in Peterborough. At its centre will be an outdoor dinner for 500 people, a ritual procession, farmers market and a ceilidh.

10 smaller commissions are available to artists/makers (all disciplines) based in the UK working alongside Studio Orta. Where appropriate, they should include community engagement through research, collaboration or workshop activity. Selected artists will be required to attend a mentored Research and Development LAB at Metal in Peterborough (Tuesday 19th May – Friday 22nd May 2015); and travel to Paris (Tuesday 2nd June – Thursday 4th June) to tour Studio Orta.

Each artist will receive a fee of £3,000. All accommodation, travel and expenses will be covered for the LAB week, and the trip to Paris. Full details here.

Please send 5 images of your work, a CV and supporting statement (no more than 1 side of A4) outlining your artistic approach and areas of interest that link to the theme of Harvest,  by Wednesday 22nd April to Mark Richards, Director at Metal Peterborough, Chauffeurs Cottage, 1 St Peters Road, Peterborough, PE1 1YX or email

WYP_red_greyWest Yorkshire Playhouse is looking for a Literary Associate to join our busy Artistic Planning Team.

We are looking for a dynamic self-starter who is passionate about plays and cultivating new talent . As well as specialists in script development and literary management, we are happy to consider applications from directors and playwrights (with a demonstrable professional track record). We would be open to considering appropriate creative opportunities (directing productions, commissioning plays) alongside the job description below.

For more information and to apply for this opportunity please download the following: (read more…)

WYP_red_greyWest Yorkshire Playhouse is looking for an experienced Producer who is passionate about Artist & Talent Development to join our busy Artistic Planning Team.

The Associate Producer will creatively develop and enliven the culture of West Yorkshire Playhouse by facilitating, developing and leading the producing of a range of special projects, productions and Talent Development activities.

For more information and to apply for this opportunity please download the following: (read more…)

NPMP logov2 The Northern Police Monitoring Project is working in partnership with Netpol to deliver Community Monitoring training.

What is Community Monitoring?

Community Monitoring is a model of community organising that seeks to deter police harassment or misconduct by monitoring the police and providing independent rights information and support to communities. Community Monitors work on the ground, in teams, acting as independent observers monitoring human rights and assisting individuals or groups to access redress.
The idea has been successfully piloted in the past two years in London and Birmingham in areas where reports of disproportionate or discriminatory police treatment are common – particularly against young people, people from black, Asian, minority ethnic, refugee or working class backgrounds.
The project will now be piloting in Manchester with the support of Northern Police Monitoring Project. (read more…)





To reflect our growing national and international reputation and our ambitious plans for the upcoming year, XTRAX is looking for an experienced Project Manager with a particular interest in evaluation, research and audience development in the arts to join our busy team.

Project Manager: Evaluation and Audience Development: Salary: £22,000 – £26,000 depending on experience

Full Time 12-month contract with the probability of extension subject to funding

Job Description and Person Specification (PDF)
Equal Opportunities Form 

About the role:

The post holder will work across the organisation, taking a lead on audience development and evaluation across our projects, and contributing to project delivery as required.  They must also be confident working at a senior level and leading meetings as they will be working closely with all our project partners, and reporting to our stakeholders as necessary.

The post is based at our office in Manchester, and will require some regular UK travel to meet with partners and stakeholders. (read more…)

Marcus Hercules - Our Stories
PandaProducing work for unusual spaces that take performance to the audience is increasingly popular and brings it’s own challenges and rewards.

This workshop will enable you to hear from a panel of people experienced in different aspects of this topic, discuss the unique issues around such work, your own experience, how to overcome some of the obstacles and share tips and ideas on all aspects of the making, promotion and presentation of work in/for non-traditional arts spaces.

1.30 – 4.30pm on Friday 31st October 

Manchester Central Library (read more…)

TCOLpos2It’s Freshers Week.

Naomie, a devout Christian wants to give her all to faith but is finding it difficult with Rochelle’s everlasting drama of finding Mr Right. Meanwhile Ladies man, Floyd just wants to enjoy university life to the fullest plus convert the nicest guy on campus, Tobias to do the same.

The Complications of Lust tells the story of four students entering university for the first time and how Lust can bring many different complications.

Written and directed by Solomon Spence, (Lost Property Bush TheatreFade to Black Stratford East) who only became a playwright by chance when he opted to write a play for his dissertation at university. He enjoyed the freedom and challenges it brought him and has never look back. (read more…)

PandaPANDA have launched a professional development programme running from September to December 2014 with a menu of high quality affordable workshops.

Eligible individuals and organisations will be have free access a combination of workshops, training and professional development opportunities, subject to a refundable deposit to register commitment to complete a minimum of 12 hours of support through PANDA. If you don’t qualify or even if you’re not a PANDA member, you can still attend at affordable rates.

Training will focus on the following general areas: (read more…)

HerculesHercules Productions are looking for big hearted people with a love of film and theatre!

Volunteer Opportunities

We currently have two exciting participatory theatre and film projects and we are looking for people from all age ranges and walks of life. There are some specific roles, but we are looking for people who are prepared to muck in and be flexible. From time to time, we might ask you to cover the office and we might even ask you to stand in as an extra in one of our films! So come prepared to get involved, work hard and have fun. (read more…)

home-promo-large1HOME, opening in spring 2015, has a big and exciting new role to fill.  The Executive Director will be a member of the senior management team of HOME, reporting to the Director & CEO and working closely with the Artistic Directorate.

You will be key to ensuring that HOME is a well managed third sector business with a growing annual turnover in excess of £5m creating great artistic experiences for our audiences and delivering significant social and economic benefit for the city region.

This is an exciting and challenging new role and the post-holder will be playing a major part in shaping the creative future of this company.

Closing dates for applications: 12.00noon Wed 5 Nov 2014

Interviews will take place Fri 14 Nov 2014

For details:


Producers (Various)

An open call out for Producers to help develop and deliver high quality new productions and events for the 2015 Festival and/or to tour MIF productions to co-commissioner or other venues outside the festival period.

We are seeking to identify producers who may be interested in working with us at a future date as we plan to take on producers at different times from December 2014 onwards on shorter term contracts.

Based in or able to work in Manchester.

Salary/Contract Length: TBC (based on specific roles/successful candidate experience)

The closing date for applications is Monday 13 October 5pm

Please send CVs with covering letters outlining your suitability for this position (plus references) FAO David Fox to  – marking PROD15 in the subject field.

Please note: these roles will be available either as a Freelance Contract or salaried position depending on the successful candidate and specific role

For further information please download the job description and person specification pdf here.

royal-exchange-logoThe Royal Exchange Theatre is looking to expand its pool of freelancers to deliver the Participation & Learning programme. We are seeking expressions of interest from artists and practitioners from across the full range of the theatre and performing arts.

At the Royal Exchange Theatre, we believe that participation is key to providing access, broadening reach and deepening engagement for all. We run a comprehensive participation and learning programme working with young people, schools, higher education, individual adults, communities and families. Our priorities are to open the world of professional theatre and participative theatre-making to people of all ages, backgrounds, circumstances and abilities; develop dynamic, high quality, artistically adventurous work; and, provide an inspiring programme of training and skills development for young people.

Please submit a maximum of one side of A4 detailing your relevant skills and experience, why you are interested in working for the Royal Exchange Theatre, and two referees. Please note that all artists and practitioners must be based in the North West.

Further information about the Participation & Learning Programme can be found on the Royal Exchange Theatre website.

Please submit expressions of interest to

Deadline: 5pm on Friday 17th October. Paid (£20k-25k pro rata) Part time

leftcoastSave Our Stories commission is open to:

Professional artists, designers, architectural practices or collaborations between them. The commission is to develop, design and construct a fully functioning, roadworthy, safe and exciting vehicle or towable structure hence the selected individual company or group will need to demonstrate sufficient experience of being able to deliver the highest quality product – for that reason it is not open to students (sorry).

Submissions from outside theUKare welcome but please note there are no additional fees for travel from outside theUK.

Commission value: £35,000 (plus VAT) fully inclusive of all materials, vehicle production costs, travel, construction and fees.

The Commission:

To design and produce a magical transporter for  ‘Save Our Stories’ –  an ambitious, interactive, travelling spectacle that is both a unique artwork in its own right and a practical tool for engaging young people in storytelling and creative writing.

The ‘craft’ will be a vehicle in its own right or towable unit which is the focus for a range of storytelling, story gathering, creative writing and related performance activities to excite and enthral children, young people , and adults across Blackpool, Wyre and the North West of England.

The Save our Stories (S.O.S) craft should visually and physically relate to the idea that stories are disappearing, need rescuing  and be a ‘call to arms’ for young people to help with that mission. The exact interpretation of that theme is open to the interpretation of the selected artist, architect, designer or partnership.

To download a pdf with full details

Closing date: midnight on 22nd October 2014

leftcoastSave Our Stories Writer’s Brief              

This commission is open to: Professional writers, storytellers, dramatists and poets or collaborations between them. Submissions from outside the UK are welcome but please note there are no additional fees for travel from outside the UK.

Commission value: £4,000 (plus VAT) fully inclusive of all materials, travel and fees.

The Commission:

The commission is to develop a ‘Save Our Stories’ narrative that will inform our brand, our distinctive story and offer to children and  young people and help develop  the concept for the design of a special vehicle.

The Save our Stories (S.O.S) narrative should relate to the idea that stories are disappearing, need rescuing  and be a ‘call to arms’ for children and young people to help with that mission. The exact interpretation of that theme is open to the interpretation of the selected writer or partnership but we would want them to work closely with the artist/designer chosen to design and produce a magical transporter for our S.O.S mobile – an ambitious, interactive, travelling spectacle that is both a unique artwork in its own right and a practical tool for engaging children and young people in storytelling and creative writing across Blackpool, Wyre and the North West of England.

To download a pdf with full details

Closing date: midnight on 22ndOctober 2014

unitytheatreWe are seeking an inspirational, entrepreneurial and experienced Chief Executive and Artistic Director to lead Unity Theatre into the next phase of its development.  This is a post for someone who is inspired by the opportunity to create a vibrant artistic identity for the theatre, making the most of past, its place and its people.

Closing Date: Friday 24th October 2014 at 5pm Paid (£40k-50k) Full time

Interviews: Thursday 6th November 2014

Application packs can be downloaded from:

florrieThe Florrie is looking for an experienced, strategic and creative Business Development Manager.

We are a community hub, comprising a heritage centre, social space and work space. We run a diverse range of activities and events from yoga classes to weddings, craft fairs to conferences from our stunning grade 2 listed Victorian building in the heart of Liverpool 8.

We are now seeking a Business Development Manager to build our income generating activity and help us secure the long-term future of the Florrie. This is a challenging and varied role. You will be joining us at an exciting time, building our business, devising and delivering our marketing plan, and working closely with the Chief Executive to explore new opportunities through partnerships and social enterprise.

Our ideal candidate will have experience of strategic business development, marketing and sales within the context of a community focused organisation. Understanding of business administration and financial management is an essential, as is the ability to lead and motivate a small team.

Closing Date: Wednesday 29 October 2014, 5pm – Paid (£25k-30k) Full time

For an application pack, visit our website at or call 0151 728 2323.

mif-logoPress Officer

Salary: £21,000 – £23,000 (per annum), dependent on experience

Contract: January – September 2015 (dates tbc)

The closing date for applications is Friday 31 October by 5pm

Interviews are expected to be held from early November

Please complete the application form (including Equal Opportunities Monitoring) and send FAO David Fox to  – marking PRESS15 in the subject field.

Please note, this role is only available as a salaried position and not as a freelance contract.

All short-listed candidates will be contacted by phone or email. We receive so many applications that we are unable to reply to each one. If you have not been contacted by 30 November please assume that your application has not been successful.

For further information please download the job description and person specification pdf here.

Download the application form for Press Officer here.

city-council-logo2Not-for-profit organisations can apply for funding of between £10,000 and £40,000 per year, until March 2018, to support the core costs of their organisation.  A total of £900,000 is available (subject to budget) over three years from this fund.

We want your work to have a lasting impact that will directly benefit our residents and economy, now and in the future.

You can apply on behalf of your organisation or, if you’re working with another organisation, you can apply together.

If you have got this funding in the past we cannot guarantee you will be successful again.

If your organisation already receives cultural strategic investment or has confirmed event funding for 2015/16 from us, you are not eligible to apply.

To apply you must:

  • be a not-for-profit organisation (including voluntary and community groups)
  • be a cultural or arts-based organisation, as stated in your constitution
  • be based in the area covered by Manchester Council, or have a track record of benefiting our residents, visitors or local economy
  • use the funding to support the core revenue operating costs of your organisation and not a one-off project.
  • meet at least one of our cultural objectives
  •  have, and could provide, all the written documents we need to see
  • account for any money you get and tell us what you’ve achieved with it

Closing date is 9am, Wednesday 12 November.

You’ll get the funding on, or after, Wednesday 1 April 2015.


Based on a true story of a Gurkha knife on display in a shop in Deansgate, Manchester in 1915 we journey to Holland, South Africa, Nepal and India celebrating unseen heroic characters and stories in times of war.

Written and performed by Anjum Malik, multi lingual Poet, Scriptwriter and teacher of creative writing.

This is an Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by Arts Council England, Manchester Metropolitan University and Cartwheel Arts. (read more…)

Pamela Raith Photography_Tonya Bolton_032

How would you describe yourself and what you do?

If I was to describe myself in five words I would say I am Trailblazing, Authentic, Creative, Compassionate & High-Spirited. I am not afraid to speak about taboo issues and spark debate. My work takes people on a journey that’s universal yet deeply personal, challenging yet compelling, entertaining, educational & empowering.

As well as being an accomplished actress & author, I am also an Empowerment Specialist  and motivational speaker with over 15 years’ experience of training other artists and working with vulnerable people, particularly young people who have poor emotional well-being, mental health and social difficulties.

I am really passionate about utilising the creative arts to help people break destructive cycles and move forward into the life they want and deserve.

As the founder of not-for-profit organisation ICU Transformational Arts, I deliver engaging arts programmes that help break destructive behaviour patterns, re-engage people in education/community and reduce risky behaviour.

Born and bred in Birmingham, I have been writing all my life. Published in numerous short story & poetry anthologies and academic journals, I have performed extensively throughout the Midlands and also internationally. I have also co-authored 18 books and written many plays on a wide range of topics.

Tell us a bit about your connection with STUN.

I have been a fan of STUN (Sustained Theatre Up North) for a long time and inspired by its tireless dedication to the growth of BAME Creatives across the UK.

As an organisation we are extremely passionate about bringing issues relevant to to BAME communities and artists into national focus, redress the balance and shake up the arts landscape.  We wanted to partnership with STUN to reach more diverse audiences across Manchester & beyond, particularly BAME communities.

What got you started?

I have been writing since I was a small child. I can honestly say that writing saved my life. I was one of only 3 black children at my primary school and I was brutally beaten by teachers and bullied by the pupils for being Black. Writing became the outlet that helped me deal with the many emotions I was feeling.

What was your big breakthrough?

Writing & performing Holy & Horny is without a doubt one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever encountered. (read more…)

hab_logo_tw_160_160Emergency is our annual platform for live art + contemporary performance, featuring at least 25 short pieces of work over a day/evening in Manchester…

Staged for the first time entirely in the cavernous realms of Z-arts, our fifteenth Emergency takes place on Saturday 4 October 2014 (12noon-10pm) — a free micro-marathon of the bizarre + the beautiful popping up all over the building; primarily an adult event, from 3pm onwards we advise that work may not be suitable for under 18s. To get a feel for it see 2013’s programme + gallery.

Emergency is:
• a free, public micro-festival + open submission platform;
• an opportunity for artists to meet, show and peer-review work;
• a selection event for a number of small Works Ahead commissions to be developed + supported by hÅb.

Enquiries: ¦ ¦ #EmergencyMcr

Emergency 2014 is presented by Word of Warning, STUN + Z-arts; produced by hÅb; supported using public funding through Arts Council England, funded by Manchester City Council, supported by STUN + Z-arts; a greenroom legacy project.

call-mr-robesonA special performance by Tayo Aluko of his much-acclaimed ‘Call Mr Robeson’

Paul Robeson is a great and famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner.

When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.

Just as physical, emotional and mental stress threaten to push him over the fine line between genius and madness, he is summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to give the most difficult and important performance of his career.

The play is a roller coaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life, and highlights how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and disremembered, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement. (read more…)

MayaAAs part of Black History Month and as a celebration of the life of Maya Angelou (4 April 1928 – 28 May 2014), we are holding two poetry workshops led by Commonword/Young Identity. Each workshop will last for one and a half hours, from 1-2:30 and from 3:00-4:30, and will use the work of Maya Angelou as inspiration for the creation of your own poetry. Workshop participants will be encouraged to share their work at the open mic session in the performance space later in the day.

The workshops will be held in the beautiful surroundings of the Chief Librarian’s Office, on the 3rd floor.

There are limited numbers for the workshops, so places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you have a preference for the first or second session please indicate this when booking your place. (read more…)

TTT_MARQUE_120x120Department for Culture, Media and Sport seeks new Chair of The Theatres Trust
25 September 2014, London, UK

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is seeking to appoint an individual with the necessary blend of skills and experience as Chair of The Theatres Trust to succeed Rob Dickins CBE, whose term of office ends on 30 January 2015.

The Theatres Trust is The National Advisory Public Body for Theatres, established by The Theatres Trust Act 1976 and The Theatres Trust (Scotland) Act 1978 ‘to promote the better protection of theatres’ and has the powers to acquire or hold any theatre or land required for the benefit of any theatre, contribute to the acquisition of any theatre or land, and maintain or assist in the maintenance of any theatre. (read more…)

AF&PlogoFundraising from trusts, foundations and statutory funders is essential in the arts sector.  Our Funders & Networks training will help improve your application-writing skills and increase your confidence in presenting your case to funders and donors.


“Looking at the possibilities with trusts and foundations, strategic funds and tender opportunities highlights how your organisation can grow but still remain true to its focus.  Having case studies to work from was really valuable.” 

Laura Sweeney, Lead Producer, Chisenhale Dance Space


Do you want to support environmental awareness and climate justice?   Maybe you also like world music, street culture or Afro-Brazilian Carnival?

We are inviting filmmakers, video artists or anyone with video clips or even photos to contribute some material that you think is relevant, and become a named artist for this exhibition. There are more details about the project .  To contribute or collaborate, click HERE.

Get involved – invitation to collaborate:

Up to 6 filmmakers, digital artists or poets will be selected as ‘FEATURED ARTISTS’ whose material will become a part of the installation, and who will receive a full credit for the collaboration. We do not have any preference or limitation on what kind of video, images or poetry that can be included, except that any poetry should be short pieces because the installation will be built on a series of short rhythmic loops.

The artist, Kooj, wants to see what you suggest, which will help to drive the final work.  Some examples could be a clip of somebody speaking about their experience or views, or observations of environmental change, or of local pollution or of nature, or of activism by various groups, or you might have a video that you have made already.  Some of these ideas could be in the form of images, photos, audio or poetry. (read more…)

Diwali 2014 A4 Poster_aw_HR-page-001The finale to this year’s Dashehra Diwali celebrations in Manchester tells the thrilling story of a race against time. Loyal warrior Lakshman (brother of Lord Ram) is injured in battle – but can the monkey god Hanuman find the magic herb sanjeevani on Medicine Mountain and get back to the battlefield in time to save our hero before the sun rises? Storytelling, dance and special effects all feature in this immersive piece of outdoor theatre in the heart of city.

Saturday October 11th 2.30 – 8.30pm.

Albert Square and Town Hall, Manchester

Created by site specific outdoor performance companies Walk the Plank and Nutkhut, commissioned by Manchester Indian Association and supported by Arts Council England.






20 years on … theatre, dance, music and culture from the new South Africa


‘In 1994 a new nation was born. Since then, our artists have been showing the world that South Africa has stories to tell: stories that speak to the collective memory of who we are, that speak of life in South Africa today – stories that link us to the world.’


James Ngcobo – Artistic Director, Afrovibes


20 years on, Afrovibes celebrates the end of apartheid with a festival of contemporary award-winning South African productions, performances and screenings, alongside each venue’s Township Cafe: a lively meeting-place and the backdrop for a festival fringe of free events, exhibitions, late-night music and great South African-themed food.

(read more…)

Holy&Horny_2xA5pps_Pg1Back by popular demand, Holy & Horny is a “Hilarious, powerful and deeply moving” sell-out show that celebrates women’s sensuality and spirituality.

Written and Performed by Tonya Joy Bolton, this extraordinary play is a compelling story of love, longing and the ultimate betrayal.

In the production, Actress and Author Tonya Joy Bolton explores one woman’s struggle to remain holy despite being as horny as hell! She draws on a variety of artforms such as comedy, mime, physical theatre, song, poetry and drama.

Sheila, the frustrated Christian woman and her alter ego Eve, the sexually uninhibited poetess, are just two of the 20 characters played by Tonya. Brilliantly directed by Jon Trevor, this enthralling show follows Sheila’s amazing journey as she embarks on a set of disastrous dates which lead to unexpected life-changing consequences.

“This is a show that is honest and unflinching throughout. It is a powerful, moving and hilarious show that should not be missed.” Redbrick Magazine (read more…)

zartsZ-arts, Manchester’s dedicated venue for children and families, is seeking a Marketing Officer to actively promote all aspects of the work of Z-arts including the Big Imaginations Children’s Theatre Network

Deadline: 12pm Thursday 18th September 2014

Interviews: Thursday 25th September 2014

Salary: £20,000 – £22,000 depending on experience (read more…)

GoldsmithsAcclaimed authors Bernardine Evaristo and Andrea Stuart join Joan Anim-Addo and Deirdre Osborne to discuss their work and the facts and fictions of histories and herstories.

In writing that spans prose fiction, biography, verse novels and memoir, Bernardine Evaristo and Andrea Stuart highlight and reveal unexpected angles to the complex stories of black people’s cultural heritages in Britain.

In conversation together, and with the Convenors of the new MA Black British Writing, they discuss the roles of women writers in reforming, the subject-matter and perspectives on literature.

Both authors will also read from their work – with audience Q&A an important part of the evening.  (read more…)

WhatNext-Postcardfrontweb-300x186What Next? Generation North West is an open group for anyone engaged or interested in arts and culture in anyway, in their early to mid career, voluntary, paid, freelance or part of a larger organisational team.
What Next? Gen is part of a national conversation called What Next? and the aim of the group is to come together and start a conversation about the value and impact of arts and culture in the UK and figure out ways of supporting theatre-makers, movers, audiences, participants and the public at large to talk about the value of arts.

Our next meeting is on 11th September, 7pm – 8.30pm at Contact, Manchester and Fiona Gasper from the What Next? North West chapter will be coming along to talk with us. (read more…)


Fresh from its first year in London, Write to Play is breaking out and heading to the North West of England to discover and develop five new writers in partnership with The Liverpool Everyman & PlayhouseThe Royal Exchange Manchester and The Octagon Bolton.

Write to Play is an exciting new initiative to cultivate and promote Deaf and disabled writers. Working with some of the best new writing venues in the UK, we will provide top quality training alongside live performance opportunities so that five fantastic writers go on to develop a full-length play. The successful writers will get a fee of £1800 for their participation which will be paid in installments and have all access requirements met.

For full details on how to apply visit

Applications open: Tuesday 26 August (read more…)

Amsterdam by Chanje Kunda

Tour Begins October 3rd


(read more…)

contactOur Front of House team continues to deliver great customer service to everyone using our building and the positive feedback keeps coming in from customers and artists.  The current Duty Managers are a massive part of this success and we need to recruit up to 3 new Duty Managers to add to the current team.

As a Duty Manager you will be responsible for the smooth and efficient running of public areas of the venue, taking lead responsibility in ensuring the safety, security and enjoyment of the public and the building and implementing Contact’s Customer Care policy through effective communication and management of the Front of House team. (read more…)

victoria-baths-logo-v3Victoria Baths Trust is seeking a Temporary Operations Manager for six months from October 2014, with a possible extension of three months. The post is to cover part of the role of the Project Manager who is taking leave of absence.

The Temporary Operations Manager will be responsible for the management of Victoria Baths, will promote the project and supervise all the activities of the Trust including management of three staff and supporting the Friends of Victoria Baths.

The postholder will understand historic buildings, have excellent communication skills, good organisational and management skills, including financial management, and ability to use websites and social media. (read more…)

dukes_logo1The Dukes is Lancashire’s leading producing theatre, creativity centre and independent cinema.


We require an Assistant Technician to start 13th October.

Please email info@dukes-lancaster for an application pack including job description.

The closing date for completed applications is 5.00pm, Friday 12th September.

Interviews will be held on Friday 19th September.

Contact: Jacqui Wilson

Liverpool-Everyman-Playhouse-logoLiverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse Theatres offer a rare opportunity for a dynamic, organised and creative individual to fulfil the role of Programme Manager.  The Programme Manager is responsible for the effective co-ordination of the theatres’ artistic programme and for programming and supporting visiting productions.

The Programme Manager will ensure that the theatres’ programme of visiting productions both achieves financial targets and fulfils and develops the E&P’s artistic vision.  S/he will contribute to wider artistic planning for the theatres, drawing together the artistic, talent development and young people’s programmes.

The role involves close collaboration with colleagues in all departments, and external relationship-building with visiting companies, including seeing work around the country. (read more…)

AltruWe are now casting for 2 Theatre in Education plays based around Anti-Bullying themes. Both pieces will tour primary schools across the North West in November 2014.

We are looking for 6 actors in total (3 Male, 3 Female), with a varied playing age and strong multi-role skills.

Energy, enthusiasm and professionalism are essential qualities, as well as a love of theatre for young people.

Both performances are approximately 45 minutes in duration and will be performed to primary school pupils during school time. Performances will be followed by a workshop and we are keen to hear from actors who also have experience of workshop facilitation.

Preference given toexperienceddrivers, particularly those who have driven short wheel based transit vans. (read more…)

The co-ordinator will report to the GMAON Strategic Management Group, comprising of 4 senior level members of the existing network.  The role will be varied, including elements of administration as well as advocacy strategy to raise the profile of the network’s achievements, identify funding opportunities and forging partnerships with the broader creative economy across GM.

GM’s 10 districts have their own unique voice and identity, and include the culture-rich cityscape ofManchesterand media-savvy Salford Quays.   This is a varied role with a broad remit, supporting the network, and developing its reach.  Working in partnership across the network and the arts sector to champion the successful delivery of a refreshed Greater Manchester Arts Vision.

We are offering a day rate of £250 and seeking someone who is flexible and familiar with the cultural landscape of Greater Manchester.  We anticipate this role will require, on average, 2 days work per week.  There is funding in place for 44 weeks’ worth of work, with some capacity for additional days. We anticipate the work would be between 8-10 days per month.

Agreed travel expenses will be reimbursed.  The funding is in place to July 2015. (read more…)


Quarantine is one of the UK’s leading contemporary theatre companies.  Our work takes place in a variety of forms and contexts to establish a unique and radical way of engaging with contemporary life. We work across the UK and internationally, often with people who are rarely seen in the cultural spotlight.
A key member of Quarantine’s team, the Communications Manager is a new role created to help invent new ways to ensure our work is effectively communicated and shared with our diverse audiences and stakeholders.  The role involves development and delivery of Quarantine’s communications, marketing & audience development strategy, including development of print and digital marketing materials, press liaison and advocacy.

Please visit our website for an Information Pack.

Contact: Ali Dunican

To apply, please send a current CV, a two-page application and a completed Equalities Monitoring Form – by 5pm, Thursday 18 September 2014.

mhm-logo-362x155-retinaMorris Hargreaves McIntyre, a rapidly expanding, award-winning international consultancy in the cultural sector, seeks highly intelligent, experienced and dynamic individual to join its talented team in the role of Field Coordinator. This is a great opportunity for a highly intelligent and highly organised individual to join our field team. This role requires rigorous attention to detail, the ability to work on your own initiative and to work accurately and quickly under pressure.

Main Duties:


  1. Co-ordinate fieldwork to maximise efficiency;
  2. Work with project teams to ensure the delivery of projects on time and on budget, to a standard that delights our clients;
  3. Troubleshoot basic fieldwork issues;
  4. Contribute to the ongoing process of improvement to systems, quality and products.

Full time
Salary: £16- £20K

Closing Date: Monday 15 September 2014 Paid (£15k-20k)

For full details and to apply please go to

Contact: Sophie Romain

royal-exchange-logoAn exciting opportunity has arisen to join our forward thinking Participation and Learning team in order to manage and develop our community programme, engaging with communities across the region. Reporting directly to the Head of Department, this key role involves building relationships and strategic partnership with external stakeholders and with departments across the theatre.

The successful candidate will be an experienced project manager with high level project delivery expertise. Demonstrable experience of hands-on working with marginalised, vulnerable and under-represented adults and young people is required. Proven ability to build relationships and engage community organisations will be of paramount importance. (read more…)

burjestaThis 11 week course will coincide with the centenary of the First World War. This course offers a series of workshops featuring the theatre, cinema, literature, poetry and painting from 1914 – 1918 and how art reflected the realities of a wartime Europe. The course will also include session on a
selection of scenes from an adaptation of All Quiet on The Western Front.

Run by WEA – course enrolment number is C3836667, course starts Tuesday 16th September at The Casa, Hope Street, Liverpool, 7pm to 9pm.  Course costs £36 for 11 weeks or free for those entitled.

Enrol online at  or by telephoning 0151 243 5340

Contact: Mikyla Durkan

taglogo-teal-blueThe Actors Group, Manchester – a successful Cooperative Actors Agency established over 30 years ago – is looking for MALE ACTORS.  If you are a trained actor with industry experience, based in the NW and want to develop your acting career in a Cooperative environment please check out our website at

Full details on how to apply are on the CONTACT US page.  We are particularly looking for MALE ACTORS of any age at the moment.

Contact: Adrian Palmer

IMG_5731DivergencyMcr was a two week residency which worked with artists from diverse backgrounds already working with live work. The project looked at data, hosted workshops and explored the nature of live art for diverse artists.

The project was chronicled on the DivergencyMcr blog.

Below is an extract of one of those sessions.


LIVE ART from AlbinoMosquito on Vimeo.

FRONT PAGE EACH ONEThis is an Oral history project which will partner young people and elders in an exploration of stories that tell the history of these sites, from the early 1950s through to present day and bring them to life on stage and film.





The project starts October 4th

Time 4.15pm – 6.15pm

Studio 25

Church Street


M4 1PE


New opportunities to get involved will become available throughout the life of the project.

(read more…)

YMT NA2015Booking for YMT’s National Auditions 2015 is NOW OPEN!

Join the UK’s leading music theatre company for young people aged 11-21 and audition for a place in YMT’s 2015 Summer Season of New Music Theatre.

Do something amazing with your summer and work with the industry’s leading directors, composers, writers, choreographers and stage technicians to create a brand new show. We will be heading to24 cities across the UK and Ireland in search of the most talented young performers.

This year we are opening our Audition Tour early with three audition dates in November for LondonBirmingham and Manchester! (read more…)

stay-clear-e1353412436161STAY and CidaCo are pairing up to provide a FREE course for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, and Refugee performing artists in Yorkshire. The course covers things like marketing your work right through to legal advice and strategic planning. Also included in the course are mentoring sessions with George Matheson, a professional enterprise development mentor (he’s also the Executive Director of STAY!). This course is aimed at new and emerging businesses (those who have been in existence for less than 5 Years). STAY are also offering a ‘Creative Renewal’ course for organisations who have been operationg for more than 5 years. Information on that can be found on the ‘STAY Opportunities’ page of this website.

Course Dates & Topics

  • Friday 10th October 2014 – Mission, Vision & Values
  • Friday 17th October 2014 – Intellectual Property Rights
  • Friday 24th October 2014 – Innovation, From Ideas to Reality
  • Friday 31st October 2014 – Introduction to Marketing
  • Friday 7th November 2014 – Introduction to Finance
  • Friday 14th November 2014 – Your Strategic Plan

Application form at the following link:


This thrilling and exciting production by URBAN conceptz Theatre, explodes onto stage this autumn, bringing forth a beautiful fusion of movement, theatre and stunning media visuals.

This commanding company merge diverse movement, challenging theatrics and stimulating physicality which is seamlessly unified alongside intricate digital projection, beautifully structured soundscapes and a web of scaffolding and structures that immerse the audience into an adrenaline-fueled marvel, that dives, hangs and swings around the social turmoil of freedom and freewill.

Where will your fight for freedom take you?

Date: Thursday September 18th

Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm (read more…)

stay-clear-e1353412436161The Virtual Incubator has been commissioned by STAY for the development and/or support of up to a maximum of 16 new or established creative businesses across Yorkshire.



This Programme Consists of Four Steps

Step 1

Fill out the relevant online application form:

Step 2

Your application will first be assessed by the Executive Director of STAY as the funder of the programme who will determine your suitability for this programme.

The Chief Executive of CidaCo will then be asked to assess your application from a business perspective, to ensure that CidaCo is likely to be able to help you

Step 3

You will be invited to a 1:1 diagnostic session, lasting about one hour, with your CidaCo Mentor who will make the final decision about inviting you on to the programme.

Step 4

If you are successful, your CidaCo Mentor will agree a programme with you alongside a mutually designed Mentoring Agreement. (read more…)

stay-clear-e1353412436161The successful candidate must demonstrate extensive experience in arts and cultural  sector fundraising. Candidate will also need to provide demonstrable success in arts and cultural fundraising including funding from Trusts and Foundations.

They must have excellent interpersonal skills and understand the importance of key relations. He/she must have a good instinct for business and be able to negotiate the optimal deal for STAY before finalising agreements and partnerships.

As an ambassador for STAY’s mission and vision, the ideal candidate must have excellent reporting skills, be able to network on behalf of STAY as well as stand-in on behalf of the Executive Director when necessary, attend meetings and networking events which may fall outside normal working hours and must be prepared to travel. (read more…)

LISAPO – The Congolese Tales

For one night only – Live, at Band on the Wall on Saturday 28 June, 7pm.

Click here to buy tickets from the Band on the Wall box office

LISAPO in Lingala means ‘tale’ and is the time to sit, listen and hear.

LISAPO – The Congolese Tales tells the powerful story of Congolese migration to Britain through music oratory; featuring song, spoken word, moving image, theatre and dance.

This special performance has been created through a participatory arts heritage project with Music Director, Tyndale Thomas MBE; Libretto and Direction by Cheryl Martin; Vocal Leader, Emmanuela Macholi Yogolelo; Drum Maestro, Pat Mackman and Moving Image by Gary Stewart and Leah Llewellyn.

Featuring special guests Les Sapeur Congolais – the very elegant persons of DR Congo.

This performance is inspired by 29 oral histories from the Greater Manchester Congolese community who has been migrating to Britain since the late 1980s as a result of the destabilisation of the country and consequent civil war. Recorded in 2013, they now form a permanent public record.

Tickets are limited and booking up fast. Don’t miss this unique celebration of Congolese culture and heritage! (read more…)

Our Choice Their Chance

Fri 30 & Sat 31 May 2014
4.30pm & 7pm
(There are two separate performances each evening, each lasting approximately 1 hour)

£5/£3 concessions
Age guidance: 12+
Click here to buy tickets

Are you ready to choose or will you leave things to chance?

Welcome to the Gallery of Decisions, a space where we make the decisions that affect the course of our lives… Do we give in to peer pressure or keep our principles?… Go for that new piercing?… Shower or bath?… Pepsi or Coke?????

Join us as we move, improvise, rap and body-pop through a tombola of outcomes; a random raffle of live performance and digital wizardry, shuffled and dealt out by an exciting new group of diverse young artists.
Will you choose to join us?

Our Choice Their Chance is produced by Community Arts North West (CAN), a Manchester-based arts organisation working with urban communities from Greater Manchester to create access to cultural production. (read more…)

BM1 The news of Brian Morgan’s sudden death took everyone by surprise. The sense of shock was strong and the range and depth of tributes, the pictures of people with Brian, touching.

I didn’t know Brian well at all. He came to my attention when he delivered a ‘Marcus Garvey’ monologue at a Manchester Museum event. It stuck in my mind.

Of the many things said, below are two of the comments from his friends and colleagues.

“Brian’s very recent and terribly tragic death is a loss to so many of us, he was a remarkable man and actor – probably the best I have worked with.”

Kooj Chuhan (Kooj has also posted online the short film ‘No Trace’ he directed which starred Brian).


BM2“The theatre/arts scene in Manchester and beyond has lost one of it’s wildest cards. Brian was literally an explosion of a man. A blast of character, colour and creativity. A room was instantly lit by his bravado and generosity. His booming desire to entertain instantly palpable and he did just that, he quality entertained.”

“There was a lot of him and the space he’s left is enormous. He touched and enriched so many lives, also the arts-scape of his city and it’s communities. The streets and stages of Manchester have lost a fine and vibrant ambassador. My thoughts to his family and friends and to Brian himself. My thoughts will always be about a giant of a man, generous and real. Real, rollicking and rare.”

Gerry Potter

Sustained Theatre Up North express our condolences to Brian’s family and friends.

He is already missed.


Deyika Nzeribe

Co-Chair, STUN

headerw4cMartin Luther King had a dream that one day his children would “not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”. We have a dream that one day diverse writers will be judged by the content of their characters and not by the colour of their skin or the nature of their background.  Right now, there are too few diverse authors featured on UK children’s bookshelves. There are too few diverse characters between the pages of children’s books.

This widely acknowledged lack of diversity in the UK children’s fiction market has persisted for too long. The Commonword Diversity Writing For Children Prize seeks to change things. We want to play our part in creating an environment where more diverse stories are available in the UK for today’s children and young adults.

The Prize welcomes submissions from unpublished children’s authors whose writing embraces ethnic diversity either through their own ethnicity and culture and/or in their writing.


The winner’s prize will be as follows:

  • £500 cash, to be paid by cheque.
  • Professional mentoring will be from Catherine Pellegrino & Associates – this will consist of a full manuscript assessment and an initial meeting to discuss representation potential. There is no obligation for Catherine Pellegrino to agree to professionally represent the winner.
  • Puffin books of the winner’s choice to the value of £100 (based on RRP). To be chosen from titles available on the website.

For more information:

The closing date for entries is: 1st September 2014

Send Entries

ccn_webversionSTUN and hAb have been commissioned to run one of four short Creative Case residencies. The recent announcement was welcomed by both organisations who have immediately started the work.

Of the commission, the project managers said (read more…)

ChanjeHow would you describe yourself and what you do?

I would describe myself as a spoken word and performance artist. In 2013I  my collection of poetry ‘Amsterdam’ was published by Crocus books and I showcased a work in progress sharing of My one woman show of the same name based on the book in The UK and the Netherlands. Within my spoken word theatre practice, I strip away the rhythmic delivery and instead replace it with acting, contemporary dance and performance art. I am forging new ways of delivering spoken word theatre.

Tell us a bit about your connection with Stun

I am a stun member. To my knowledge, I am the only African woman producing solo theatre in the UK at the moment. STUN has been vital in my development as an artist, and have provided me with the space to be able to develop my work as an artist. I have performed on their roadshows, and at events they have held. They have helped me by providing match funding by providing some support in kind. They have an absolutely magical space.

I am due to do a national tour in Autumn 2014 and I will be hiring the stun studio for 4 weeks to rehearse prior to my 1st UK national tour. I hope to tour it internationally after this.

What got you started?

Well after reading maya Angelou’s Still I Rise, I realised the way that poetry can be uplifting, powerful, life affirming and truly inspirational. That is what got me interested in becoming a poet.

However, it was after seeing Jonzi D’s iconic play ‘Aeroplane Man’ back in the day, that I really wanted to also produce theatre. Poets such as Lemn Sissay doing one person theatre shows also inspired me to do solo theatre performance.

What Was Your Big Break Through

The birth of my son at the age of 23 was my big break through. He saved me from a life of hendonism and really helped me to get focused on what I wanted to achieve with my life. He made me want to be a role model. Being published by crocus books and also having an international artist residency in the Netherlands, have also been pretty monumental in my career.

What is the Best Advice you have ever had?

‘Always try once more, no matter how many times you have failed before. Fight when you think you can fight no longer, or when you think you have already done your best, or until your efforts have been crowned with success’

Paramahansa Yogananda

High Point

Performing at the Calabash Literature Festival in Jamaica. All expenses paid trip to the Caribbean to perform poetry with Commonword. Full Jamaican breakfast every morning at the hotel, tree ripened mango or melon to start, followed by eggs, green calaloo, ackee and saltfish and some tropical juice. Performing on Treasure Beach… a long golden beach with the turquoise see as the backdrop. Sonia Sanchez was there and she bought a copy of my poetry pamphlet. *faints*  It was 10 days of pure heaven .

Can You Describe your Process?

My process has been evolving for the past couple of years. My process for wirting my poetry collection was keeping a journal of my exploits in Amsterdam and sharing these with my publisher. I did a lot of free writing. My publisher says I get my best work when I am not trying to ‘write poetry’ but when I let my free flowing thoughts tumble onto the page.

Since working with Juliet Ellis and Darren Pritchard of the staging of my show, I have discovered live art and dance techniques that I am now incorporating into my performances. Doing a clowning course with Angela De Castro taught me that play is a really important part in creativity and performance. I am having a ball. Working in the sstun studio on the art of clowning, acting and dance is such a liberating opportunity. I am engaged in process rather than outcome and I really think I have found my calling.

Website Link

anjum_08-02How would you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m a poet scriptwriter and a performer as well as a Visiting Teaching fellow for Manchester Metropolitan University. I also teach all that I do.

Tell us a bit about your connection with STUN.

I’ve been given this wonderful free space to rehearse in, its really good support and over time have been impressed by the work they do.

 What got you started?

I’ve always written, I just didn’t realize I was writing poetry. I thought it was a diary, it turned out they were poems.

 I went to help the Asian Women’s Writer’s Collective in London, one of the founding members is  Rukhsana Ahmed, I was a business woman then. I went to help with the business side and started sitting in on some of their reading sessions. I took a poem in Urdu into one reading, and the visiting writer said it was too bold and sexy to be written in Urdu by a woman. Its been one of my most popular poems every since. I also have it in English and its called ‘Pull of Attraction’.

What was your big breakthrough?

My first break through was getting the ‘Asian Writer Residency’ in Blackburn. It was a 9 month job and I moved from London to Yorkshire to do it.  It was amazing, the people were welcoming, I learnt to admit that I was a writer and other jobs followed through.  I’m still in touch with the people I worked with and I’m still working as a writer!

What’s the best advice you’ve had?

Never do anything for nothing as an artist and look after yourself always.

High point:

Every time I get commissioned (laughs), booked for a gig, get to perform, see my work being produced, its a high point all the time being a working writer.

My latest was being sent by Manchester Metropolitan University as one of their tutors to be part of the  ‘Emirates Airlines Literature Festival’ in Dubai, February 2014. I performed my latest project ‘ Hidden Stories’ at a school and ran a monologue writing workshop.  I also taught scriptwriting for two days to adults at the festival.  There were just under 300 of the most well-known writers in the world at it and me, it was an awesome experience.  In the way the festival team looked after us, the programme they had for the festival and Dubai as a city was welcoming, safe, a beautiful place to be in, an amazing mix of East and West.  I felt very much at home.

Can you describe your process?

My process often begins with a theme or an idea, its always based on fact. The poems arrive sometimes fully formed, other times needing lots of thinking and tinkering.  Plays involve taking the idea to a commissioner as a pitch, and playing a waiting game until commissioned.  Then the work of writing the play begins.  I am very methodical.  I have a daily target of hours, pages, deadlines for various drafts and final draft deadline.  I work well following  a strict timetable.  Together with visiting the gym daily and eating healthy, sleeping early until the work is done.  Then I don’t sleep, party all hours, eat anything and everything.

One of my latest radio plays ‘The Lost Salford Sioux’s idea came to me from an an exhibition, ‘Death In The Working Classes’.  Which I was invited to by People’s History Museum.  It was amazing and very inspiring about how the working classes have dealt with death and funerals over time. Encouraged by my radio drama producer Polly Thomas, I submitted an idea to BBC Radio Drama on 3 about exploring death in the Salford communities and how it was dealt with and finding a play in the real stories. Its was commissioned and transmitted in 2012.



It’s officially British Summer Time and we are looking forward to the next few months of activity at Sustained Up North. STUN were pleased to receive a visit from respected actor Tyrone Huggins, who took a good look around our theatre space and offices, we had an exchange of ideas, some tea and a chat. Tyrone is currently developing a companion piece to his play ‘The Honey Man’ which toured in 2012/13.
We are also excited to be working on what we are calling an ‘Ideas Engine’, a way of supporting and strengthening artists and small organisations’ project ideas before they go for funding. Watch this space!
virtual migrants | STUN meeting space

Virtual Migrants | STUN meeting space

During April we welcome Community Arts North West, Wordsmith performance poetry showcase, Cheryl Martin, Virtual Migrants and the vocalist Sandra into our theatre space.

If you are interested in renting our theatre or office spaces they are available for members of the creative industries, performing arts, visual arts, graphic design, fashion, fabrication and literature, this list is not exhaustive! The offices are available from £100 per month, all bills included. For more informtion Email us or ring 0161 232 6088.
Deyika Nzeribe | Co-Chair

Miselo Kunda

Sustained Theatre Up North has come a long way over the past few years. As part of the national network of Sustained Theatre hubs, Manchester, has developed a network of diverse artists which it has supported and encouraged. Last year saw the opening of its own dedicated theatre space within the Z-arts building alongside an office space committed to housing and encouraging small creative enterprises.

Company Chameleon | STUN studio space

Company Chameleon | STUN studio space

A large part of that progress has been down to Miselo Kunda. Miselo has been Chair of Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) for the past 4 years, bringing people together, fighting for resources and planning for the future. So we were sad to receive the news that Miselo is stepping down as Chair. We would like to take a moment to thank Miselo for all of her hard work, her dedication and good humour. The organisation would not be where it is without her.

Anthony Watt | Co-Chair, Sustained Theatre

CAN workshop at STUN studio space

CAN workshop at STUN studio space

We are excited to have our space open and active; with artists using the theatre, and new organisations in the Creative Hub. We’re open for ideas, and the studio space for the creative community to use, so do drop by to say hi! Call us on  (read more…)

Cheryl Martin

Cheryl Martin © Ajamu

Cheryl Martin will also be in our STUN studio space in May rehearsing and developing a new work. She says “I’m walking in the air since learning that my project, ALASKA, has got funding from the Arts Council.  And I’m happy to be able to launch it in the STUN Studio on the 2nd of May. It’s really ambitious:  it’s the launch of my first solo poetry collection, Alaska, by Crocus Books / Commonword – both a physical book, with illustrations and a DVD of poetry films and animations – and an e-book with even more bells and whistles.  The book launch doubles as a sharing of a one-woman stage show based on the collection, directed by Darren Pritchard.  All backed up by a team including Maria Gabriella Ruban from partner Filmonik, Bethany Hermitt of Inna Voice doing the illustrations, and Tommy Ollerenshaw on animation.  Darren has mind-blowing ideas for the movement and experimental projection.  ALASKA, Friday 2nd May, 7:30, STUN Studio,. Tickets on sale soon.”

European Commission logo_en

Funding to support AV practitioners and film-makers
Creative Europe: supporting and improving culture and audiovisual in Europe

From 1 January 2014, BFI and British Council began delivering an interim service for the audio-visual and culture sectors, on behalf of DCMS, the formalised BFI/BC partnership commences from 1 April 2014

Jonzi D

The pioneer of hip hop theatre presents an evening of live music, poetry, movement, politics and wit.

Jonzi D, the best known advocate of hip hop theatre in the UK and Artistic Director of Breakin Convention, presents a triple bill. Co-directed by Dawn Walton The Letter explores the responses to Jonzi being offered an MBE, using Jonzi’s own brand of (read more…)


We’re delighted to announce that the Breaking Cycles hit show Pinocchio is about to take to road again for two month tour of England, before return to the North West in March. The full list of tour dates is as (read more…)

BenjiExpress Yourself

Benji Reid – Masterclass

STUN is running a two hour masterclass lead by Benji Reid.  If you’re interested in developing your practice from conception to competition, utilising different theatre and physical techniques – then this is the masterclass for you.

  • Place:             STUN Studio,  Z-arts 335 Stretford Road, M15 5ZA
  • Date:               6th December 2013
  • Time:              2pm – 4pm
  • Price:              Free  16+
  • Contact:         STUN for booking a space on 07977 122 723 (spaces are limited)

Benji is currently the Artistic Director of Mars. (Manchester Artistic Research Studios).

Mars is a theatre-making program aimed (read more…)

Marcus ChristmasOnce upon a Christmas time there was a home full of warmth, laughter and mince pies.
Rella lives happily with her rich father, his new wife and her two daughters.
Until her father passes away and the riches disappear. Happiness is replaced with resentment, jealousy and loneliness.
This Christmas come hear three sides to this modern tale. Rella find strength when a huge secret is revealed.

Place: STUN Studio, Z-arts 335 Stretford Road, M15 5ZA
Date: 7th December
Time: 3pm
Price: £5 (no conc.) Contact Z-arts to book a ticket

Hercules Productions Christmas Showcase


Theatre Wed 27 – Sat 30 Nov. 7.30pm

at Watermans

Shahrukh Khan means different things to each of the three lodgers of Serene Cottage. Leading separate lives, these middle-aged women come together once a week for their ‘King of Bollywood’ fan club meetings, gathered around the DVD player held in the communal lounge of their suburban home. Until one day a young man appears (read more…)

the-hat-Factory-Wh-Hi-ResCall Out to Actors!, The Hat Factory, Luton

South East, London Closes Tuesday 26 November 2013 Paid (£10k-15k pro rata) Part time Artform: music, theatre   Contact: Oluwatoyin Odunsi

We will be doing a rehearsed reading of a new play called ‘Also By Mail’ by Olumide Popoola @ The Hat Factory on Thursday 5th December 2013.

Also by Mail

This play tells the tale of Nigerian/German history (read more…)

Chairs’ Update

We, at STUN have spent a considerable amount of time carefully planning our future. It is essential to STUN that our members are our top priority and that the financial decisions we make match our creative goals for the artists we will support through the artist cycle.

Miselo Kunda_5771email2Lets talk: –

Free Space


The launch (read more…)

8.STUN MASTER-1Blackpool STUN Road-Show – STUN

Greetings ………..

Over the last 6 months Sustained Theatre Up North, STUN, have been engaged in a series of Roadshows within the Northwest and on Wednesday 20th November we will be holding our final Roadshow in Blackpool and we are hoping that you will be available to present your work at this event.

This event will give you the opportunity to (read more…)

gina-yashere cropExclusive Interview with Gina Yeshere at Contact Theatre (read more…)
Silk Photography for Jazzie B, Caron Wheeler, Soul II SoulBand on the Wall and Senbla presented the legendary Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler and Jazzie B plus full live band at Manchester’s Ritz on 14th November 2013. They wowed the audience with their global hits that include Back To Life, Keep On Movin’, Joy and A Dreams A Dream.

Soul II Soul a 2-time Grammy winning act that emerged at the end of the 1980s from London. The group initially (read more…)

international womens dayInternational Womens Day Grants 2014

The grant applications for events to celebrate IWD in March 2014 have been 
launched today.  (read more...)
Fade to Black film festival will be screenings films at Z-Arts every Thursday in October starting this week.The Fade

The New Black Film Collective is collaborating with Z-Arts,

STUN and The Mbari Group to screen some of the most (read more…)

Ekua leavesEkua Bayunu will be stepping down as National Chair at the end of November.

We would like to thank Ekua for her tireless vision and all the hard work she has put into getting us this far.

(read more…)

SLK_0571There is a distinct buzz of excitement is in the air with STUN Refurbishment. The hammers are hammering, the drills are drilling. STUN “Spaces Project” begins to take shape and its completion in December, will herald a new age of access and opportunity for artiste, producers, writers, dancers and practioners of the creative arts in the Northwest. (read more…)

STUN’s Lwimbo Kunda and Deyika Nzeribe are hosting a pilot Film Festival called Fade to Black in collaboration with Z-arts and The New Black Film. The aim of the film nights is to inspire artists and ignite conversations to produce new work and new collaborations. (read more…)


The Vogue Ball, project managed by our very own Darren Pritchard is organized by the House of Suarez, and Darren Suarez, Artistic Director. The ball, which since its inception in 2010 has evolved from cult underground event to sell-out sensation, took place at the Camp and Furnace 5th October 2013. (read more…)

all my sons swings

Michael Buffong returns to the Exchange to direct Arthur Miller’s landmark play – a searing investigation of honesty, guilt and the corrupting power of greed.

The play was Arthur Miller’s first success, establishing him as a leading voice in theatre.

ALL MY SONS is set in 1947 and Joe and Kate Keller, an all-American couple, have the ghosts of World War II living in their own backyard.

Joe is a successful, self-made businessman, (read more…)

TNB Manchester is an exciting new film club designed to fill the gap in Black cinematic provision with an added cultural experience. TNB (The New
Black) is a nationwide network of film exhibitors and the project is supported by the National Lottery through BFI and Creative England.

First of a series of four film events is REINCARNATED

3 Oct, 7pm, Z-arts main theatre space, £3.50

Reincarnated (18)
Hip Hop artist Snoop Dogg changes his name to Snoop Lion, travels to Jamaica, emerges himself in Rastafarian culture and produces his first reggae record.

Couture-commoword workshopURBANITES: Workshops
7pm – 9pm
Sidnie Co Couture, 18 Upper Chorlton Rd, Manchester M16 7RN
Cost: £5 per payable on the day
Book via Sidnie 0161 226 7775
Urbanites Workshop,  18th Sep 2013 at  Sidnie Co. Couture, 18 Upper Chorlton Rd, Manchester M7 RN   From 7pm  (its opp the big pub on the corner called The Whalley Pub)
Join us on 18/09, 7pm for a thought provoking workshop exploring – through objects on display at Sidnie Co. Couture – 200 years of Black writing in Manchester.
It will also include an illustrated reflection on the role of writers, artists + historians as curators of a history still considered as hidden. But.. is it hidden or neglected?

manchester-city-council-logoDate: Tuesday 10th September 2013 Time: 8am -12noon

Meet The Buyer

The First Street construction partners would like to invite you to a Meet the Buyer event to support the delivery of the mixed-use development at First Street North.

Jointly hosted by contractors, Wates Construction and Carillion Construction Services, the event is aimed to ensure local suppliers and subcontractors are engaged in the £80m scheme and will give companies the opportunity to tender for work packages which include: (read more…)

Back2RootsBack 2 Roots, have been nominated for The Nubian Times Community MBC Award 2013!! They are a young persons run organisation that culturally EDUCATE, INNOVATE and ELEVATE, the minds of young people and the wider community on heritage and history.

(read more…)

Steering groupThis group of creative leaders will oversee the refurbishment of the Space at Z arts. Bringing you a digital and physical creative space for a range of diverse theatrical forms from dance, drama and new writing to puppetry and new media in the Northwest! (read more…)
ImaniSTUN would like to congratulate Imani Jendai who was nominated for The ADAD Lifetime Achievement Award in London this year. This was to recognize her outstanding contribution to the development of African Diaspora dance in the UK and internationally. (read more…)
Miselo Kunda_5771email2It so great to be back from sabbatical. The team is stronger than ever. I would like to start with a big thank-you to all the people who have come together to strengthen the work of STUN. I will attempt to briefly update you on the latest activity, changes of staff, new board members and to announce the long awaited happy news of the STUN –Z-Arts partnership space to launch in December. (read more…)
chinaOn 28th August at the Manchester town hall the STUN Chair Miselo Kunda delivered a speech to the Chinese State Ethnic Affairs Commission Delegation about the STUN – Z-Arts partnership. It was organised by Dr. Yang He at Sunland International and Jo Johnston Culture Team Manchester City Council

(read more…)

Rehearsals at Z-Arts brokered the start of a Brazilian connection with STUN and OQuadro. This was followed by thier Debut UK performance at Whitworth Art Gallery this weekend, Oquadro continue there UK tour with the Bestival festival performance just around the corner and Band on the Wall.

Silk Photography for STUN Sustained Theatre Up North Named as one of the hottest acts in Brazil now, deliver that painting fired-up hip hop with his own kick single Bahia. Table make old-school, with Brazilian rules. This is high speed conscious rap, candomblé drums and dub, ijesha and afrobeat flavors-explosive! The following shows innovators in The Great Escape, Roundhouse London and Notting Hill Arts Club, in may 2013, the boom of Bahia is back in the United Kingdom this summer. Table: Table hail from the coastal city of Ilhéus in Bahia, northeastern Brazil. They are a team of seven pieces of hip-hop who joined as teenagers of 15 years and created their own route through by any means necessary. Without access to digital equipment (in the redoubt of samba, PPM were not easy to put in your hands), the line-up that painting looks more like a rock band led by three MCs. One of them, professor Jef (he is also a professor of philosophy), explains: “we’re hip-hop, our thinking is hip-hop. But when we started we didn’t have samplers or decks … for transposing the sound of Afrika Bambaataa, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys on bass, guitar, drum kit and percussion. We don’t have a hip-hop market created in Bahia as well when we play live that can end up playing alongside death metal bands, punk and reggae bands … this kind of influences us. We like Bad Brains, Massive Attack, Sepultura, Anti Pop Consortium, Lee Perry, Geronimo, Black Uhuru … everything that falls into the frame we call Table. Let us not to be defined. Hip-hop gives us is the framework of our song and it is also the way that we use to build our poetry. “Always aware, always burning, which is that painting. That painting and have huge respect for hip-hop fans throughout Brazil, his self-titled album, produced by Don Li’s Brazilian Dub was released in 2012. They also picked up a wave of new followers in his recent visit to the United Kingdom, where they performed with ravers the erotic heat wave, dancehall MC Lady Chann and reggae singer Natty on the Bass Culture Clash: Salvador vs London Tour. “Unique, lively and highly danceable music” Brighton Noise “that painting of Brazil-. Three rappers lead singer of a rock band, with songs that resembled the spirit of street party the beginning of hip-hop … It was artists like that painting, singular and curious, which made the Great Escape Special “Will Hodgkinson, times Bahia: Salvador is the oldest town in Brazil, a UNESCO World Heritage site and capital of Bahia, the State with the strong cultural presence in the African country. Plumbing deep inheritance, and connect the new chains, Bahia broadcasts a special wave energy when it comes to musical invention. He has been a creative power in flames-the source of crucial changes in Brazilian music that swept across the country and beyond. Samba originated there, is where Bossa Nova dreams started and where the very influential Tropicália movement erupted. The sounds of Bahia, always out of cultural collisions. With that painting the new Bahian manifest hip hop is here.


Venue: Shindig Hebden BridgeNelsons Wine Bar, Hebden Bridge

Date:  Tuesday 17th September, 8pm

Organiser Winston Plowes
Introducing the latest event for poetry and spoken word for Hebden Bridge. We are really lucky to have a very special guest for our first event.

Introducing Char March –

If you’ve never thought poetry is your bag, and the thought of going to a poetry performance fills you with horror… think again! Char March’s poetry performances are a rip-roaring mix of stand-up and emotional roller-coaster – she’ll have you crying with laughter and roaring with tears.

Char March is a local, multi-award-winning poet, playwright and fiction writer. Her latest poetry collections are ‘The Thousand Natural Shocks’ and ‘The Cloud Appreciation Society’s Day Out’ both of which have lots of poems in celebrating – and despairing of – our local weather! She is currently writer-in-residence for the NHS in the North West, and she’s also been writer-in-residence for: the huge Pennine Watershed Initiative; Leeds Hospitals Trust; Ty Newydd (the National Writing Centre in Wales); and Hull University Business School. Winston Plowes asked Char to write a poem for his Rochdale Canal Poetry Trail, so ‘Mrs Toad The Estate Agent’ came into being – a fag-butt-eating toad who lives in the canal, fights with pike, and teases the ducks. Char takes Mrs T tasty tit-bits to eat every day, and delights in her obscene gestures.

Cultural Collage World Music FestivalDate: Friday 27th Sept

Time: 18.00-21.00

Venue: Friends Meeting House, central Manchester

Lingua Franca World Music Agency and Mazazik Productions present the launch of a regular social evening for dancers of all cultural backgrounds and levels led by Jane Wass, offering the opportunity to learn different dance genres from around the world and including guest tutors and dance demonstrations. Guest Tutor at launch event will be Jokeh Sillah from The Gambia!

Date: Tuesday 13 August from 6 to 8pm
Venue: Royal Exchange Theatre, St Anns Square  Manchester M2 7DH

Speaker: Joanne Grubb of J G Creative
Subject: What is Brand and why is it important for your charity?

Brands, what are they and why do you need one? Why branding is so important for your charity and some hints and tips to manage your brand

Booking: £10 via Eventbrite – IOF individual members will get this back when signing in at the event.

Notes about booking:
Places are limited so please book your place as soon as possible.  The event is free to IoF Members and £10 to non IoF Members.  Please note our booking system. IoF members will be asked to pay £10 booking deposit, which will then be reimbursed direct to your credit card as long as you turn up for the event. This system helps ensure that everyone who wants to attend is able to do so. If we get fully booked, we operate a wait list.  Our cancellation policy is that we will give a full refund if you cancel prior to 10am on the Monday before the event (12 August). This applies to members and non-members.


In 2014 The 3MT will be changing it’s event calendar slightly, and focusing on regular monthly events. We already have a great range of events, including S.O.S comedy, Wordology, Magical Animals, The Acoustic Sessions, Pocket Soul, Kino Shorts and Dr Sketchy, but there is still room on the calendar for a few more!
So if you have an idea burning a hole in the pockets of your mind, for a monthly event and have been looking for a venue then look no further. We are giving you the chance to win a regular monthly slot at the 3MT for FREE!
Our events monthly events already cover, spoken word, music, comedy, film and even art, but we aren’t ruling anything out so if you are interested please visit!get-involved/c20s0 to download the full call out.


Continental Shifts, Shifts in Perception
London, UK 1-4 October 2013


WITH keynote speakers: Susheila Nasta, Caryl Phillips, Anna Rastas, Ribka Sibhatu, Dominic Thomas and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
1-4 October 2013 at Senate House, Malet House, London WC1E 7HU, UK
BWC flyer front

Commonword/Cultureword in association with Manchester Literature Festival & Contact presents

Cultureword Black & Asian Writers Conference 2013

Saturday 19th October

Contact Theatre, Manchester

How To book: Contact Theatre website from July 2013.

The 7th Black Writers Conference & Festival will be the biggest yet.   Major writers including Malorie Blackman, Fred D’Aguiar, Sujata Bhatt, Bali Rai, Samuel Shimon, Dorothea Smartt and Thomas Glave will be participating.  They will join Penguin publishers, literary agents, two young writers’ workshops, three book launches, information stalls, a young writers performance, and  an evening Festival  that includes  Slam Champion Stephanie Dogfoot, Malika Booker, Sujata Bhatt, J P Cooper, Speakeasy band, Young Identity and many more…

The Conference will feature the following debates and workshops:  Writing For Children:   How do we get more diversity into published children’s writing?  Women poets and the stage:  the reception and subtle exclusions that female spoken word artists face in public space that remains dominated by men.  Queer writing:  What space does the black queer writer occupy? Is there ‘room at the inn’ for black queer writers? How does ‘double discrimination’ inform and undermine our writing?  Freedom and Resistance:   ‘Tortured, the Truth, Remains  And Will Free Itself. How has the relationship of writing and resistance  changed in the 21st century?

There are two specific young writers’ workshops and a performance opportunity all  led by Young Identity young writers group.

To see the programme for the day please click here

We are holding a get together for those who took part in our event during the WoW Festival called ‘Where are you from and what’s your story? It was aimed at refugees, asylum seekers and those who work in this area. We want to launch a new writing project and are having a consultation on Tuesday 31st July, 6pm at The Kuumba Imani centre on Princes Road. all welcome, even if you didn’t manage to attend the last one. Tel 0151 703 0020 for more information.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Writing on the Wall and National Museums Liverpool invite you to create a poetic response to these powerful words. Poet and Spoken Word artist Curtis Watt will lead a workshop day on Tuesday 20th August from 10am – 4pm at The International Slavery Museum, Albert Dock, L3 4AX.

Participants will then be given the opportunity to showcase their poems during a public performance on the anniversary of the speech on Wednesday 28th August.
This event will be part of a day of activities at the Marin Luther King building at the Albert Dock, organised by National Museums Liverpool and a range of artistic and cultural partners from across the city.
There are a limited number of places for these workshops so please book a place by emailing or phoning us on 0151 703 0020.

BWC flyer front

Saturday 19th October

Contact Theatre, Manchester

How To book: Contact Theatre website from July 2013


The 7th Black Writers Conference & Festival will be the biggest yet.   Major writers including Malorie Blackman, Fred D’Aguiar, Sujata Bhatt, Bali Rai, Samuel Shimon, Dorothea Smartt and Thomas Glave will be participating.  They will join Penguin publishers, literary agents, two young writers’ workshops, three book launches, information stalls, a young writers performance, and  an evening Festival  that includes  Slam Champion Stephanie Dogfoot, Malika Booker, Sujata Bhatt, J P Cooper, Speakeasy band, Young Identity and many more…

The Conference will feature the following debates and workshops:  Writing For Children:   How do we get more diversity into published children’s writing?  Women poets and the stage:  the reception and subtle exclusions that female spoken word artists face in public space that remains dominated by men.  Queer writing:  What space does the black queer writer occupy? Is there ‘room at the inn’ for black queer writers? How does ‘double discrimination’ inform and undermine our writing?  Freedom and Resistance:   ‘Tortured, the Truth, Remains  And Will Free Itself. How has the relationship of writing and resistance  changed in the 21st century?

There are two specific young writers’ workshops and a performance opportunity all  led by Young Identity young writers group.

To see the programme for the day please click here

Lisapo – The Congolese Tales is a direct development of Community Arts North West’s Exodus Refugee Arts Programme and is the company’s first project that aims to create an oral histories record for the region’s archives. It is hoped that we will be able to build on this programme for the future, creating archiving projects with other refugee heritage groups that have settled in Greater Manchester in recent years.

Lisapo will record, preserve and share the untold stories of the Congolese community living in Greater Manchester. A community that has been migrating to Britain since the late 1980s as a result of the destabilisation of the country and consequent civil war. The Congolese community represents one of the largest stakeholder groups involved in the Exodus programme since 2004.

This programme runs from April 2013 to July 2014.

Lisapo - The Congolese Tales project flyer

Fe Dance

Produced by Imani Jendai for Fe Dance Co

Greetings STUNNING Members

 2013 is the year that STUN can officially celebrate the hard work that Baroness Lola Young started 8 years ago. We have been given the go ahead from the Arts Council to refurbish the Hub Office and the Studio at Z-Arts and paid the rent and bills for 10 years. That’s over £800,000.00 so that you can get access to space to make the work YOU want to make!
In 2005, Arts Council England ear-marked £5 million to Sustained Theatre National for spaces around the country for BAME artists. Z-Arts applied to Sustained Theatre National Artists Team (STNAT) through our National Spaces Group to be considered as a potential partner for the North West and was successful.  We then hired Maggie Saxon who worked with both STUN and Z-Arts to put in an application via the ACE Renew Capital Programme . We have been successful.
What this means for you?
We will, later in the year, once we have completed the refurbishment, be offering desks to rent in the HUB office and a digital space for artists to develop their skills, r ‘n’ d and even do mini showcases and sharings in the 60 seat studio.
We have kept our promise, and worked tirelessly to get to this stage, our key goals
·         To act as a network linking BAME theatre practitioners across the North West
·         To lobby for positive change at a regional and national level
·         To create opportunities for BAME theatre practitioners to present their work at a regional, national and international level
There has been some significant progress in the last 12 months and we are sorry if we haven’t been able to give you as much information as we would have liked along the way but when you see what we’re achieving, we hope ypou wil forgive us! But from now on the Newsletter will come out on a monthly basis.
YOU are the most important part of the Process going forward!
Click here for full details of our Achievements in 2012
We have
  • Developed a new brand ‘STUN to attract more commercial sponsorship and help our members lift their profile STUN
  • Raised our Profile with  a new website offering information details of our members, arts practitioners, groups and organisations. A photographic archive of our work, events and activities including staff and Board.  Alongside our members , their work and activities.
  • Registered as a CIC with Companies house
  • Established a Board of really committed Artists, people like you, making things happen creatively across the region, nationally and internationally. They have maintained a consistency of attendance, advice, feedback, support and work towards the development of the leadership and infrastructure for STUN hub
  • Delivered the Say it Loud programme, bringing together over 300 people over the autumn to explore Black History, Activism, Art and Debate.
  • Established our reputation as a place where people ask for diverse artists, producers etc. Including the Royal exchange who have offered STUN members the opportunity to showcase work in the STUDIO at royal exchange and included space in programming on the Special FX series. The Nottingham Playhouse programmer also has contacted us for names of organisations to consider for their STUDIO space too. We have been inundated with people sending us opportunities for us to share too.
  • Built a rapport with high profile individuals based in the Northwest who have offered to mentor and advise up and coming talents
  • Negotiated a Solicitor to look at our future contracts, lease terms and conditions.
  • Developed our amazing e-newsletter
  • Built a reputation nationally that other Hubs look up to, they ask us for advise and paperwork, job descriptions, conflict management, constitution
  • Brokered relationships with Business in the Arts and negotiated discounts for Board training and development.
  • Raised £1000 through voluntary contributions £2000 from Manchester city council for the Say It loud Program and Hulme History Month and £9000 from ACE for organisational development (£3k for each project)
I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication that has gone into the year as we build the infrastructure for a sustainable future.
Join us in this journey advocating for cultural diversity across the arts and ensure the celebration is properly marked and duly shared.  Become a member. Create a profile. Follow us on twitter and visit our face book page.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR PITCH SLOTS – part of the PANDA Rural Touring Mentoring Scheme 2013.

When : Wednesday 13 March 2013
Where: The Kirkgate Arts Centre Cockermouth, Cumbria
(Home to Arts Out West Touring Scheme)

This is YOUR CHANCE to have the exclusive attention of  a panel of rural touring scheme managers (and promoters) to:

· Present an existing project and discuss how it might work for rural touring
· Discuss an idea you have for a project that might  be suitable for rural touring

Whether you are a emerging company or a company with a track record of quality work – we are keen to talk to you. In return the panel will offer advice and support and in some cases, Mentoring. All performing art forms welcome.

There will be the opportunity for up to 8 companies to pitch or showcase their work. Applications for pitching should be made through PANDA—deadline 3pm 5 February; successful applicants notified by 15 Feb.
Further info : Find out more about the scheme and how to engage with the extensive rural touring circuits at a PANDA networking event TUESDAY 22nd JANUARY 11am-1pm

Further info:
Or email:

20 Stories High in partnership with Arts Council England, North West; Octagon Theatre, Bolton; Contact Theatre, STUN (Sustained Theatre North West); Homotopia, DaDa Fest; Vital Xposure are running a series of conversations across the North West of England focusing on:

Developing a Theatre network to progress the Creative Case across the region;

Exploring a range of innovative work made and presented by artists from the North West

For Programme details click here

Networking and developing partnerships between smaller and larger arts organisations based in the North West

The Creative Case sets out how diversity and equality can enrich the arts for artists, audiences and the wider society.

Creative Case Conversations – North West is a Theatre-sector led initiative building a greater understanding of the Creative Case and creating a visible and shared commitment to diverse programming; supporting existing and future networks and audience development initiatives.

The February programme will act as a catalyst for discussion, enabling representatives of the Theatre sector to have inspirational and open discussions and debate on the Creative Case for Diversity; to share, discuss and understand the Creative Case.

 A series of 4 conversations, led by the theatre-sector, across the North West of England focusing on:

  • Increasing understanding of the Creative Case amongst NPOs in the Theatre sector
  • Stimulate discussions using innovative work made and presented by artists working in the North West to understand the relationship between creativity and diversity
  • Inspire new networking and developing partnerships of organisations who are committed to the Creative Case and will work to effect change.

The first three conversations will be focused on pieces of work, both theatre and film, facilitated by artists from or who have close connections to the North West of England, bringing together a number of artists, Senior Managers and Board members of the main theatre NPO’s in the North West of England, namely:

 Playhouse and Everyman Theatres, Liverpool

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Contact Theatre, Mancester

Theatre By The Lake, Keswick

Octagon Theatre, Bolton

The Coliseum, Oldham

The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster

Home (Library-Cornerhouse Project)

Z-arts & Breaking Cycles present


Moss Side. 1976. The year of the Great Heatwave and Pinocchio’s on the run. In a ramshackle shop his father, Elijah the toymaker, waits.

Will Pinocchio ever return to make him proud?

Award-winning director and choreographer Benji Reid joins Z-arts and writer Mary Cooper to produce this fast, funny and magical show for all the family.


Featuring body-popping and puppetry, music and animation this is a retelling of Carlo Collodi’s children’s classic like no other.

Live at LICA

Saturday 8th & Monday 10th December, 2pm & 7pm, 01524 594151, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YW


13th – 22nd December, Matinees & Evenings, 0161 232 6089, Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA

Burnley Youth Theatre

Saturday 12th January, 2pm, 01282 427767, Queens Park Road, Burnley, BB10 3LB



Huddersfield-based Balbir Singh Dance Company was recently announced as one of three organisations who will be working with the Royal Opera House in the first year of their ROH Links scheme.


For more information click here

Since The Space launched in May 2012,

eleven projects from the North of England have been produced and are now available to view on the platform.

The Space is a new digital arts service developed by the Arts Council in partnership with the BBC. It is a place where arts organisations and artists can innovate and reach audiences digitally – you can access The Space on computer, tablet, smartphone and connected TV.

For more information click here

Cake Tin FederationThe Cake Tin Foundation are carrying out a feasibility study to determine the wants and needs of new and emerging queer artists* based in the North West.

The information gathered will help CTF create an appropriate infrastructure to support and develop emerging queer artists (read more…)

STUN raises £1000 towards the Tell It Like it Is Interactive Lecture series!

A much contested prize with 4 local initiatives in Hulme winning award for between £1000 and £2,500 towards their Hulme cultural programming.

Well done to our fellow winners

ZeeBee productions, Hulme History Month, and Unconvention

To do your bit and donate to this brilliant programme click here

This series of interactive lectures will conclude our say it Loud Programme for 2012.

For 4 Thursdays from the 15th November to the 6th December, Artists and Organisations will come together to inspire you to get involved in your community. From Gardening to Campaigning, from Education to the Police.

Share the issues that concern you and find like-minded people who want to make a difference.

For more information click here

Recently Elected STNAT Chair, Ekua Bayunu, meets new partners from China

Sustained Theatre host our friends and partners at the Young China Shines event on the 6th August at the Queens Hall, Clerk St, Edinburgh.

Miselo Kunda, Chair of STUN, Sustained Theatre Up North and Ekua Bayunu, Chair of Sustained Theatre National were pleased to have this opportunity to begin to forge relationships with new potential partners in Scotland and China.

Meeting with Kath Mainland, the Director of the Fringe Festival, Liam Sinclair, Director, MacRobert Theatre, Anita Govern the new Stirling Makar, members of Scottish Operah but most importantly to begin the dialogue with new partners from Beijing and Shanghai.

STUN | Mbari Group presents ‘Say It Loud’
A programme of Black history, arts and debate
Tuesday 2nd October – 7-8.30pm, Free entry!

This event marks the start of ‘Say It Loud’ – a programme of Black history, local history, art, performance, film, walking tours, debate and argument.
(read more…)