Foot In The Door: Meet the 2018 Cohort

Far from the shining lights of the X Factor or the Voice, we have teamed up with Lancaster ArtshÅb to offer five of the best new theatre talent a unique opportunity to kick start brand new ideas. In the spirit of reciprocity  the five selected artists will be taking part in workshops and will be mentored by renowned artists including Daniel Bye and Mary Pearson. The 2018 cohort will be the second to join the scheme, with previous participants having received funding from Arts Council England, undertaken national tours and performed to sell out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Following a competitive call out for proposals, a panel made up of representatives from Lancaster Arts, Making Room and Manchester’s hÅb selected the following artists: Jerusalem born vocalist and songwriter Avital Raz; Manchester-based stand-up comedian Amy Vreeke; cabaret performer Ashleigh Owen; storyteller Josh Gardner and writer/perfomer Emma Geraghty.

Making Room Artistic Director Leo Burtin said of the selection process: “When we choose the artists for this programme, we are particularly excited to imagine how they might work together as a group. We always look forward to seeing how they support and challenge each other.” This is echoed in Geraghty’s reaction to having been selected: “Foot In the Door will be a great opportunity to throw myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself as a solo artist.”

We’d like to invite you to join us for the Foot In The Door showcase taking place on February 15th at the Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster. This will be a unique opportunity to be among the first people to hear, see and engage with brand new ideas as they are developed.

Featured image: Josh Gardner, copyright Gemma Turnbull

About the participating artists

Avital Raz

Jerusalem born vocalist and songwriter Avital Raz is a strikingly original and fearless artist with a compelling ability to take the listener down often dark and dirty lyrical pathways. Difficult to pin down Avital carries through all kinds of Western and Eastern passages and emerges as a distinctive and truly individual voice that speaks with a very real and potent self expression. Funny at times, always feisty and possibly even a bit bonkers. The Scotland Herald said of her album: “It is likely to be one of the most compelling things you hear all year.”

Amy Vreeke

Amy is a theatre maker and stand-up comedian based in Manchester. She is fascinated by multi-genre, autobiographical work that explores social taboos with candour and comedy. Since graduating from MMU with a degree in Contemporary Theatre and Performance in 2015, she has been establishing myself as a stand up comedian on the northern circuit along side being involved in exciting theatre projects with Manchester’s Contact Young Company. She is excited to be at the start of her journey as a solo theatre maker and can’t wait to see what the future will bring!


Ashleigh Owen (pictured above)

Ashleigh trained at National Youth Music Theatre, London Metropolitan University and John Moors University. Her professional credits include the International Shakespeare Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2011 she toured an adaptation of Eugene Ionescco’sThe Bald Prima Donna, which she directed and played the role of Mrs. Smith. In 2013 she won Hamburger Queen, which was a highlight of London’s alternative cabaret scene, produced by artist Scottee. She has since performed alongside Scottee at Bestival, The Shoreditch Town Hall and The Royal Festival Hall. Her most recent work The Rise And Fall Of The Hamburger Queen was a quasi-autobiographical, comedy cabaret show supported by Homotopia and performed at Unity Theatre.  


Emma Geraghty

Emma Geraghty is a Manchester based writer, singer, and theatre-maker. She co-founded political theatre company Powder Keg, is attempting to write a book about historical queer theatre, and assistant directed an interactive feminist science show for children. Her work looks at the impact of being a fat queer feminist woman and refusing to shut up about it. She’s good at bad puns, collecting lots of books, and overreacting to minor inconveniences.


Josh Gardner

Josh Gardner is a messy sort of story teller working between live art and theatre. His work is politically and socially engaged, using performance as a means of conducting research in the public sphere. Josh has devised 3 solo shows at venues in London, Edinburgh and Brighton. His first show It’s All About George (2014) was a sell out success at the Edinburgh Fringe, described as an ‘enthralling shotgun volley of interesting ideas’ by the Scotsman and ‘highly recommended’ by Fringe Review.

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