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.

BLUSH by Snuff Box Theatre

Job Opportunity: Assistant Producer with Making Room

Making Room is seeking to appoint an Assistant Producer to work alongside its two co-directors to assist in the delivery of the company’s projects and shows in 2017.

This is an excellent paid opportunity for an individual who is seeking to gain further producing experience to build on their current portfolio.

We’re looking for someone who is willing to throw themselves into a range of projects and roles, who can work independently as part of a small team and has a shared understanding of Making Room’s mission to “boldly strive for a shift in society through culture”.

The Assistant Producer role will work across Making Room’s shows and projects in 2017 including supporting the co-directors in delivering aspects of three national touring productions, one London production, three shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a festival of feminism.

For more information please download the information pack.

The fee for this role is £1200 for 20 days work across 15 weeks.
Deadline for applications is at noon on Wednesday 26th April.

If you have any questions please email hello[at]

Image from Snuff Box Theatre’s BLUSH playing at Soho Theatre and on Tour.


Announcing the Foot in the Door Artists

Lancaster Arts and Making Room are proud to announce the artists that have been selected for the inaugural Foot in the Door scheme. Selected from a call out in the North West, the artists announced include James Monaghan and Ali Wilson with companies Tin Can People and Theatre 42.

Foot in the Door is supported by Arts Council England and gives artists based in the North West the opportunity to develop new work in a week of structured workshops, rehearsal room time, networking and supportive feedback through work in progress showings.

As well as developing new work, Lancaster Arts will host performances from Ali Matthews and Leo Burtin with The Best of Both Worlds: A Busker’s Opera and Paper People’s Theatre’s Do Geese See God.

Read more about the selected artists and what they hope to achieve through being part of Foot in the Door below.

Tickets for performances as part of Foot in the Door can be bought via the Lancaster Arts Website.


James Monaghan

James is a person who makes art, theatre and performance. His practice is built upon openness and a commitment to developing challenging work through high-risk experimentation. He co-created SheepKnuckle whose work blurs the boundaries between digital misuse, audience collaboration and live art. He is also a collaborating artist with Quarantine Theatre Company. James is based in Manchester, the city of rain.

James is looking forward to challenging himself to explore making work as an individual practitioner alongside the support and guidance of respected peers. He will use the opportunity as a springboard to further develop his ideas around patterns in communication within a post-truth world.


Ali Wilson

Having moved to Manchester for university in 2013, Ali has been making work and learning more about theatre in the north west with a keen interest. She has a particular interest in quirky solo performance and work that explores issues regarding identity and autobiography. Ali is an associate artist with Facade Theatre and has performed with Quarantine. Aside from making theatre and watching live performance, Ali likes cycling, going to zumba and watching German soaps.

Ali says, “taking part in Foot In The Door is really exciting for me. Since graduation I’ve worked hard to adjust to the making work without the help of university tutors and I think spending time with other like-minded artists will be a big boost for that. This scheme will enable me to explore new ideas and develop current ones in a friendly environment, whilst also offering me a chance to gain new skills in other areas. I can’t wait!”

tin-can-people_katie-pip-2017Tin Can People

Tin Can People are an artistic collective led by Charlotte Berry & Rob Gregson who live and work in Preston. They make interdisciplinary theatre and performance, often question where we are, how we got here, and try to place ourselves in the worlds’ big issues. Tin Can People like to laugh at themselves, talk about the mundane and fantasize about alternative futures.  The company have shared work for the past two years at festivals and emergent platforms both nationally and internationally. Currently they’re collaborating with participants Katie & Pip in the development of The Katie & Pip Project. 

Tin Can People say, “Our commitment to Foot in the Door should prove as a vital stepping stone in the development of our practice, specifically for our upcoming performance The Katie & Pip Project, a performance that celebrates the relationship between Katie, a 14 year old type 1 diabetic girl and ‘Pip’ her 4 year old border collie, trained by Katie to save her life on a daily basis. As we are working with both a child and an animal, to have the support of professional practitioners will allow us the opportunity to experiment and fully scrutinize our material, whilst enabling us the chance to develop a strategy for future funding. As artists from Preston it’s important that we’re creating meaningful relationships with partners in the North West.“


Theatre 42

Theatre 42, formed in 2016 by six Lancaster University graduates. Their first piece Nothing is Coming, the Pixels are Huge was performed as part of Manchester’s Emergency Festival and at Lancaster Arts. It is now undergoing further development with a view to touring next year. Their latest piece of work is being developed in collaboration with FITD. T42 is Anna West, Beatrice Sutton, David Callanan, Liz Duggan and Louise Cross and supported by Making Room.

As an emerging company, T42 is looking to take advantage of the opportunities presented and develop their professional image as well as the theatre they strive to make. The workshops and support offered by Foot In The Door is invaluable as it is based in the place where it all began for T42, but will open their eyes to the horizon and beyond.


Foot in the Door is supported by Arts Council England in a partnership between Making Room and Lancaster Arts. Featured image by Julian Hughes.


Making Room Produces The Conker Group’s Gutted in 2017

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be working with The Conker Group in 2017 to produce and present their latest show Gutted. Created by The Conker Group’s director Tara Robinson with performer Liz Robertson, Gutted is a co-production with HOME, Manchester. First presented to a sell-out audience in May 2016, Gutted is a shameless story of love, laughter and lavatories, exploring Liz’s real-life experiences of living with ulcerative colitis.

Gutted has been supported by the Wellcome Trust People’s Award, IA: The Ileostomy & Internal Pouch Support Group*, and Arts Council England. and will be touring around hospitals in November 2016. Making Room will be working closely on producing the show for a national tour in 2017 (more details on tour booking soon).

As Making Room continues to grow in supporting artists and companies, we’re particularly excited about working with The Conker Group. Continuing to fulfil our mission of creating and supporting work that has an impact in society, we were drawn to Gutted for its human and humorous look at a long-term condition that affects 146,000 people in the UK. Gutted has already made brilliant steps at transforming and inspiring patients and relatives and we look forward to shaping the continued success of the show.

You can find out more about Gutted and The Conker Group on their website.