The Coliseum is committed to developing artists and companies from across the North West. Associate and Supported Artists and Companies are embedded in the Coliseum company and have access to individually tailored experiences to support their development and strengthen their networks.
All Associate and Supported Artists and Companies work closely with the Coliseum to develop new audiences and provide critical feedback for other Coliseum productions. They are a part of a peer-to-peer support network and act as mentors for aspiring creatives working with the theatre.
Associates are practitioners with whom the Coliseum creates work in collaboration with, whilst Supported Artists are individual theatre makers and writers that the Coliseum supports to bring their own work to fruition.
Fine Comb Theatre
“We’re really excited to be supported by the Coliseum for another year. Last year was monumental for us as a company, with our first Arts Council funded production, and we can’t wait to see where our second year takes us.”
Fine Comb Theatre are a new writing theatre company established in the North West since 2013. The company makes issue-based theatre, giving a voice to those often unheard, with the aim of provoking thought and stimulating conversation. They have established a reputation for creating stylised, innovative and intriguing productions within delicate subject matters. Inspired by fact, infused with fiction and ingrained in Fine Comb attention to detail.
Rachel McMurray, Artistic Director and writer, has written original scripts for all seven Fine Comb productions, drawing from her involvement in working in prison theatre and from her own personal experiences. She has a Master of Arts in Applied Theatre with a passion for theatre as a platform for social change. Catherine Morefield, Company Producer, has worked as an actor alongside running the company. She has worked with theatre companies such as Blast Theory and Hydrocracker, and TV productions for BBC2 and Channel 4.
Last year as Associate Artists Fine Comb undertook Arts Council funded research and development for their latest piece Not Yours, Mine followed by a four night run in the Coliseum Studio. They held improvisation workshops and hosted scratch nights at the Coliseum, and worked closely with the Learning and Engagement department, facilitating projects for local young people.
“We are so excited to be working more closely with Oldham Coliseum in 2020. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time for us; a new name, some new team members, a new outlook! We’re looking forward to some much needed mentorship that will hopefully help us build our profile and support us to explore new ways of storytelling, both in the theatre and out in the community.”
RedBobble Arts are a female led company, based in Manchester and Leeds. They specialise in making live performance as well as creating community engagement and education projects.
Kelly Munro-Fawcett is both an actor and Co-Creative Producer at RedBobble Arts and is based in Leeds with her young son Hadley. See her Spotlight page here. Kelly is a passionate advocate for parents in the arts and lives with the reality of maintaining a career whilst managing the needs of a little one. It can be challenging but she wouldn’t have it any other way! She is very passionate about arts for all and is an experienced community development worker and workshop specialist, with a particular focus on working in areas of low arts engagement. She’s also a freelance Producer.
Louisa May Parker was born and raised in Wythenshawe, Manchester and remains very proud of her working class roots. She trained as an actor at The Arden Manchester and more recently completed her MA at Drama Centre London. She was also lucky enough to spend two months training at The Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute, Moscow. Louisa wrote RedBobble’s debut show The Box and as an actor has worked in theatre, film and TV. See her Spotlight page here. She is an experienced workshop leader having worked with companies such as Collingwood Learning and Eyewitness Theatre and has led and developed workshops for communities and schools.
“I’m excited to work with the Coliseum in the development and creation of further digital installation work. The Coliseum works with an exciting range of artists for potential collaborations and is constantly expanding its community links. It is highly motivating to know that they believe in experimentation and the exploration of new forms of telling stories.”
Grant initially studied Fine Art Photography in Manchester and London, working on projects with The Theatres Trust and National Piers Society. Recent projects include books on Iceland and Gibraltar, published by Out Of Place Books.
In 2015 Grant co-founded Take Back Theatre with actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and writer Rebekah Harrison, responding to social and political issues. Starting with script in hand rapid response theatre Take Back has expanded into immersive and full length pieces as well as audio recordings and most recently a series of short films.
Awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice fund from the Arts Council in 2019 Grant has been creating theatrical installation work that explores the relationship between live and recorded media and storytelling. Recent works have included Connect – a series of phone conversations at HOME, Patient – and audio/visual installation at Oldham Coliseum and Virtual Reality films at The Lowry, the Coliseum and various site specific locations.
Hafsah Aneela Bashir
“I’m excited to explore and develop new ideas around British Muslim stories and to really push the potentials of the work I am making in terms of innovation and originality. This opportunity will give me valuable time, space and resources to contribute to my professional development as an artist and I am particularly looking forward to connecting with the networks and communities that the Coliseum engages with. Having access to the Coliseum team and its practitioners is exactly what I need at this stage of my career and I plan to share my learning with other artists at a similar stage in their practice as much as possible.”
Hafsah Aneela Bashir is a Manchester based poet and playwright with an MA in Postcolonial Literary and Culture from the University of Leeds.
She is founder and co-director of the arts collective, Outside The Frame Arts, passionate about platforming voices outside the mainstream. She works with marginalized and underrepresented communities delivering creative writing workshops centred around identity and empowerment.
Her work has been published by Crocus Books in various anthologies. Her debut poetry collection, The Celox And The Clot published by Burning Eye Books, launched last year with Manchester Literature Festival, where she is currently writer-in-residence. Her recent works include a monologue for Memories Of Partition with Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and a PUSH Festival commission this year with her play Cuts Of The Cloth, exploring Muslim women’s experiences of the war on terror. Current work is the development of a SICK! Festival catalyst commission exploring mental health in the South Asian community.
Previously an Open Exchange Supported Artist with Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and a ‘Leader of Tomorrow’ with the Artistic Director’s Leadership Programme, she has recently been awarded the prestigious Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship 2019-20.
“I’m really excited to be a supported artist at the Coliseum and am looking forward to further developing new performance projects with a theatre I know and love. I want to make work for audiences in Oldham and create new opportunities for people to engage with the Coliseum and its work. I can’t wait to get started and develop my practice with the support of all the brilliant staff”
Caitlin Gleeson is a theatre maker, facilitator and writer whose work includes solo performance, interactive theatre and community arts, and often explores autobiography, gender and place. She is experienced in delivering arts projects with communities and currently works with the Octagon Theatre, Royal Exchange, and Contact. She is currently touring Pour and Serve, a site-specific solo performance on the language of sexual harassment. In development is Vera, a collaboration with Ross McCaffrey which uses the story of a pioneering astrophysicist to ask why we believe some people more than others; and Dungarees, a show that uses humour, autobiography and a host of unhappy lesbian TV characters to explore how coming out can be dangerous, exhausting and radical.
“I’m so excited to become a Supported Artist at this famous and historic theatre. This opportunity will open doors for me to go to places I struggled to get into before and ultimately enables me to create more work about a wider variety of people, which has always been my goal.”
Nana-Kofi Kufuor is a 28-year-old writer hailing from Stockport. His influences range from film to TV and theatre to radio. Nana-Kofi received a BA Hons in Film and Television production from the University of Cumbria in 2014 and achieved his Master’s Degree in 2018 in Screenwriting for Film, Television and Radio from the University of Salford.
Nana-Kofi’s style of writing comes from his own experiences; he has worked in provisions in education for years and has seen young people from all financial backgrounds and the vast inequalities in modern day society. He writes to expose and humanise the people that mainstream media currently and historically has taken delight in mocking or ostracizing. He started playwriting in late 2017 and wants to take theatre to places it doesn’t ordinarily go and create stories that are rarely seen on stage. Nana-Kofi is currently under commission from Box of Tricks as part of the PlayBox writers’ scheme. He was also shortlisted for the Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award earlier this year.
“It’s so heartening for a theatre to support you and invite you to become part of the building and the community. I’m proper excited to be supported by Oldham Coliseum and have the chance to develop as an artist and make work that is bold, playful and collaborative.”
Sorcha is a Yorkshire actor, writer and theatre-maker based in Manchester. She trained at ALRA North and has taken part in the Royal Court writers group. She has performed with the John Godber Company, Contact and Co:LAB Festival at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Her first play Ladybones ran at VAULT Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe 2019, and has been recorded as an audio drama for Audible.