Girl Gang MCR and ThickSkin workshops amongst highlights at third Cultivate theatre upskilling festival in Oldham

Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Cultivate festival returns in 2022 for a week packed with workshops, performances and industry insights for theatre makers. Back for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020, this year’s festival includes workshops in stand-up comedy, directing, acting for camera, producing, fundraising and more, plus the return of the theatre’s exceptionally popular Open Auditions.

Chris Lawson, Artistic Director of Oldham Coliseum Theatre, commented:We’re proud to contribute toward meeting the demand for accessible and affordable training opportunities in our region. Cultivate is a celebration of all elements of theatre and an unmissable opportunity for anyone interested in working in the industry. In 2019 the festival welcomed over 200 people into the building using all of our public spaces for a variety of workshops and activities, and we’re looking forward to seeing the festival continue to grow in 2022.”

Renowned Manchester-based theatre company ThickSkin present New Ways of Devising. Led by ThickSkin’s Artistic Director, Neil Bettles (How Not To Drown, Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) this masterclass workshop will take participants through some of the creative processes used by the company to devise work. The sessions will give attendees the chance to be creators, performers and audience members throughout.

The Coliseum is holding two days of Open Auditions as part of Cultivate with a panel of theatre professionals including actors, directors and industry leaders. In 2018 the theatre received over 400 applications for Open Auditions and met with 62 actors, including Kitty Douglas, who went on to play Kate in the Coliseum’s production of Barney Norris’ Visitors («««« - The Stage) in April 2019.

HIV+ theatre-maker and activist Nathaniel Hall will lead a workshop for creating solo work, My Life My Story. The workshop will explore how theatre makers can craft their own stories into a work for the stage, and celebrate the highs and deal with the lows of their lives through theatre. Nathaniel has worked with venues across the North West including: Contact and Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and appeared in Channel 4’s hit drama series It’s A Sin. He is also the Co-Artistic Director of Manchester-based Dibby Theatre.

Other workshops throughout Cultivate include: a Stand-Up Comedy for Beginners workshop with comedy podcast duo Plane Comedy, Acting for Camera with actor Rupert Hill (Coronation Street) and Independent Producing & Fundraising with North West-based new writing company Emmerson & Ward (Gypsy Queen).

Alongside professional development opportunities Cultivate features performances of new work from established and emerging Northern writers and artists.

Athena is a new work from female led theatre company and Coliseum Associate Alumni RedBobble Arts, who specialise in making live performance as well as creating community engagement and education projects. Athena celebrates womanhood by drawing on research into mythology, matriarchal communities, powerful women from global history and local real-life stories from girls and women of all ages. This performance will be a script in hand sharing of this work in progress.

Two Coliseum Associate Companies present evenings of performances by local theatre-makers and students. Oldham-based Dare to Know Theatre present Dare to Know invites, an evening of short works created by some of their favourite local artists, theatre makers, theatre companies, directors and playwrights, while troublehouse theatre presents Rose (Bruford) By Any Other Name… A Student Scratch Night, featuring performances by former ALRA North students now enrolled at Rose Bruford College’s Wigan campus.

Cultivate culminates with Girls Night Out 2 from Girl Gang MCR on Saturday 23 July. Girl Gang MCR is a collective of artists, activists, academics and party instigators who hold events and create projects building connection, community, collaboration, confidence and connectivity. Girls Night Out 2 is an evening of sparkling cabaret with an array of talented performers from around Manchester.

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