Artist Development

Z-arts is dedicated to developing and nurturing long-term relationships with artists, we work closely with creatives who want to make excellent high quality theatre for children, specifically diverse work that reflects the communities we serve. We are particularly interested in work that seeks the voice of children in the research, development and creation of work.

In 2021, we launched the ‘Watch This Space’ programme. This programme offers development opportunities for artists who want to create work for children and families. Artists are given up to three weeks of space in Z-arts, funding, test audiences and support from our team to develop new work. You can watch the journey of our first two residencies here:

2021 also marked the launch of our Facilitator Training Programme. We currently have 7 assistant and 5 trainee facilitators supporting all of our Bright Spark creative sessions. They will be with us until July and as well as supporting sessions, they will attend monthly training sessions and gain an Arts Award.

This year, we offered two facilitators the opportunity to develop a new workshop based on the environment. Jamie-Lee Wainman created a workshop around 3D printing and tested it to a group of our Bright Sparks members. Hattie Kongaunruan created a workshop making sculpture warriors with household objects. Hattie will be delivering this workshop over the next few weeks.

We are committed to supporting artists and making them feel welcome whenever they are in our building. Read about our Artist’s welcome here. 

Here are some other ways in which we offer artist support:

  • During lockdown, Zoe Pickering (Head of Programming) offered mentorship and development opportunities to artists that we have been working with, as well as meeting and supporting new artists through the Greater Manchester Artist Hub. Zoe will be offering monthly 1-2-1 surgeries through GM Artist Hub, so please book via the website.
  • Regular artist consultations and open meetings – sharing bold, bright ideas which influence how we continue to empower artists, helping to further develop their practice and create work with the support of Big Imaginations.
  • We offer rehearsal space to artists making work for children.
  • Big Imaginations has two small strands of Research & Development budget – one for Z-arts, and another for Big Imaginations, which is allocated annually by committee.
  • We have a commission budget both for Z-arts and Big Imaginations.
  • We also co-commission work.

Read about our Artist Development projects for 2021/2022 here: Artist Development 2021 2022

If you would like to discuss booking rehearsal space or speaking about your project, please contact Zoe Pickering (Head of Programming and Big Imaginations Manager) at