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.

Current Offer

Zoe and Rowan share Artist Development responsibilities. This is only a small part of our roles so please be patient with offers and communication.

  • We offer rehearsal space to artists making work for children.
  • Big Imaginations holds the Artist Imagination Fund, which is allocated annually by committee.
  • At Z-arts, we have small Research and Development budget and a small commissions budget per annum. Sometimes the commission budget will go towards co-commission.
  • We have a focus on offering support stories that haven’t already been told by artists from the global majority and underrepresented communities.

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

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 or Rowan (Programme Administrator for Z-arts and Big Imaginations) at


Past Artist Development Offers

See our Previously Supported Artists here.

Find Watch this Space, Facilitator Training and Seed Funding programmes here.

Watch This Space

In 2021, we launched the ‘Watch This Space’ programme. This programme offered development opportunities for artists who wanted to create work for children and families. Artists were 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:

Facilitator Training

2021 also marked the launch of our Facilitator Training Programme. We had  7 assistant and 5 trainee facilitators supporting all of our Bright Spark creative sessions. They were with us until July and as well as supporting sessions, they attended monthly training sessions and gained an Arts Award.

Seed Funding

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.

During the Lockdown

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.

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