Our team


Liz O’Neill
Chief Executive / Artistic Director
Personal Assistant to the CEO

Finance & Admin Team

Gary Padden
General Manager


Creative Team

Saskia Metcalf
Head of Creative Development
Gill Balfour-Rouane
Creative Manager
Yemi Bolatiwa
Engagement Officer

Jerrell Barnwell
Music & Community Studio Manager

Janine Obermaier
Resident Visual Artist
Natasha Stott
Resident Performing Artist


Programme and Marketing Team

Zoe Pickering
Head of Programming & Big Imaginations Manager
Sairah Rehman
Marketing & Audience Development Manager
Tiffany Bowman
Administration Officer
Adam Flint
Melissa Brakel
Manchester Cultural Education Partnership Coordinator
Adam Flint
Project Manager Manchester Cultural Education Partnership


Technical Team

Steve Curtis
Head of Technical and Premises
Jason Hall
Senior Technician


Front of House

Emma Hardman
House Manager
Lucca Colonna
Deputy House Manager (Box Office)
Paul Roberts
Box Office Supervisor
Julie Ridley
Ticketing & Box Office Assistant
Jack Deighton
Cafe Supervisor

Our facilitators:

Helena (Cheer Stars)

Hi! My names Helena and I teach Cheer Stars at Z-arts. I have been dancing for most of my life and along the way trained in acrobatics and cheerleading. A proud point in my life was representing Team England at the World Cheerleading Championships in 2017. Fun fact: I love handstands and think I’m better on my hands than my feet!

Jana (Drama Stars 6-8, 8-10, ZYP)

I’m Jana! I run Drama Stars for 6-8 year olds and 9-10 year olds, and ZYP for older young people. I have great people skills – theatre and clown training comes in handy, and comedy is a great universal language! I have worked as an Artist, producer and freelance creative facilitator since 2005, both in Manchester and New York, and I love what I do.

Tabitha (Drama Stars 6-8, 8-10, ZYP)

Hi! My name is Tabitha, I teach drama classes at Z-arts. I have trained with the National Youth Theatre, the Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company and have seen first hand the importance of young people attending drama classes to build their confidence and social skills. I specialise in improvising, devising and comedy. I always carry a parachute and a couple of puppet friends!

Kirsty (Digital Discoverers)

Hi, I’m Kirsty! I’m an artist and creative facilitator, and I run Digital Discoverers at Z-arts. I love making, painting, creating and helping others do it too!

Yemi (Pop Stars)

I’m Yemi Bolatiwa, and I’m a soul singer in Manchester. I have residencies in some of the city’s best loved venues, festivals around the UK, and I’ve featured on BBC Introducing, I run Pop Stars at Z-arts, and I bring my musical experience to share with the young people at Z-arts!