Commissions and Co-Commissions

Here at Z-arts, we have two small budgets per annum. The first, a budget for Research and Development, the second for a yearly commission. Sometimes this budget will go towards co-commissions.

2022 – 2023 Supported Artist

David Gibb and Little Seeds Music 

David is commissioned by Z-arts to develop Luna Loves Library Day.

A new musical for children and families based on the picture book written by Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho, and illustrated by Fiona Lumbers.

Previously Supported Artist

Elayne Ogbeta 

Supported to produce Grandad Anansi, a co-commission between Half-Moon Theatre and Z-arts.

Award-winning children’s author, Elayne Ogbeta was supported by Half-Moon Theatre and Z-arts, to develop her script into a tourable production. This piece went on to tour across the Big Imaginations network and at many other venues, libraries and community settings across the country.

A humorous and heartfelt inter-generational adventure. With evocative live music, Grandad Anansi is an uplifting tale of love, courage and letting go.

Art with Heart

Currently supported by the Big Imagination’s Artist Imagination Fund to develop an environmental school’s project.

Previously they’ve been commissioned Z-arts, to develop STAN.

STAN is about a friendship between a deaf girl and a hearing boy who is having problems at home. STAN was Z-arts’ main commission for 2021/ 2022.

“Z-arts and Big Imaginations have been incredibly supportive of our work from wellbeing events, theatre performances to creative participatory activities – they’ve supported us not only to make new work but helped us improve it for the audiences and young people we work with.” 


Touched Theatre

Commissioned by Z-arts to develop The Gift

At Christmas-time the magic will find you anywhere – even in space!

Blast off into the stars in this beautiful new production created especially by award-winning Early Years practitioners for our youngest audiences.


Darren Pritchard

Commissioned by Z-arts, Homotopia and Black Gold Arts to develop Family Catwalk Extravaganza (previously named Family Vogue Ball)

Bring your Glamour, Glitz and Grace and come together in a fabulous celebration of self-expression.  Four dancers go head to head in a dance, fashion and lip sync competition in an interactive event where the audience decides the winner.

Whether you just want to join in the fun or have a passion to pose, come along and show off your own magnificence by dressing up and helping crown the winner!

Dress your finest, learn the moves – then take to the floor…

Produced by SwitchFlicker productions and supported by Arts Council England.



Co-commission between Z-arts and Half Moon Theatre

Winner of the 2022 Off West End Theatre Award for Best Theatre for Children Aged 5-11.

When Little Titch and her scruffy rucksack arrive at the giant, pink house it is not what she expected – a blanket of thick grey dust covers everything in sight and it is wild and overgrown. Her new home is cold and unwelcoming until she meets Nelly, a flamboyant and loveable hoarder. Together the pair discover they have more in common than they first thought and that friendship can heal hidden wounds.

Written by acclaimed award-winning children’s author Laura Dockrill (Darcy Burdock book series and Big Bones), Dust uses exciting puppetry and exquisite poetic language to explore a heartfelt story about love, loss, identity and memory. With haunting music by Hugo White of The Maccabees, this striking and emotional new play is a joyous reminder about just how playful the world can be.


Theatre Rites

Co-commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Z-Arts and the Ruhrtriennale Festival to create The Welcoming Party.

The Welcoming Party took us on a thrilling journey through a historic hidden warehouse at the Museum of Science & Industry, walking alongside people who had travelled here from towns and cities far beyond Manchester, all looking for a place where they could feel safe and sound. We hoped we helped them find what they were looking for.

A beautiful blend of puppetry, performance, dance and live music for both children and family audiences, The Welcoming Party made us think about what it means to feel different – and why we should all be proud of who we are.

Company Chameleon

Commissioned by Z-arts to create Void.

A male and female duet, Void explores the space created by the pandemic, and what has moved into that space – both good and bad.

Responding to the experiences, thoughts and feelings of the artists and a group of young people in Manchester, Void explores the rich tapestry of emotions and reactions to covid and lockdown.

The choreography was created as part of Space to Speak, a project with Z-Arts and Trinity High School in Hulme, Manchester. As part of Here and Now, a national and local celebration of culture within communities.

Supported by Arts Council England and Future Arts Centres, marking the National Lottery’s 25th birthday. | @HereandNow2020