Z-arts will be taking a break…

To safeguard our future, Z-arts core staff will all be furloughed until the end of June. This means that we won’t be able to respond to any enquiries until July. 

During this time, we are going to be supporting our freelancers who will continue to deliver their Zoom and online classes during June. We’re delighted that they will be able to represent Z-arts during this time and they can continue to serve our amazing community, meaning we won’t be going completely dark and we can keep connected with you. We’ve also pre-recorded and created content that we’re going to schedule across social media – so you’ll still be able to get involved with all of our brilliant online activities.  

We’re excited to be having Helena, Laura and Jana keep representing us as we take a short break.  

Helena Astridge is a passionate dancer, dance teacher and choreographer who has already worked with Z-arts. She will be delivering ballet and street dance classes on Zoom for our Bright Sparks members, and will be delivering a Facebook Live dance class for under-5s every other week in June.  

Laura Edwards is an experienced drama facilitator who will be delivering Zoom drama classes for us on Mondays. She is trained in Dance Theatre and is passionate about inspiring creative thinking in little ones. 

Jana Kennedy is an Artist, Performer, director and facilitator living in Manchester. She has designed and delivered brilliant, engaging and fun creative workshops in Greater Manchester for over 10 years and runs our online Z-arts Young Performers classes on a Monday. 

Finally, you might have noticed our latest online offering, our harmonica lessons! These are the brainchild of Liam Ward, winner of the National Harmonica League Player of the Year. Liamgives harmonica masterclasses at the National Harmonica League festival, so we’re very lucky to have been access to some of his classes for kids. 

We’re pleased that we’ve been able to use our building closure to do some really fantastic things, from providing arts packs for children of families using food banks to providing access to completing Arts Award Discover from home. We hope we can continue to work innovatively in the time we have left before reopening and continue to support our amazingly creatively freelancers during this time. 

Our CEO & Artistic Director, Liz O’Neill says: 

Supporting artists has always been an important part of Z-arts work.  While we face the many organisational and building-based challenges presented by COVID19, I’m pleased that we’ve been able to use our resources to continue to support the freelance artists in our family. Whilst this has been going on behind the scenes, it seems only fitting that we highlight the brilliant work that they continue to deliver on our behalf, meaning that we don’t go digitally dark while we take stock. We continue to invest in freelance artists so when we do emerge from this period we still have the highest quality of work, made by a diverse range of artists, ready for our children and families.  Z-arts offer to the children and families of Manchester and beyond wouldn’t be nearly so powerful if it wasn’t for the fantastic creativity of our freelance artists, so I’m glad we can take this moment to shine a light on their amazing work.” 

During our period of closure we have: 

  • Co-commissioned local dancer and choreographer Chad Taylor with Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) to create online piece, Lost Online (ages 7+), as part of HOME’s HomeMakers Project 
  • Supported artist Rosalyne Norford  through co-commission with STUN, in researching and developing her show, Aleiah’s Adventures, aimed at 3 – 7 year olds 
  • Even though Christmas seems ages away, and we don’t know yet whether we’ll be able to welcome families back into our auditorium by then, we’ve commissioned Touched Theatre’s to develop a Christmas show (you’ll know them as the people behind Twinkle Twinkle). They’re exploring the concept, story and design for their new show, which is aimed at 1 – 3 year olds 
  • We’re reimagining what a participation project can look like with social distancing. Working with Company Chameleon as part of our Future Arts Centre Project aimed at all ages, we’re collecting stories from our families and are aiming to create a new dance piece around this, sharing it with local children and families 
  • We’re supporting Ria Meera Munshi with writing development on her new show, Sita and Sue. 
  • The main Big Imaginations commission for 2020/2021 is One Tenth Human’s Why?  We’re supporting Artistic Director, Sarah Punshon, to adapt the r&d into a digital child-led consultation, which has also led to bringing back the excellent commission from 2017, ‘We’re Stuck, inspired by the latest neuroscience and makes science fun, as a digital educational resource. 
  • Z-arts commission for 2021/202 is ‘Stan’, from  Art With Heart,  a new play for children which explores communication, friendship, identity, families and of course, dinosaurs (the show is named after the t-rex at Manchester Musuem). We’re working with Art With Heart to reschedule this, exploring what participation r&d can take place during lock-down. 

We’re really privileged to be in a position where we’ve been able to support these incredible artists with their work and we hope that by taking a break now, we’re going to be in a stronger financial position to come back from our closure. We hope you enjoy participating in any way that you can while we’re fully closed, and we’ll see you online in June, and in person when it’s safe to do so! 

If you would like to donate to help Z-arts during this difficult time, you can do so here.

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