Home’s annual two-week Push Festival returns next week to provide an opportunity for some of the North West’s most exciting and vibrant artists to present their work, including theatre and for the first time also film and visual art.

Running from Saturday 14 until Saturday 28 January, Push 2017 will feature an exhibition, screenings and over 30 performances, events, panel discussions and workshops, taking place throughout HOME’s theatre spaces, cinemas and gallery, all showcasing the region’s fantastic and varied talent whilst offering opportunities for creatives to pick up hints and tips from industry experts on everything from how to survive Edinburgh to securing funding for a short film.

Highlights include a new commission of The Island by Louise Wallwein, the Sea, the Volunteer and the Refugee, directed by Susan Roberts; People Zoo Productions’ The Trial; a dance-based workshop teaching participants how to Vogue, led by unique and dynamic choreographer Darren Pritchard; Pen:Chant, digging up the best from spoken word, comedy, live music and contemporary performance hosted by award-winning writer and performer Ben Mellor; Fly In Your Soup’s Betty; Now Is The Moment we Learn Hope by Mighty Heart Theatre; the exhibition launch of Victoria Lucas’ Lay of the land (and other such myths), curated by Mark Devereux Projects; a preview of local filmmaker Jason Wingard’s first feature film The Crossing; a panel discussion on how to work with curators and galleries; Random Acts: First Acts, a workshop with Channel 4’s Random Acts North team; and a range of other creative and unique workshops and panel discussions that explore Kafka’s characters, the art of digital marketing, theatre without words, getting ahead in VFX, mindfulness and thinking outside the box.

PUSH 2017 forms part of HOME’s talent development programme inclusive of a new theatre strand which, with generous support from the Foyle Foundation, The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation and the Garrick Charitable Trust, offers support and opportunities to theatre makers at all career stages to develop and extend their practice. Highlights include a pilot two-year residency for one theatre maker to take part in a tailored development programme, leading to the commission of a piece of work for HOME’s main stage; Made at HOME, a research and development programme for mid-career theatre makers to experiment and explore cross-artform ideas and collaborations; alongside a series of specialist skills workshops, directors’ residencies in partnership with the JMK Trust, training courses and theatre festivals including PUSH and Orbit, showcasing some of the most exciting and critically acclaimed productions from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and beyond.

So what’s on?


By Louise Wallwein / directed by Susan Roberts
Saturday 15 January, 13:00 and 14:00; Wednesday 18 January, 18:00; Thursday 19 January, 18:00; Saturday 21 January 13:00 and 14:00 (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
Louise Wallwein tells the urgent story of our times – migration – from a personal perspective of being a volunteer with Kos Solidarity in Greece. A small island wakes up to find itself at the epicentre of a humanitarian crisis. How do the inhabitants respond? Using first-hand experience, recorded interviews and film, the play explores the migration stories of Kos, Greece. The performance is for five audience members at a time and will take place in an intimate space at HOME.

By From The Mill Theatre Company
Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 January, 21:00. Galleries (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
Our world has never been more connected. So why is it that an increasing number of people feel isolated and alone? We stand next to each other and don’t make eye contact; we don’t know our neighbours and we choose to bury our heads, checking social media rather than engaging with people. There is something wrong with the world when you can stand in a crowd but feel more alone than ever. I’m Standing Next To You is an award-winning promenade play inviting audiences to become part of a lonely crowd. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

By People Zoo Productions
Monday 16 – Wednesday 18 January, 19:00. Theatre 2 (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
Josef K. wakes up one morning, hungry and disconcerted, only to find himself arrested. He is not told why, nor by whom. And so begins The Trial. People Zoo Productions brings you this grotesque and darkly comic tale that tracks one man’s struggle against a malicious and faceless power. Fighting against ritual humiliation, impenetrable secrecy and unfathomable procedure, can Josef K. prove his innocence? Kafka’s novel, adapted for the stage by Evelyn Roberts and Matt Holt, is as relevant today as it has ever been.

By Powder Keg
Monday 16 – Wednesday 18 January, 20:00. Anthony Burgess Foundation (£10.00 full / £8.00 concs)
Morale is High (Since we gave up Hope) is a performance that seeks to predict what will happen between now and the next general election in 2020. Throughout the show, intertwining narratives explore the effects of popular culture, political policy and inane day-to-day actions on who we choose to vote for. A theatre-meets-gig that smashes pop and politics in some space age futuristic Hadron Collider to create an on-going evaluation of our political climate. The debut show from Hodgkiss Award-winning Powder Keg, a theatre company based in Manchester, who make fast paced, experiential, anarchic performances. Morale is High (Since we gave up Hope) has been developed with the help of Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield and the kindness of Partisan Collective.

Thursday 19 January, 19:30. Theatre 2 (£10.00 Full / £8.00 concs)
Toiling down the art mines, Pen:Chant digs up the best local, national and international acts from the seams of spoken word, comedy, live music, contemporary performance and everything in between and present them to you, confident they’ll set your hearts and minds alight. Hosted by award-winning writer and performer Ben Mellor, past acts have included Soweto Kinch, Bellatrix, Marcel Lucont, Eggs Collective, Julie Gordon, Harry Baker, Jason Singh, Jackie Hagan and Rob Auton. For this special event at PUSH Festival Pen:Chant presents a fully local line-up – the best emerging and emergent artists that Greater Manchester has to offer, across any genre. Open mic spots available to performers of all stripes. Contact info@penchant.org.uk for a five-minute slot.

By Yusra Warsama
Friday 20 January, 19:00. Theatre 1 (free, booking essential)
What if Lorca was a Manc? And the women he painted with words were from South Manchester, with a mother who had ‘done good’? This is a play of images and portraits, looking at the vibes of a family of women, their ‘tied tongues’ and unidentified static energy between them.

By Fly In Your Soup Theatre
Friday 20 January, 21:00, Saturday 21 January, 19:00, Saturday 22 January, 21:00 . Theatre 2 (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
Betty lives in memories; she finds warmth and solace there, away from her widowed existence and empty house that was once full of life. Increasingly becoming detached from her reality Betty finds her memories begin to unravel, with no real grasp on reality and a memory that is slipping away. Through seamless use of mask, mime, puppetry and gesture, this one-woman show told by Betty’s great granddaughter, takes you on a journey of love, life and loss. The play will be preceded by the short film Together We Are Beautiful by Natasha Hawthornthwaite.

By Mighty Heart Theatre
Saturday 21 January, 21:00, Sunday 22 January, 19:00. Theatre 1 (£3.00)
Mighty Heart Theatre have travelled to some of the happiest and unhappiest places in the UK to learn about hope, happiness and kindness. Join them at HOME to celebrate and unravel. Work in progress, followed by an informal Q&A with the company.

By 1121 Collective
Monday 23 January, 19:00, Tuesday 24 January, 21:00, Wednesday 25 January, 19:00. Theatre 2 (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
George/ Greg/ Geoff/ Greg is busy preparing dinner for his boss/ Friend/ fling/ nemesis/ co-worker with the help of his devoted and self-depreciating wife/ partner/ girlfriend/ divorcee Suzan/ Sophie/ Sarah. Tonight, chicken/ turkey/ pizza is being served/ microwaved/ roasted and truths/ lies/ irrelevant details/ riots are to be uncovered/ suppressed/ encouraged in the search for just exactly how did this (man) and/or (woman) first met. A fiery and insulting production from Manchester’s 1121 Collective, You/Me/Tomorrow looks at how facts and fictions are intertwined when a decade long riot starts to encroach into the living room.

By Nataly Lebouleux
Monday 23 January, 21:00, Tuesday 24 January, 19:00, Wednesday 25 January, 21:00. Theatre 1 (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
Mina is waiting for you to take your seat. She wants your full attention. She won’t speak, but she will show you. Her story is about to unravel. You, the audience, are her redemption. Combining projection mapping and animation with physical theatre, Mina is a sensory, immersive exploration of the world of conversion therapy and gay exorcisms still prevalent today. But there is a twist. Expect magical realism and more in this innovative retelling of Nataly Lebouleux’s award nominated film Paper Thin.

By Square Peg Theatre
Thursday 26 January, 18:00. Theatre 1 (£3.00)
When a small community is beset by tragedy, their only hope for salvation is a pilgrimage to a new land. A new work in development.

By Debs Gatenby
Thursday 26 January, 19:00, Friday 27 January, 21:00, Saturday 28 January, 19:00. Theatre 2 (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
Debs went on a journey to find happiness… and found something else. Travelling to the remote Scottish Island of Eigg and Cape Cod, Provincetown, she began an experiment to discover the secrets of ‘How to be Happy’. Debs found herself feeling more disconnected as she lost herself in these wild landscapes. Documenting her experiences on film and sound, Debs tells us what she found; procrastination, Body Weather and being photographed by Andy Warhol’s Studio 54 photographer. In this comedic and uplifting sequel to her critically acclaimed solo show Hi, Anxiety, Debs shares the highs and lows of discovering happiness from a place within.

By Cheryl Martin
Thursday 26 January, 21:00, Friday 27 January, 19:00, Saturday 28 January, 21:00. Theatre 2 (£12.00 full / £10.00 concs)
A jazz fantasy about loss, love and hope set aMondayg the stars. Combining science fact, real-world psychological observation, and autobiography with live jazz vocals to ask why some stars shine more brightly than others, human and celestial, and why people love to watch them fall. Created through heightened, language in a non-linear, impressionistic monologue, Who Wants To Live Forever has been made by Writer/Performer Cheryl Martin + Director/Deviser Darren Pritchard. Developed as a Divergency micro-commission with support from hÅb + STUN (Sustained Theatre Up North); supported through the Black Gold Arts Festival and an Artist Residency at Lawrence Batley Theatre Cellar.

Saturday 28 January, 16:00. Theatre 1 (free, booking recommended)
Lay of the land (and other such myths) is a new project and symposium by artist Victoria Lucas, produced by Mark Devereux Projects for HOME’s PUSH Festival. Featuring an all-female panel with presentations by Alison J Carr, Elly Clarke and Victoria Lucas, this performative symposium will investigate connections between gender and imaginary geographical place through open-ended, playful narratives proposed by the panel. Expect notions of body imagery, stereotypes, contemporary celebrity culture and fictional realities to be addressed, with attendees left to discern how events and histories can be fabricated.


Wednesday 18 January, 18:30. Cinema 5 (£9.00 full / £7.00 concs)
Discover a selection of shorts produced as part of the latest round of iShorts funding. iShorts is Creative England’s entry level short film initiative. Supporting filmmakers whose work has not yet attracted financial support from within the industry, iShorts helps a diverse group of talent based in the English regions to take their first professional steps.

Monday 23 January, 18:10. Cinema 2 (£9.00 full / £7.00 concs)
The first feature from Manchester-based filmmaker Jason Wingard, The Crossing is a bold mix of documentary and fictional drama, shot over a year in the Calais Jungle. The screening will be folloWednesday by a Q&A with Wingard, Camera Operator Andrew Butler and cast members Elie Haddad, Toyah Frantzen and Yousef Jubeh Mima.


EXHIBITION LAUNCH / VICTORIA LUKAS: Lay of the land (and other such myths)
Curated by Mark Devereux Projects
Friday 27 January, 18:00 – Granada Foundation Galleries Levels 1 and 2 (free, drop in)
Lay of the land (and other such myths) is a new project and exhibition by artist Victoria Lucas, investigating connections between gender and geographical place. This series of photographic works for HOME Projects is the consequence of Lucas’ research excursions across the Californian Desert in 2015. Digitally rendered images re-present a cluster of giant boulders as an imaginary site for potential subversive happenings. Lay of the land (and other such myths) is curated by Mark Devereux Projects, and is accompanied by a digital symposium.


Saturday 14 January, 13:30. Cinema 2 (£5.50 full / £4.00 concs)
You’ve made short films on a shoe string, using the help, talent and willingness of your Fridayends, colleagues and family. How do you get to the next level up? What are the different funding avenues you can explore? What do you need to consider to be successful in raising funds? What changes can you expect in the production when you are working on funded short film? Join Jessica Loveland (Development Executive – Talent at Creative England), Loran Dunn (Producer – Delaval Film) Matimba Kabalika (BFI NET.WORK Talent Co-ordinator) and more to explore all these subjects and answer your questions.

Saturday 14 January, 17:00. Theatre 2 (free, booking required)
Join the Random Acts North team to find out how you can be commissioned to make a film that could end up on Channel 4. Random Acts: First Acts offers 16-24 year-old creatives working in any field the opportunity to make an original short film as part of an education, training and production programme funded by Arts Council England. As well as hearing from the commissioning team, you’ll have a chance to meet a selection of artists who are already making work for the scheme. You’ll come out with plenty of tips on how to develop your vision for a short film from the people who have just done it! And who knows, you may want to apply for the next round of Random Acts. Speakers include Ian Fenton (producer, Random Acts North), and artist Denice Chung, photographer Lunar Rising, and choreographer Josh Hawkins, all of whom have made their first films through the Random Acts education, training and production programme. Random Act is open to creatives of all fields aged 16 – 24 year old (over 24 artists are commissioned directly by Channel 4 throughout the year). Deadline: 3 April 2017. Random Acts Network Centre North is a partnership between Tyneside Cinema, True North Productions and HOME, and is funded by Arts Council England. www.randomactsnorth.org

Saturday 15 January, 14.00 (£10.00 full / £8.00 concs)
A practical, dance-based workshop suitable for beginners that takes a playful approach to drawing an association between fashion portraiture and the hyperstylised form of dance commonly termed as Vogue or Voguing. Made popular in mainstream channels by the likes of Madonna (“Strike a pose!”) and the classic documentary Paris is Burning (1990), voguing is characterized by model-like poses integrated with angular, linear, and rigid arm, leg, and body movements. The workshop will look at the link between postures depicted in fashion photography and classical life drawing by using vintage fashion magazines to help form original responses with the assistance of our workshop tutor. This class will be led by Darren Pritchard. A unique and dynamic choreographer, Darren has been voguing for the past 5 years and is Mother of the House of Ghetto based in Manchester. No experience of dancing necessary.

Saturday 15 January, 16:30. Weston Room (£10.00 full / £8.00 concs)
Your voice is as unique to you as your face, or your fingerprints. So why waste your time trying to sound like anybody else? Explore the connection between your writing and your speaking (perhaps even your singing) voice in this threehour workshop from award-winning writer/performer and host of Pen:Chant, Ben Mellor. Using a range of writing, vocal and physical exercises you will spend time identifying the individual brilliance of your voice – your use of language, dialect, accent, tone, timbre, rhythm and style. Bring a piece to work on and/or compose something during the session – not on the page, as Ferlinghetti said, but on the tongue. Suitable for those finding their voice for the first time, and equally for those who feel they’ve misplaced theirs and need a rummage down the back of the sofa.

Monday 16 January, 10:30. Weston Room (free, please email Jodie.ratcliffe@homemcr.org to reserve your place)
Mothers Who Make is a growing national initiative and this is an invitation to come along to a new peer support group for mothers who are artists – professional and/or passionate – writers, painters, actors, dancers, filmmakers… every kind of maker welcome, and every kind of mother. Please feel free to bring along your children, of any age, whether they are inside you, beside you or running around the room!

Tuesday 17 January, 11:00 – 14:00. Weston Room (£10.00 full / £8.00 concs)
Join Evelyn and Matt of People Zoo Productions and explore the absurd world of Kafka. Working on short scenes, you’ll use a variety of rehearsal techniques to bring his characters to life. Suitable for actors of all abilities.

Tuesday 17 January, 18:30. Event Space (£7.00 full/£6.00 concs)
As a creative practitioner, you are bound to have an online presence nowadays. But when you are short of time and Money, what aspects of digital marketing should you concentrate on for the most effective results? How do you make the most of the multitude of existing platforms? How do you choose what content is relevant to share for your practice? How do you engage meaningfully with your audience? And why? Explore all this and more with Sian Ediss, Digital Marketing Manager at Pixel8, who will share practical tools and tips to present your creative brand online and help you develop a manageable strategy. Suitable for artists and creatives of all fields who have a basic understanding of the digital landscape and already have an existing online presence (however small).

Saturday 21 January, 16:00. Event Space (free, booking required)
Discover Manchester’s creative scene as artists, designers and makers talk about their practice, projects or sources of inspiration in 5 minutes flat. Speakers include artists Connor Collins and Naomi Kendricks, filmmaker James Kennedy and more to be announced.

Thursday 19 January, 11:00 – 14:00. Weston Room (£9.00 full / £8.00 concs)
This workshop will explore a visual, non-text based theatre, starting with how an actor can create a space and walk into it. Using a variety of techniques including mime, gesture and movement you will be left with a range of skills to use when devising your own theatre.

Saturday 22 January, 12:00 – 14:00. First Floor Café (free, please email Jodie.ratcliffe@homemcr.org to reserve your place)
From the Mill Theatre Company are offering one-on-one sessions for new theatre writers to bring a piece of their working script to discuss and explore with either Tom Hodson or Jennifer Campbell. The sessions would suit people who are just starting out in the industry or those that have yet to have their work professionally performed.

Saturday 22 January, 14:00. Theatre 2 (£5.50 full / £4.00 concs)
The first in a series of talks about getting ahead in post-production will focus on progressing your career in VFX. A wide ranging field in itself, VFX is used extensively just about everywhere there is moving image, film, TV, Games, commercials and more. Join the panel as they discuss their own career path, what options exists within their fields and share their tips and advice on how to get your foot the industry and progress. Panellists include: Andrew Lord – Managing Director and Founder of Manchester based VFX studio Flipbook Studio, a creative production and marketing studio specialising in CGI animation and Visual FX; Mike Snowdon – Global Lead VFX Artist at Cloud Imperium Games, the makers Star Citizen, a game that combines classic space sim gameplay with Hollywood-calibre visuals and holder of set world record for a crowd funded video game, so far raising $128million and counting.

Monday 23 January, 10:30 – 12.30. Weston Room (£7.00 full / £6.00 concs)
Hannah Dalby will explore Yoga and Mindfulness practices in relation to an open awareness, presence and energy. Ideal for performers but non-performers also welcome. Please note: this workshop is movement-based so please wear appropriate clothing – bare feet are fine.

Tuesday 24 January, 18:30. Event Space (£5.50 full / £4.00 concs)
As creatives, we often put all our energy and passion into creating pieces of work that represents our feelings, aspirations or opinions. But what happens when it comes to communicating what it’s all about to an audience? Try a different approach to find out in this workshop led by Paul Stevens Experience design lead and Steve Smith, Lead UX at Auto Trader. Applying the collaborative “Product Box” technique comMondayly used in commercial settings to creative work, you will explore what features your audience might think are the most important when it comes to marketing yourself or your work.

Wednesday 25 January, 12:30 – 15:30. Weston Room (£10.00 full / £8.00 concs)
Explore the process of designing stage sets by working together to make a scale model of your design for a well know play or short story using a variety of materials for quick fire, fun and creative session. The workshop will be run by designer Rhys Jarman, who recently designed the set for Gecko’s Institute.

Thursday 26 January, 19:00 – 20:30 (free, booking required)
Artists Mario Popham and Tom Baskeyfield discuss their collaborative project, Shaped by Stone. Over Millennia we have shaped stone: chipped, cut, split, crushed – turned hillsides into quarries – strata into streets. Like many other towns this process is the foundation of Macclesfield. The pink and blue-ish Gritstone of Tegg’s Nose has been quarried for hundreds of years. The hill exists as fragments around the town – scattered. It sits there in the walls, the facing of buildings and the lining of streets. Through a dialogue between analogue processes including large format photography, drawing (embossed rubbings), darkroom experimentation, writing, walking and talking, the artists aim to bring to the fore these layers of our shared history. This event will also launch a free illustrated newsprint featuring text and images from the project.

Saturday 28 January, 13:00. Theatre 2 (£5.50 full / £4.00 concs)
Join the Mighty Heart Theatre girls and a bunch of their mates as they share ups, downs, triumphs and truths of taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Ever wanted to take a show to Edinburgh but have no idea where to begin? Join us for an evening of, practical, how to survive Edinburgh advice and sharing.

Saturday 28 January, 14:00. Event Space (£5.50 full / £4.00 concs)
As a visual artist who wants to get their work exhibited and seen by an audience, navigating the world of curators and galleries can be daunting. Join a panel of artists, curators and arts professionals in a journey to demystify the art world. Find out how selections are made, networks are formed, the best way and time to approach people and organisations. Expect plenty of tips to take away and think about whilst discovering the good, bad and the ugly of the art world. Panelist include: Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial), Steve Fletcher (cofounder, Carroll / Fletcher Gallery) and Bren O’Callaghan (Visual Arts Programme Manager, HOME).

Thursday 26 and Friday 27 January, 10:00 – 17:00. Weston Room (free, please email Jennie.McCusker@homemcr.org with your details and why you would like to attend to secure a place)
This two-day practical intensive workshop will explore fundamental approaches to performance for the stage and screen. Over the two days you will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the different approaches including audition skills, working with a script, performance techniques, and will develop your confidence as a performer. Working with industry professionals this opportunity is ideal for anyone 18+ with an interest and some experience in one or both of these areas of performance.

Tuesday 24 January, 15:30 – 18:30 (free, booking essential)
Are you an individual or an organisation thinking of making your first application for a Grant for the Arts (GFTA) under £15,000? Do you think you would benefit from guidance from an Arts Council Relationship Manager? Then book in for a 30 minute informal discussion during PUSH Festival. To express an interest and for further information please email Isabelle.croissant@homemcr.org. It is recommended you read the GFTA guidance section on the Arts Council website before expressing your interest for these sessions.