greenroom Past & Present

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greenroom boasts a formidable heritage. Since 1983 we have showcased thousands of innovative performances, being the first to bring a range of international work, lesbian/gay performance, alternative comedy and performance poetry to Manchester.  Starting out as a peripatetic organisation presenting a range of work in different venues across the city, greenroom acquired its current home, under two railway arches on Whitworth Street West and opened its doors to the public in Autumn 1987.  To hear more about greenroom's peripatetic past, visit Walking Histories and take an mp3 tour with Artistic Director, Jeremy Shine  who co-founded greenroom with Artistic Director Stella Hall. In our 25 years plus history, there have been two other Directors - Bush Hartshorn and Garfield Allen - for all their stories, visit Oral Histories

As Manchester’s centre for new performance, we support emerging and mid-career artists and develop live art, contemporary theatre, dance and a combination of art-forms. We play host to cabaret, burlesque, stand-up, music, animation, film and visual art. Through our own new work and programmed regional/ national/ international performance, we connect artists and audiences looking for the new and unusual; and we deliver public engagement projects led by local artists.  greenroom's facilities include a 164 capacity black-box performance space, a studio (workspace), and an openspace comprising bar and mezzanine.  Beyond the physical facilities, our main resource is our staff - a dedicated team who work with artists to produce the best work possible. 

Each year, we support more than 200 artists to develop work; present up to 200 performances and creative events; and more than 35,000 people attend and participate in greenroom’s activities.

This project sets out to conserve our oral history before it is lost, and to broaden our archive in a publicly available form.
This has been an enormous task - greenroomutd started out life as an attempt to gather information for our 25th birthday - a list of all the artists, companies and shows that have passed through.  Thanks to greenroom's Technical Director, Steve Curtis, who has worked with us since 1987, we had a phenomenal record in the form of his diaries, but necessarily there are gaps - particularly prior to about 1991 when records are largely non-existent.  If you have any information to help us, then please do get in touch.
Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund the project was able to expand its vision to become an oral history project, gathering the stories of artists, audiences, staff and collaborators from across the years.  Instigated by Simon Richardson and greenroom's General Manager, Ali Dunican, we have been running a project with a team of specially trained volunteers, recording interviews with 200 staff, audiences, artists and project participants, on the phone, in person and through recollection events and a participatory project with Sometimes Collective - We Were Spending Precious Time.
The volunteer team, under the guidance of Dr Rae Story and Samantha Stockdale have been working since April 2009, volunteers have included:
Simon Richardson, Natasha Carrez, Oliver Bliss, Rosie Dodd, Sam Eviskitas, Maya Harding, Rachael Ash, Aga Radwanska, Mark Powell, Ian Carrington, Reina Yadoo and Chris Boydell.
The entire greenroom team and much of its extended family has been embroiled in the development of the project, at one stage or another - from early data entry, to interview editing, and any attempt at an complete list of credits would inevitably miss someone out!