Nurturing. Empowering. Supporting.


The Dukes is a unique cultural centre for Lancashire. Our mission is to create and present great art which changes people’s lives for the better.

We aim to be an excellent creative producer: stimulating, developing, producing and inspiring work inside and beyond our buildings. We aim to have a company, an artistic programme and an audience that reflects the diversity of the society we live in.

Our artist development programme is at the heart of this mission. We aim to support artists of all experiences and backgrounds through each stage of their career, give them space and resources to be creative, and empower them to create exciting work for our stages.

BASE (Bespoke Artistic Support and Exchange)
Workshops, events and discussions for artists looking to learn new creative skills.

BASE Masterclasses 
Workshops delivered by professional artists exploring a variety of artistic mediums.

Still Me: Arts and Dementia Practice

Friday 25 Jan 2019, 10am – 1pm



An opportunity for artists interested in developing their work with people living with dementia.

Join us for this BASE workshop to gain insight and understanding of the collaborative process of STILL ME, a person centred, participative group for people living with dementia and theur caregivers.

Movement specialist Helen Gould and designer/maker Alison Clough will share their experience through participatory arts activities to provide a practical demonstration of their approach.

Still Me is one strand of A Life More Ordinary here at The Dukes – an arts programme for people living with Dementia offering regular relaxed film screening and a variety of creative sessions.

Bookings are limited due to the nature of the practical session so please book early to ensure your place.

To take part in this BASE Masterclass please fill out an expression of interest form and send to by Friday 11 January.

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Date: 21 Feb

Time: 1pm – 5pm / Glory 7:30pm

Venue: The Dukes Theatre, Gallery



Learn to develop your characters & dialogue in our latest Masterclass with Fin Kennedy.

Participants will learn how to write rounded and believable human beings and capture their voice within a script, and will leave with a set of exercises and tools to deploy those characters into interesting dramatic scenarios that audiences will find compelling.

Fin Kennedy is an award-winning playwright and Artistic Director of touring theatre company Tamasha. Fin’s plays for theatre and radio are produced in the UK and internationally. For Tamasha, Fin commissions, dramaturgs and produces all the new plays by the company and runs in-house writers’ group Tamasha Playwrights.

This is an opportunity for all but we are particularly keen to hear from BAME artists. There are limited spaces available for this exciting workshop. If interested please fill out an expression of interest form and send to by Thursday 14 February and we will inform you if you have a received a place on the workshop by Friday 15 February.

If you would like to take part in the workshop, we would also encourage you to come and see our brand new play GLORY by Nick Ahad at The Dukes later that day at 7:30pm.

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Worth the Risk: Anarchist at Heart – *Postponed until further notice*


BASE Masterclass

Join us for this BASE masterclass by Anthony Briggs (Ludus Dance CEO) and artist Rowena Foulds (Ludus Dance Occupied Associate Artist).

This workshop will be a practical exploration and dissection of making live political performances for public consumption, and the ramifications of this on your practice and/or professional reputation.

To take part in this BASE Masterclass please fill out an expression of interest form and send to 

BASE Nuts n Bolts
Giving artists the tools to be happy and successful freelance artists.

BASE Social
Opportunities for artists to network, make contacts and enjoy the local area.

BASE Mailing List
Signposting artists to opportunities and events at The Dukes and around the local area.

To join the BASE mailing list or for more information please contact


Kickstart Residencies

Open Space Lisa Simpson and BAME dancer


Giving artists the Kickstart they need to make exciting new work.

Kickstart Responds
Responding to styles, questions, themes and contemporary topics to make new performance. Usually paid or at least with travel expenses attached, plus technical support.

Kickstart Open Space
A summer opportunity for artists and theatre companies to take advantage of The Dukes spaces, meet the creative team, ask advice and network with other artists. No financial or technical support available, however if useful our in-kind support can be costed to provide support for other funding applications.

Our 2018 Kickstart Open Space application window is now closed.

Kickstart Residencies
Bespoke residencies for artists and theatre companies throughout the year. Dukes residencies are tailored to each individual artist and run at various times and in various spaces throughout the year.

If you’re looking for space to work on a project please contact Dukes Associate Producer Anna Nguyen at

We especially encourage residencies from those currently under represented in UK Theatre.





Associate Artists & Companies

The Dukes currently has three Associate Companies, whom we work closely with to support, and Five Associate Artists

Associate Companies and Associate Artists are chosen by our Artistic Director Sarah Punshon, in consultation with the rest of the team. Appointment of associates is a result of a long standing relationship between the artists and the theatre, often due to geographical closeness and repeated working relationships. There is no fixed time-period, as these relationships are organic: artists come and go as the time is right.

Associate Companies are usually emerging artists who benefit from bespoke support, including rehearsal space or technical support in-kind, advice and mentoring from the Artistic, Technical, Marketing and Creative Learning teams.

Associate Artists are more experienced practitioners, who work or have worked with us fairly often, and are able to offer us unique angles on our programme of activity.

We’re proud to be associated with all these artists and companies, and benefit hugely from our engagement with their work.

Previous Associate Artists of The Dukes include directors such as Louie Ingham (now Associate Director at Northern Stage) and Amy Leach (now Associate Director at the West Yorkshire Playhouse), and award-winning writers Kevin Dyer, Debbie Oates and Bryan Elsley (creator of Skins).

Associate Artists

Helen Gould


Helen Gould is a dance artist, choreographer and co-director of LPM Dance Theatre. Her performance career has spanned the commercial and contemporary dance sector in the UK and Europe in contexts ranging from musical theatre to film, contemporary dance to casino productions. Her choreography work has toured with productions regionally and nationally.

Helen has a passion for developing performance and participatory work for people new to dance, especially in the field of inclusive practice and dance for health. She is regional artist for English National Ballet for whom she delivers their Dance for Parkinson’s programme and works as development manager for Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance.

Helen is one of the lead artists delivering on The Dukes Theatre ‘Still Me’ project for people with Dementia and their carers. She works with Playmakers, the Dukes youngest theatre group for young people in years 3-years 6. The young company are currently developing 2 new performance pieces for April.


Lee Affen


Lee is a multi-instrumentalist composer, music producer and sound designer from Manchester, now based in Sheffield. His passion for music has led him to work in bands, write for singers and compose for theatre, film and dance.

Lee’s recent work includes composition and sound design for the Cardboard Citizens show ‘Who Are Yer?’, Aboutime’s touring dance show ‘Cotton’ and Hawkdance and Briggsy Produces co- production ‘HandsOn’. He’s also composed new and original live scores for silent films Metropolis, Nosferatu and The Passion of Joan of Arc.

2018 sees Lee working on The Bare Project’s touring theatre piece ‘Outskirts’ and Fallen Angels dance piece ‘Dark Night Ends’.  Alongside this Lee is working with The Dukes Theatre on ‘Still Me’, an exciting creative project for people living with dementia.



Tajinder Hayer

thumbnail_Taj pic


Tajinder Singh Hayer is a scriptwriter for radio (BBC Radio 3, 4 and the Asian Network), TV (CBeebies) and theatre (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Freedom Studios, Menagerie, Ragged Edge Production and Look Left, Look Right). He’s been writer on attachment with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, BBC Radio Drama Manchester and the National Theatre Studio. He is also a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. In the latter role, he teaches students at The Dukes’ Centre for Creative Learning as part of the Writing for the Stage undergraduate module; a module that sees student work developed and showcased in partnership with the theatre.




Lisa Simpson


Lisa is a Liverpool based choreographer/workshop leader. Lisa has quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and no verbal communication; therefore she choreographs using the Simpson Board, an inexpensive but priceless tool that enables disabled people to choreograph their own work.

Lisa now delivers workshops nationally, widening access for people with disabilities to gain skills in choreography and realise their creative potential.

In the last few years Lisa has been focusing on her own choreographic practice. She is soon to be developing her first work with a company of professional dancers this spring in partnership with LPM and The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster.



Mark Melville

Associate Companies

Junction 8

Naveed Choudhry 3


Junction 8 Theatre is a Chorley based company run by Liz & Nick Stevenson. We make theatre that is about and for our local audience. Our work is rooted in a sense of place, exploring our regional identity and heritage. We create accessible, engaging and entertaining theatrical experiences.

Our first production, UNDER THE MARKET ROOF by Becky Prestwich, was performed on Chorley Market in October 2017. The Dukes’ support with the show was invaluable, providing artistic mentorship as well as marketing and technical support-in-kind. We’relooking forward to working with The Dukes on future projects in Lancashire.



The Knotted Project


We, The Knotted Project, are a physical theatre company based in North West England established & directed by two of us, Simon McElligott & Natalie Morrell.

As we graduated East 15 Acting School & entered the professional industry, we were driven to make our own theatre with a unique identity. Since 2013, we have built a fantastic network & gained a strong reputation for delivering original, innovative theatre with a unique style & inimitable sense of humour in the North of England. Collaboration is a huge part of what we do & we are very proud to connect with leading artists & venues in the North West, pushing us to achieve our goals. We are very proud to have been funded by Arts Council England on a number of projects, including International Residencies & UK Tours.

At The Knotted Project, we also pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality creative learning activities. We are extremely passionate about this work & firmly believe in the power of creative education & freedom of expression.



La Petite Mort


LPM was established in 2011 by George Adams and Helen Gould through a shared ambition to create innovative dance experiences in the North West. The company has developed a track record for creating original projects and productions with an emphasis on participation, inclusion, dance research and interdisciplinary practice.

The company provides support with fundraising, project management and mentoring for other small, local project funded dance companies, namely AbouTime, Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance and TurnAround Dance Theatre. Slightly further afield, George is also Associate Artistic Director of Indepen-dance, Scotland’s only professional integrated dance company.

With the Dukes support, LPM offers a regular, weekly class for local professional dancers along with regular professional development opportunities held at the Centre of Creative Learning.


Other Opportunities

Mother’s Ruin Callout

Would you like to perform on the Dukes main stage, as part of queer cabaret extravaganza Mother’s Ruin?

We’re delighted to announce an opportunity for North West artists to receive tailored support to create and perform a new piece of queer cabaret as part of our collaboration with the fantastic team at Mother’s Ruin.

On Friday 11 May 2019, acclaimed Manchester performance platform Mother’s Ruin hits Lancashire with a hilarious night of fiercely entertaining and provocative cabaret. Featuring a spectacular menagerie of queer artists from the North West and beyond, including “self-obsessed glittery queen” Jonathan Mayor, expect a night like no other.

Up and coming Northern artists can apply to be part of this night like no other. Not only will you be paid £50 to perform on the night, you’ll receive tailored support from the artistic team at the Dukes and Mother’s Ruin.


Please send your completed application to by 3pm on Wednesday 20 February 2019.

Decisions will be made by Friday 8 March and all artists will be informed; however individual detailed feedback on applications will unfortunately not be possible.


Highest Point Festival Call-out for Performers

Highest Point Festival returns to Williamson Park, Lancaster on the 17th, 18th & 19th May 2019.

The inaugural festival in May 2018 took Lancaster by storm with over 22,000 smiling faces attending over 3 days. 2019 will be even bigger and better with more A list DJs and Bands playing along with activities for all the family across the park.

They are on the look-out for performers to appear at Highest Point Festival, Lancaster, May 17th – 19th 2019.

The closing date to apply is midnight Thursday 31st January 2019.

The call-out is for: Theatre/Artists/Performer/Walkabout/Street Theatre/Events & Eccentricities/The Weird & Wonderful/Poets/Storytellers

Express interest HERE

Completion of this form does not guarantee that you will appear at the event. Your data will not be used for any other purpose other than to contact you with regards to appearing at this event, or others that the directors of the event may also be involved in the organisation of, however it will never be used for marketing purposes.


Venues North

The Dukes is a member of Venues North.

Venues North is a network of venues from across the North of England who are committed to supporting artists to create new work.

Our aim is to work together as venues to support new and emerging artists from the North to get their work more widely seen regionally, nationally and internationally.

Go to ARC Stockton Arts Centre for more information and…

The Routes In guide to getting new work programmed in the North of England

The Edinburgh Festival Guide to showcase new work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival