Theatre Commissions at Waterside

Waterside is committed to the support and development of emerging artists. In February 2013, as part of our To The Stage programme of events for emerging theatre practitioners, Waterside and Creative Industries Trafford commissioned our first theatre piece for the newly refurbished Chambers Space. Since then we have supported emerging artists through our theatre commissions, support in kind, free performance space, and mentoring.


Nathaniel Hall's First Time is our current commissioned artist - find out more about the show.

Thick Richard - Swear School

Square Peg

Premiering in June 2014, The Man Who Woke Up Dead, was our first commission. The production was also supported by Arts Council England.

Square Peg are a physical theatre company whose work is rooted in visual storytelling. Square Peg was founded in 2011 by Michael White and Katie Robinson. Michael studied at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Katie studied at East 15 Acting School, London. They started working together after Michael sent out a casting call looking for actors interested in physical theatre. Katie was the only person to apply. The rest they say is history. 

Exploring the divide between fact and fiction The Man Who Woke Up Dead is a claustrophobic nightmare akin to the thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock and George Orwell. 
When a mysterious man is rescued by an unsuspecting nurse their worlds are thrown into paralysing doubt. As their stories unravel we uncover a web of deceit, betrayal and manipulation where nothing is quite what it seems.

"An absorbing nightmare journey."
Manchester Theatre Awards

After premiering in the Chambers Space, Waterside, The Man Who Woke Up Dead was selected for Re:Play 2014, at the Lowry, Salford. The show will tour nationally in winter 2014.

Follow Square Peg's latest news and productions here:


Nick Birchill

White Night was selected for our second commission by a panel judges who incuded Rosie Scott, Manager, Waterside Claire Symonds, Studio Programmer and Producer at the Lowry, Salford, and writer Ian Winterton. As a director, Nick has worked with Contact, Manchester, Bolton Octagon, and Studio Salford. White Night was Nick's debut stageplay.

“To Whomever Finds This Note,

Collect all the tapes, all the writing, all the history. The story of this movement, this action, must be examined over and over. It must be understood in all of its incredible dimensions. Words fail. We know there is no way that we can avoid misinterpretation. But Jim Jones and this movement were born too soon. The world was not ready to let us live.”

Richard Tropp (Jonestown Resident)                                         18.11.1978

White Night is a documentary play attempting to retell the ‘whole story’ of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre. Spoken through the mouths of three performers, Nick draws on his experiences and reasoning behind the hours and hours of research into this morbid subject matter. In his attempt to explore the ethical challenges of representing the ‘true’ stories of those whose own voices were lost to this tragedy, Nick presents the story of the Jonestown Massacre paralleled with the story of the writer who attempts to retell it.

“By leaving everything in the audiences’ imagination it added emphasis to the words and sounds, forcing you to meditate on the horrors and hardships you were hearing about.”

Now Then Magazine

White Night on Social Media

Check Shirt Theatre Company

After winning our third commission, writer Adam Gilmour created Check Shirt Theatre Company to develop and produce his new play The Beautiful Warmth.  Adam has previously worked with the Library Theatre as a writer in residence and his work has been seen at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and the Houldsworth, Manchester.  The Beautiful Warmth was selected as our third commission by Richard Morgan, Senior Producer at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, Annika Edge, 24:7 Theatre Festival's Festival Manager, and Rosie Scott, Arts Centre Manager at Waterside. 

The Beautiful Warmth will premiere in the Chambers Space in October 2014.

“Welcome to The Beautiful Warmth. What we do is provide happiness, confidence, security. An end to your emotional and spiritual needs. Dare we say it, we provide love. And we provide it all in one neat little installation.”

TK would like nothing more than for you to invest in his Uncle's fireplace business. In fact, it might just save his skin if you do. Join him for his last ever sales pitch in this dark comedy, which explores consumerism, humanity, and the desire for success.

If you would would like to keep up to date with our theatre commissions, or would like to speak to us about a new piece of theatre, please email