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Every now and then, someone comes along, who is clearly exceptionally talented and has the potential to do great things.

Traditionally, it’s been very difficult for us to respond to these artists, especially if they don’t fit into a particular field such as writer, actor or director. In response to this, we've created a new programme to support emerging local artists called Ignition. It was made possible by donations made by the public which has created a rare and unique opportunity to respond flexibly and responsively as talent is discovered.

The Odyssey: Missing Presumed Dead in rehearsal

The Talent Fund is starting to have a real impact on creating new work and supporting talented individuals. Over the last 18 months the Talent Fund has supported people such as actor Kieran Urquhart who was recently in Scuttlers at the Royal Exchange and will soon be in Leicester Curve’s The Witches. Talent off-stage has also been given the chance to flourish. Following their time at e&P as Trainee Assistant Producers, Martin Poile and Bernie Whittle have gone on to positions at Headlong and National Theatre Studio, while Michelle Grant is currently benefitting from the same opportunity. 

Our associate director Nick Bagnall is the man on the lookout for the unsung talents that could be ideal candidates for Ignition, taking in the work of performers of all kinds throughout the city.

“It’s about seeing a spark in someone and being able to invest in that. It is something that is really exciting to do, and something that doesn’t happen often in this industry.”

The Ignition bursary gives recipients the chance to use the Everyman’s rehearsal space, collaborate and network. No specific outcome is demanded – it is all about supporting creativity.

Importantly, this means the fund is kept and spent locally, and by creating opportunities for performers in the city it goes a way to prevent a creative talent drain out of the North West. “There’s so much talent out there, and Ignition is helping to find young people who are underrepresented in the industry, those whose natural habitat isn’t a theatre - and that makes it really exciting."  

"The great thing about this fund is there are no parameters. Regardless of background, if you’ve got talent it will be recognised and promoted.”