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Introducing the Makerspace

Sheffield’s newest theatre poised to open with a cross-artform programme focussed on Northern performers and fresh talent.

Moonlighters Filming Socially Distanced Festival

As we settle back into our favourite bars and restaurants, return to the city’s independent businesses and make our way out into the world, Sheffield is prepping for the return of its cultural scene, and ushering in the arts is an all-new theatre, the Makerspace.

Tuned in to the city’s passion for local talent, the Makerspace is run by Only Lucky Dogs, a theatre company formed in 2018 by young University of Sheffield graduates. Having cut their teeth at the Edinburgh Fringe and venues around Sheffield, as well as hosting a series of short films on YouTube during lockdown, the pandemic saw the company turn their focus to creating their own theatre from scratch. In a long-term collaboration, the Makerspace is now part of the Portland Works family of creators, bringing something new to the city's theatre scene.

With the arts being hit especially hard by coronavirus, the team remains optimistic through the many trials and postponements. “When we first planned our programme, we didn't imagine that the pandemic would go on for nearly as long as it has,” Only Lucky Dogs Producer Pippa Le Grand told us.

“With each postponement due to coronavirus, the order of the shows and the dates have changed; a couple of the artists on the line-up have changed too. That was a challenge because we loved all of them and it was such a shame when some artists couldn't perform on our new dates. But we're so glad they applied and we're delighted with our new line-up.”

Working to government guidelines with half-capacity for social distancing, the Makerspace is finally bringing its curtains up to host six shows and several workshops throughout June and July. Opening up the stage to performers from across the North, including a comedy-drama about conspiracy theories, Radio 2 award-winning folk musician Rowan Rheingans, and an LGBT+ scratch night, the team have certainly come through on the variety they promised.“

It's a really exciting summer for culture and events in Sheffield. In a normal year, every weekend from May to September feels like it has another festival happening. Thanks to the government’s roadmap, everything seems to be happening at the same time - which is quite stressful, but also so much fun."

Rowan 100 1

Rowan Rheingans

“It's hard to overstate how important the return of live theatre is. I'm delighted and cannot wait to get back and see some live theatre - in our own venue, too. That's really special,” Pippa said, adding that although theatre spaces may have been dark for over 12 months, a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes. "It's a different industry now as a result.”

Beyond the Sheffield scene, the Makerspace is offering a potential lifeline for upcoming creatives. After a year of closed doors and empty chairs, Only Lucky Dogs are focussed on helping emerging performers to stay in the industry and develop their work at a time when larger venues might not be willing to take risks on fresh talent.

Passionate about creating space for new, exciting and inclusive works, the Makerspace is right at home in Portland Works’ community of local businesses, set against its beautiful, historic backdrop.

The Makerspace will open its doors on Friday 18 June, but you can also also grab live stream tickets to bring the stage into your home.

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