Portland Works to Become Sheffield’s Newest Theatre Location as Joint-Venture Launches with Innovative Theatre Company

Partnership with Only Lucky Dogs Theatre Ltd aims to help revitalise local theatre as region emerges from pandemic

Sheffield, UK – 17 July 2020: The board of Portland Works has reached an agreement with Sheffield-based Only Lucky Dogs Theatre Ltd to launch a new theatre space in its nationally recognised historic Sheffield location. The new joint venture will see the launch of a packed programme of theatre events as Portland Works’ newly renovated 100 square metre “Makerspace” is repurposed for live performance.

Artists and companies from Sheffield and further afield are encouraged to apply to join the exciting opening season scheduled to begin in January. Applications are open from Friday 24 July.

Only Lucky Dogs Theatre’s shows explore the boundaries between absurdity and normality, and the company first performed at Portland Works in November 2019. They will create new productions while based at Portland Works, while focusing on hosting a diverse range of artists and companies that address unusual topics and respond to the historic industrial surroundings of the Makerspace. A second aim of the partnership is to showcase theatre that encourages the local community to get involved in projects at Portland Works.

We’re incredibly excited about this project. We really want to play a role in helping emerging theatre-makers survive and thrive after the pandemic. Sheffield is full of highly creative people, just starting their careers, and we’re looking forward to making some fantastic work with them.” – Pippa Le Grand, producer for Only Lucky Dogs

Portland Works is often referred to as the birthplace of stainless steel cutlery manufacturing. It was built in Sheffield in 1879 and is now one of the last remaining working examples of a purpose built metal trades factory. Following a half-century of neglect, the building was purchased in 2013 by a social enterprise comprising more than 500 community shareholders who, having saved it from residential conversion, are now undertaking an extensive renovation.

The Grade II* Listed building has been reborn as a centre for small manufacturing, independent artists and craftspeople. It is also becoming a hub for education and community outreach and is featured regularly in national press and on the BBC.

Along with industrial conservation and supporting our makers, community outreach is one of our core objectives here. We’ve been looking for ways to engage new people and expand our involvement with the arts. This joint venture with OLD is already bringing a new energy to the ‘Works. We can’t wait for the opening season.” – Stella Howe, outreach and education officer at Portland Works

In advance of the January launch, Only Lucky Dogs are working to further upgrade the Makerspace. They are seeking funding for new lighting and sound equipment to expand the capabilities of the venue even further. Emerging artists and established companies will soon be able to debut their most exciting work in this high-spec location.

Interested artists and companies are encouraged to find out more at https://www.onlyluckydogs.co.uk/portland-works. Applications will be open from Friday 24 July until Tuesday 1 September 2020.

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