April opening for new theatre

Posted by: Richard Abbey
April opening for new theatre supporting image

At a time when so many theatres around the UK are closing, one venue has adapted to modern methods to open this spring.


Following a grant offered by the UK government, the Makerspace theatre at Portland Works is adapting to coronavirus restrictions by using brand-new live streaming equipment.



Their productions will be broadcast both online and with a limited in-house audience, thanks to significant investment in streaming equipment made possible by the recent Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

Announced in March 2020, the multi billion pound scheme aims to protect and save centres of culture and creativity across the UK, allowing them to flourish when eventually allowed to reopen. 

“The pandemic has forced us to think of new and innovative ways to open, trying out techniques we had never previously considered,” said Pippa Le Grand, recently appointed Portland Works director and producer for Only Lucky Dogs Theatre. “Thanks to the CRF grant received by Portland Works, we’ve been able to invest in this exciting new equipment that we hope will transport people from their homes to the theatre!”

Launching on 8 April, the debut season features performers from across the north of England.  Musicians, dancers, improvisers and brand new drama will all take to the stage. Acts include a comedy-drama about conspiracy theories, a Radio 2 award-winning folk musician, and an LGBT+ scratch night.

“Opening during the pandemic has been a challenge but one we’ve enjoyed tackling,” said Michael Saliba, co-founder of Only Lucky Dogs. “We’re really excited that, in a year which has been so tough for the theatre industry, we can help support emerging artists and bring theatre lovers something to cheer for.”

Only Lucky Dogs’ mission is to help emerging theatre performers build their careers during the pandemic. Many artists have faced redundancies during the pandemic, with 22 per cent of artists losing half or more of their expected income over the previous year. The cultural sector contains a high proportion of self-employed freelancers many of whom do not qualify for government help, forcing them to switch careers. Opportunities to perform in ticketed live productions such as at the new Makerspace could play an important part in helping these artists stay in the industry. 

Only Lucky Dogs say that their venue will become a go-to for every Sheffield theatre-lover keen to support emerging artists and enjoy new shows in a beautiful, historic venue. Portland Works already supports more than 30 artists and craftspeople, and the team hope to add the theatre-makers of tomorrow to their roster.

Only Lucky Dogs Theatre was formed in January 2018 to make unusual, absurd and entertaining original theatre.

Since then, this innovative company has created several shows, attended the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and performed in venues across Sheffield.


Tickets for both live-streaming and seated audiences are available here.


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