What is Flare?


Flare is a project that aims to support and profile new international theatre artists who make challenging and innovative new theatre. We believe that theatre can offer contemporary audiences powerful, invigorating and new aesthetic experiences, which can themselves widen appreciation of the potential of the artform. Because of this, Flare wants to help build Manchester's reputation as an international hub for radical theatre makers, to celebrate developments in new theatre making emerging across Europe and further afield, and to develop audiences for contemporary theatre more generally.

Over the last 10 years, Flare has produced the Flare International Festival of New Theatre in 2011, 2015 and 2017, and The Flare Weekender in 2012 and 2014.

Artists who have appeared at Flare include the following: 3+2, Alicia Jane Turner, Almost Human, Ana Mendes, Andy Smith, Antoine Fraval, Ashley Williams, Beaches, Bog/Lisa Verbelen, Bosse Provoost + Kobe Chielens, Britt Hatzius, Céline Larrère, Christian Schwenk, Club Reckless, Daan van Bendegem, Darren White, DEADPIG, Dorian Silec Petek, Drunken Chorus, Eggs Collective, El Conde de Torrefiel, El Pollo Campero comidas para llavar, Emma Gannon, Enis Turan, Façade Theatre, Factory3, Figs in Wigs, Fractured Fusion, Geert Belpaeme + Mats Van Herreweghe, Guillem Mont de Palol + Jorge Dutor, Hannah Sullivan, Hof Van Eede, Irina Kondrashova, Irreverent Sideshows, Ja Ja Ja Ne Ne Ne, Jamal Harewood, James and Priscilla, Jodean Sumner, Jolika Sudermann, K.U.R.S.K, Katherina Radeva, Leentje Van de Cruys, Little White Dress, Marcio Pereira, Marius Mensink, Massive Owl, Moeremans & sons, Mole Wetherell, Nicky Hobday + Neil Mackenzie, Nineties Productions, Oliver Bray, Quim Bigas Bassart, Rachael Clerke, Reckless Sleepers, Rose Beermann, Iva Sveshtarova, Tessa Theisen, Sanne Van Rijn /Johnny’s Horse, Sheep Knuckle, Sian Ni Mhuiri & the Hungry Men, Simon de Winne, Sleepwalk Collective, Stella, Stitch Theatre, Tamar Blom/Wild Vlees, Thomas Martin, Tiana Hemlock-Yensen, Tin Can People, Tom Cassani, Varjack & Bengtsson, Walk of Shame, Wies Fest.

Whilst the current pandemic is preventing most live theatrical experiences from taking place, Flare is reviewing the lessons of the last 10 years, and the learning that might be applied in the future.
The Flare International Festival of New Theatre 2017...

was a five day festival of radical theatre by new artists from Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.
brought together around 70 artists, as well as a team of 40 volunteers.
took place at HOME, Royal Exchange Theatre, Contact, Lowry, Martin Harris Centre, and the new festival hub at 70 Oxford St.
included 20 amazing performances, as well as workshops, discussions, the Open Forum, the festival party and a Lord Mayor's reception.
The Flare International Festival of New Theatre 2015...

was a six day festival of radical theatre by new theatre artists from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Georgia, Holland, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and the UK.
brought together around 70 artists, as well as a team of 30 volunteers.
took place at Royal Exchange Theatre, Contact, Z-arts and the Martin Harris Centre in Manchester.
included 23 amazing performances, performance workshops, discussions, an Open Forum and the extra-ordinary Flare Party.
The Flare Weekender 2012 + 2014...

  • were two day mini-festivals of some of the best radical new theatre by emerging theatre artists from the North West, the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
  • took place at Z-arts in Manchester, on 8+9 June 2012 and 13+14 June 2014, presented in collaboration with Word of Warning.
  • each brought together around 40 theatre artists in the public presentation of approximately 10 performance pieces.
  • and featured Cult Arts Podcasters The Saturday Arts Club live streaming up-to-the-minute interviews, discussions and reviews as they happened, provided via the club site on thesaturdayartsclub.co.uk.

The Flare International Festival of New Theatre 2011...

  • was a six day festival of radical theatre by new theatre artists from Croatia, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the UK.
  • brought together around 90 artists, as well as a team of 40 volunteers.
  • took place at Contact, Capitol Theatre and Zion Arts Centre, Manchester.
  • included 24 amazing performances, a national panel discussion on the future of the art of theatre, performance workshops with leading practitioners, and the extra-ordinary Flare Party.


Flare grew out of the MIST (Manchester International Student Theatre) Festival which was established in 2007 as a response to the inauguration of the Manchester International Festival that year. It was further inspired by the ACT Festival in Bilbao, the ITs Festival in Amsterdam, Future Mess in Sarajevo, Escrita na Paisagem in Portugal and other festivals, programmes and experiences.
Core Team

Artistic Director - Neil Mackenzie

General Director - Laura Broome

The Flare Advisory Board - Annie Lloyd, Leanne Feeley, Teresa Brayshaw and Kevin Egan.
Flare wishes to acknowledge the ongoing support of...

  • Arts Council England
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Contact
  • Home
  • Royal Exchange Theatre
  • University of Manchester
  • The Lowry
  • Manchester School of Art
  • Manchester School of Theatre

Sleepwalk Collective ACTRESS 1 (photo credit - Alex Brenner) copy

Actress - Sleepwalk Collective - photo credit Alex Brenner