Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet

Austerity and the arts: theatre, poverty and inequality

27 Oct 2015

The importance of making theatre during a recession is to be debated by artists and researchers from The University of Manchester this week (3-4 November at the Martin Harris Centre)

The House

On 3 November, a one-day symposium will take place on theatre, poverty and economic inequality will explore how the austerity cuts, which have had a considerable impact on essential services – health, housing, education – have also fallen particularly hard on the arts.

The event is the brainchild of Dr Jenny Hughes whose area of research is contemporary theatre. Her research explores the relationships between theatre, poverty and inequality, focusing on selected historical and contemporary examples. The findings of this practice-based research process will be represented in a solo performance on 3 and 4 November, entitled, The House, devised and performed by Carran Waterfield (Triangle Theatre) lasting for about one hour, and followed by a 30 minute Q&A.

The House is inspired by historical sources relating to poor women in the Victorian workhouse and contemporary debates about poverty and welfare. It traces a series of real and imagined characters, and narratives of destitution, institutionalisation, creativity and care, over a period of almost 200 years. Drawing on the performer’s research into her own family’s engagements with social welfare dating back to the Victorian workhouse, The House is an ancestral epic that explores how poor women have responded to welfare regimes historically and contemporaneously.

The House is supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship, ‘Poor Theatres: a critical exploration of theatre, performance and economic precarity’, led by Dr Jenny Hughes.

To book:

Both the Symposium and The House are free of charge, but booking is essential. 

  • Eventbrite
  • Martin Harris Centre Box Office 0161 275 8951 (2-4pm weekdays) 

Further Information: