Who are we?

Footlights is a multi-award winning theatre company, established in Manchester in 2005. We not only perform classics for the schools we also use drama vehicle for social change by delivering our issue-based professional plays and related workshops to schools, colleges, institutes and businesses. We believe in quality education to help enhance the school curriculum and local services.

We also help professionals and business who work with vulnerable groups, families and the general public, so they too can learn about the important themes that we explore.

How We Do It

We put plays and performance workshops together and come and visit your school, usually for a 60 minute performance and 30 minutes Q & A, as well as offering accompanying educational resource packs. We bring everything we need, we do in some cases use multi media so the use of a screen and projector and sound would be useful at your school but we will notify you of this in advance.

The Plays

Our plays are written by our team of professionals and directed by Alan Pattison, RADA trained and Head of Acting Liverpool Theatre School. Our Social Issue  plays are edgy and taken from REAL life stories; our writing and performance style is incredibly engaging, enabling our audiences to get ‘lost in the story’ and really relate to our onstage characters; who are often casted from our students or alumni for true peer to peer learning.

For schools we offer interactive plays too, however the stories be it World War One, Child Sexual Exploitation, Hate and Knife Crime or Cyberbullying they are rooted in truth, and will have your pupils hanging on the edge of their seat. Of course, we also offer plays that accompany GCSE learning too such as ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Macbeth,  as well as entertainment such as ‘Alice In Wonderland’, Snow White’ and other stories.


We believe that the learning should not stop at the performance. To enhance our impact and with a focus on prevention, we provide accompanying workshops for your young people, their parents and teacher to explore the themes from the plays and signpost support through our partner networks such as Trafford Council, Rochdale Council and Trafford Housing Trust.

Why choose us?

Our approach is unique.
  • We have a dedicated full time Education Manager and Ambassadors who is a CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) trained specialist, with more than ten years experience working in this sector.
  • Our Managing Director is a trained teacher and all delivery staff are DBS screened.
  • We provide workshop packages tailored to your schools needs at ZERO COST, alongside the performance. This means you can claim up to three hours of teaching and learning with any Key Stage or/and Parent Awareness Sessions, staff training and beyond for the cost of just one performance.
  • By combining the performance with classroom-based discussion activities on the issues raised in the performance, enhances their overall learning experience.
  • We can offer parent/guardian training, staff training, or work specifically with any year group you require.

Further links

Schoolworkshops.com is a directory of school activity workshops. Browse our large range of workshop providers for Primary and Secondary Schools.

I have known Jo for over 10 years and during that time have had the opportunity to witness first-hand the excellent work she and her team are doing at Footlights. Footlights offers opportunity to children to experience the arts in a safe, creative and friendly environment and equips them with many of the necessary tools they need in other areas of their lives. Jo is absolutely committed to creating high quality creative learning opportunities for children and young people through the arts and the results she produced are consistently impressive.

Baroness Hughes

House of Lords (Former Minister For Children)

Success Stories

The feedback from our performances has been phenomenal. We have top-level recommendations, such as the NHS, children’s services and Greater Manchester Police, for the work we do in schools and the community.

See our Testimonials for a selection of these.

Our biggest achievement to date (although we are very extremely proud and fortunate to have performed to 1000’s of children, young people and professionals) is the rehabilitation of a young offender.

It started in 2013 when Jo Fisher our Managing Director, sought to find a balanced story about the youth riots of 2011 for a play that we we produced about the disturbances called ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

The writer of the play, Sarah McDonald Hughes, requested the story of a young man, Zac Challinor, who was at the time serving time in a Liverpool prison for a string of petty crimes, but was notoriously known for setting fire to a BBC broadcast vehicle in Salford, during those 2011 youth riots.

Jo was determined to find and speak to Zac. After months of research she finally tracked down his mother, who helped to set up a meeting for Jo to visit Zac in prison – and he told her his story.  She also interviewed the police, local businesses, school children, social workers, youth workers and the general public.

The research was crafted together by Sarah into the resulting play ‘The Queen is Dead’. It was a huge hit, selling out the prestigious Lowry Theatre in Salford. Jo invited local, key decision-makers to the performances including Martin Hall, the then VC of Salford University and Jenny Langley, the headteacher of Albion Academy, a local school. As a result of the unforgettable performance and the impact of Zac’s story, both Martin and Jenny pledged to support Zac into meaningful employment when he was released from prison.

Two years later, Zac is a teaching assistant, has been a guest at the House of Commons and won multiple awards including Student of The Year, National Student of The Year and Adult Learner of The Year.

He continues to thrive, and all because of a little bit of drama!

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