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Making Manchester

A show about home, migration and belonging

Making Manchester is a multi-media performance exploring real-life stories of migration to the UK, as told by 60 pupils from Dean Trust Ardwick (DTA) secondary school in Manchester. Using live music, poetry and physical theatre, the work explores how these unique family histories, and communities' shared experiences of migration, are woven into the socio-cultural fabric of the city and its people. 

Research and development for Making Manchester began as early as November 2017, with meetings between Olympias Music and historians from Our Migration Story. Both organisations were winners of their respective categories at the national Community Integration Awards 2017, where they met in London.

In June 2018, Olympias Music and Our Migration Story received funding to conduct 6 weeks of oral history, interview and writing workshops at Dean Trust Ardwick secondary school, led by Sundeep Lidher (Cambridge University; Runnymede Trust), Prof. Claire Alexander (Manchester University; Our Migration Story), Jenni Vickers (Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust) and Helen Pidd (The Guardian). 95% of the pupils were from BAME backgrounds. The result was 60 unique family histories, researched and written by the pupils there.

In May 2019, Olympias Music was awarded £22,650 from Arts Council England to develop the musical substance of the work, through workshops with the pupils at DTA, directed by Emma Doherty, alongside Manchester poet, Shamshad Khan, critically acclaimed Manchester five-piece, Kabantu, contemporary music group, the Vonnegut Collective and composers, James Whittle and Hayley Suviste. Two performances of the work will took place at The Niamos Radical Arts Centre in June 2020, followed by an additional performance at the Royal Northern College of Music in October as part of New Music Manchester.

Project Team and Cast

Partner School

Dean Trust Ardwick


Emma Doherty


Jo Yee Cheung


James Whittle

Movement Director

Tilda O'Grady

Electronic Sound Artist

Hayley Suviste


Kabantu; Vonnegut Collective


Dom Coffey; Mithun Gill; Sameena Hussein; Zoe Katsillerou


Adam Blyth

Graphic Designers

Max Thomas and Chia Chia Lee

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