About Big Imaginations

We are Big Imaginations, a network of over 20 arts venues and organisations dedicated to providing high quality, imaginative and affordable theatre to children and their grown-ups. Our member venues and organisations span across the North West and beyond.

From grand auditoriums to rural village halls, and everywhere in between, it is our mission to ignite the imaginations of children and young people aged 0 – 13 years old through the wonder of theatre.

By programming and commissioning work that inspires children, young people and their families, we hope to encourage everyone to explore the world in different ways. We aim to nurture inquisitiveness and play, share amazing experiences, and provide families with the opportunities to enjoy theatre and the arts together.

Our member venues and organisations work together to share expertise, knowledge and experience with each other to ensure that we work together to build a children and family theatre offer that is bigger, better, and more representative of our communities than ever before.


Our objectives are:

Audiences: To develop and nurture longer-term relationships with audiences and market a programme of touring work for children and families in order to ensure as many people as possible experience and are inspired by great art.

Promoters: To drive and strengthen a consortium and touring circuit in the North West enabling quality children’s shows to come to the region more readily, making it more cost-effective and sustainable.

Artists: To develop and nurture longer-term relationships with artists making excellent work for children, specifically work of a diverse nature to reflect the communities we serve.

To support and encourage cross-venue partnership consortiums to support and share resources and skills, developing CPD for children’s theatre especially in the areas of programming, marketing and audience development, by visiting festivals and showcases and sharing best practice.


Founder members:
  • Liz O’Neill (CEO) – Z-arts, Manchester
  • Fay Lamb (CEO) – The Citadel, St Helens
  • Janine Waters (Artistic Director) – The Edge, Manchester
  • Claire Smith & Jen Henry (Rural Arts Officers) –  Cheshire & Lancashire Rural Touring Networks
  • Mandy Precious & Karen Barnes – Burnley Youth Theatre
  • Julia Brown (Producer & Communications Manager) – The Dukes, Lancaster
  • Matt Fenton (Director) – Live at LICA, Nuffield, Lancaster
  • Emma Lloyd (Marketing & Programme Manager) – The Atkinson, Southport
  • Claire Bigley (Arts Development Team Leader) –  The Brindley, Runcorn
  • Rosie Scott (Development Manager) – Waterside Arts Centre, Sale