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As part of our twice-yearly Festivals, we enable new and innovative performing arts companies to perform in Sheffield, companies that may not have previously had a platform to present their work here. This offers opportunities for UoS students to work alongside professional arts practitioners, to develop their own creativity and grow as individuals.

Introducing our resident companies!

With thanks to Arts Council England we have been able to expand our planned Artist Support offer from two resident companies to four. They are:

Erica Mulkern

Erica is a dancer/teacher based in Huddersfield. She trained extensively at Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, receiving a First Class Hons Degree and the Carolyn Woolridge Prize for highest performance marks.

She also gained a Distinction in an MA in Contemporary Dance, and currently works freelance with Balbir Singh Dance Company and Northern Dance. Erica is developing a dance solo piece ‘Suzy Homemaker’ which looks at the gender stereotypes of the woman’s role in the household and the trauma passed down through centuries of restrictions.

The piece has direct links to teachings from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Hypnotherapy, and Erica is curious to work with the Department of Psychology to gain a deeper understanding of second hand trauma and the psychological impact on women’s mental health throughout time, as well as the Department of History to map out the historical timeline within her work. Erica’s work seeks to open up the conversation around feminism, trauma, domestic violence and abuse throughout history.

Tom Cassani

Tom works at the intersection of theatre, contemporary magic, circus side-show and live art. The shows he makes aim to foreground deception and interrogate the body as an unreliable measure of truth, destabilising expected experiences of illusion, and explore magic and circus-sideshow as choreographic theatrical practices.

Tom’s performances circulate themes of bodily vulnerability and open-ness, and he is interested in observing the long-term performative effects of acts such as sword swallowing, hair suspension and regurgitation and glass walking with specialists in the medical field. He is looking to combine his work with research with the Schools of Engineering, History and Medical science.Historically the development of magical apparatus is intertwined with engineering innovation and technology. Sideshow performance and live art body-based practices often take advantage of what is known, and what is unknown about how bodies work and what bodies can do, and circus side-show has a rich but often under- researched history of informing medical science.

Joss Arnott Dance

Joss Arnott Dance (JAD) are a distinctive contemporary dance company based in Yorkshire, touring across the UK reaching and engaging audiences with exciting dance productions created for a variety of people and spaces.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director, Joss Arnott and Executive Producer, Phil Hargreaves, the company is built on working-class values, seeking to create work that reaches a range of communities with dynamic dance and music productions.

The company is currently working on a reimagined telling of a classic character, TIN MAN, a new family dance show for family audiences 7+.

As the company’s first venture into creating work for families, they are interested in exploring a relationship with the School of Health and Related Research to support the development of the production us co-creation as tool for developing the piece and the in-depth knowledge and experience of the department’s work with young people will be invaluable to research and evaluation of the project.


leo&hyde is a multi-award-winning musical theatre partnership set up in 2017, based in the North West. Their musicals to date have explored the role of technology in millennial lives, but they’re now developing two(!) new musicals exploring technology and society more generally – Galileo & Titanic Mars.

They’ll work with physicists and astronomers in the Department of Astrophysics to understand, visualise & communicate the maths / science that Galileo pioneered and come up with fresh, scientifically grounded plot points for Titanic Mars.

As artists whose friends are also artists, the company dream of being allowed into Science departments, of talking to physicists to explain the mysteries of their research and of astronomers showing them the view through their telescopes, and of seeing what happens in the laboratories of the 21st century.