The Make New Work Programme began in 2023, and so far, we have commissioned 13 artists to make pieces of new work in collaboration with our local communities, at various scales and across various different art forms. 

Below you can read about two case studies of successfully commissioned artists from our first open callout.  

Tommy: The Queen of the North

Text reading The Queer Historian + ARC presents The Queen of the North (the title of the show appears over a stylised image of Tommy at Stockton Market), Thurs 4th / Fri 5th July. Directed by Scott Le Crass. Integrated Captioning + Audio Description.

Tommy is a multi-award winning, queer, working class, disabled writer & performer who makes work across theatre with elements of cabaret & live art. Their work explores taboo subjects which are often underrepresented, centring themes of queerness with communities whose voices are often sidelined in traditional theatre spaces & contexts. 

Tommy applied for the Make New Work Programme in 2023. Tommy’s application responded to the provocation #Money his idea follows the Stockton Market – The Queen of The North. This project explores class and regional nuances, trailblazing community leaders and local history- Tommy has partnered with Teesside Archives to record the making of this project and create a legacy for both the project and local people’s experiences beyond the end of this project. 

Tommy has hosted Pizza, Class and Money discussions with local community members at ARC, as well as creating a pop up post box for community members to submit their memories of the markets at Box Office. Tommy has also collaborated with TVNC Member Kieran Barker who is working on the project as a Production Assistant. Kieran and Tommy have been meeting market traders and will be inviting them into ARC to create a focus group to help shape the show. Alongside teaming up with Wellington Square, to host a pop up event in Stockton where Tommy and Kieran will be asking local people their memories of the Stockton Market. 

Several people sitting around a table, chatting and eating pizza. Another person on their feet in the background is approaching the table to join the group.

“The Make New Work Programme has allowed me to grow my work and think about communities in a different approach to normal. It’s allowed me to push myself in new directions, allowing myself to take risks and allow my artist brain grow in new ways. I couldn’t be more grateful to this programme and the support ARC has shown me”

Tommy’s top three bits of advice for anyone applying to the Make New Work Programme are: 

  1. Always trust your gut  

2. Remember where you are  

3. Always ask for help – there is always someone at ARC willing to help and offer advice  

I. Nakhla: WASTE

Stylised white letters reading WASTE on a swirled, colourful background

I. Nakhla is an artist working on the fringes of music, computational arts, and sculpture. Nakhla works electronic compositions, field recordings and voices into sonic worlds, working with sound and music to magnify the multiple voice as a site of knowledge, protest and play. 

Through collaboration and improvisation, Nakhla contextualises sound and music as transitory places, prompting questions about what we consider to be space, place and exhibition. 

I. Nakhla (aka Izzy) applied for the Make New Work programme in 2023 in response to the #Climate provocation. Their application caught the attention of the panel with its emphasis on examining the climate crisis through a queer lens. Their project focuses on types of waste and wastefulness while working alongside the local Stockton community, creating space for the final presentation to be directly informed by their research. Izzy will be performing the final phase of WASTE at ARC on the 30th of May and asks audience members to prepare for a sonic spectacular, an auditory journey through time, place, and imagination.

Since beginning work on the project Izzy has visited Stockton to interview community members, particularly those in the voluntary sector, and develop the project’s central themes of climate and waste. They delivered two free-to-access sound design workshops for local students and community members, and from those that attended selected two participants to mentor throughout the project. These mentees have worked alongside Izzy and will be performing live as part of the WASTE event on the 30th of May. The newly formed WASTE collective will also be releasing a collaborative album of music and sound post-performance, as a permanent record of their research and collaborative working. 


I. Nakhla holding a microphone, standing in front of a laptop (with their shadow on the wall behind them)

“MNW has supported me to think generatively about sound and WASTE – I’m scavenging sonic scraps – shaping stories with the audio that our everyday processes throw out. I think music and sound can make WASTE part of ongoingness, and listening can be both an ecological and political practice.”  

Their advice for anyone applying to the Make New Work Programme is:  

“Have fun meeting new people and tuning in to different ways of thinking. Keep asking questions and be open to directions that you haven’t yet mapped out.” 

The Make New Work Programme is supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation