Welcome to Feelgood
Founded by Artistic Director Caroline Clegg Feelgood have been creating award winning theatre since 1994 fusing the unusual with the imaginative - classical texts and ground breaking new commissions at traditional and site specific venue. A cappella singing and drumming, Shakespeare and African dance, abseiling, pyrotechnics and fire sculpting with music and drama - in parks, cliff tops, garden centres, African townships, museums and traditional theatres, national tours and West End transfers.
We have distinguished ourselves with an array of acclaimed shows following our spectacular launch with the musical Our Girls in 1994, where the audience lined the runway at Barton Aerodrome and looked on in awe as a World War II bomber landed to disembark the cast.
We have followed that with 24 years of incredible productions:
Blue Remembered Hills, Pictures at An Exhibition, (Mussorgsky), La Boheme (Puccini), Wind in the Willows, Robin Hood, The Wizard of Oz, Rosa, The Three Musketeers, Dracula - The Blood Count, Arthur - King of the Britons, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, national tours and West End transfers of Not About Heroes, and we were honoured to be presented to HM The Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of The Lowry theatre where we opened our production of Crystal Clear followed by The Wizard Of Oz, which sold out for their first Christmas show.
Integral to each production is our commitment to making innovative education and community programmes. In 2007, Artistic Director Caroline Clegg and the company were awarded the prestigious Horniman Award at the Manchester Evening News Awards for their outstanding contribution to live theatre. They also hold the Angel Award for Artistic Excellence and Caroline was awarded the John Thaw Fellowship at the University of Manchester in honour of her companies work.
In 2002 we developed Romeo & Juliet - Thando & Ruvhengo a riveting multi-cultural production made in Bulawayo Zimbabwe and performed in Bulawayo, Harare and Manchester as part of the Culture Shock Commonwealth Games programme. The journey was made into an award-winning documentary.
In 2009 we collaborated in Manchester with the thrilling company exiled from Zimbabwe Theatre Under Fire to create our incredibly moving Macbeth in Heaton Park.
In 2010 the world premiere of Slave - A Question of Freedom (the story of Mende Nazer) followed a trajectory of thrilling work from Africa that aims to celebrate the joy of diversity and raise awareness of modern slavery. It won the Pete Postlethwaite Best New Play Award and the Inaugural Human Trafficking Foundation Media Award which was presented at No 10 Downing Street. It was also performed in the House of Lords to aid the Nuba Mountains Solidarity campaign to highlight not only slavery in Sudan but the continued persecution of the Nuba people.
In 2014 on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Frist World War we followed in the footsteps of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon went on an 18 venue national and European tour of Not About Heroes. We began at Craiglockhart War Hospital and toured across the UK to places pertinent to them both including La Maison Forestiers – (the Foresters House) in Ors France where Wilfred Owen spent his last few days before a 5 week residency beginning on the 11th of November at the Trafalgar Studios in the West End. The same year Feelgood were honoured with a second Lord Mayor's Civic Reception for our dedication to the arts. Alongside this tour we also created an international poetry competition to raise awareness of PTSD. Workshops took place at Catterick Garrison and in schools and community venues at our 18 venues culminating in a special winners award ceremony in 2015.
Heaton Park is a special place for Feelgood. We used to tour our summer open-air shows across the country and went to Heaton in 1998 where we performed for 11 yrs. After a gap of 9 years we returned in May 2016 with Whispers of Heaton. We presented two new immersive site-specific commission plays, The Bugler and The Fight to commemorate the Battle of the Somme and the Manchester Pals regiments in Heaton Hall and Park. This announced our return to Heaton, the place we love to call our spiritual home and where we are now the Official Theatre Partner with Manchester City Council. In the summer of 2017 we brought back our open-air promenade productions with A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The park is a unique place with hundreds of stories to tell and we aim to reveal them as we re-ignite a passion for culture in the park. Our long term vision which we announced at a special dinner hosted by our sponsor PZ Cussons on November 14th 2017 is to build a theatre in the park. We are in year two of our vision development which is called ‘Field of Dreams’. We are undertaking a feasibility study in consultation with Manchester City Council in line with their new Manchester Park Strategy.
We hope a Feelgood Theatre in the Park will be a cultural space for world class theatre, music, dance and open air activities. Heaton Park is cherished by so many and our aim is that we build a lasting legacy to ensure that theatre can be accessed by everyone.
Feelgood is a Registered Charity (1092907) and Company Limited by Guarantee (3358285) with a board of trustees, who offer a strong leadership and management structure. We also have a ‘A Creative Think Tank’ - a dynamic group of professional artists who develop and discuss future projects.
Feelgood is proud to have the support of a number of well-known and highly respected industry professionals who regularly lend their support to our many events and productions.
Creating Work for Feelgood
Caroline Clegg is a freelance theatre and opera director, lecturer and Artistic Director of Feelgood.
"I draw my inspiration from a multitude of sources. It can be a chance conversation, a book, a film, a play, a piece of music, a memory, a painting or simply by being in an inspiring environment that leads me to ask questions - questions that challenge my artistic drive and passion to bring a story to life, to create a new show. I buy a clean note book and write a working title on the first page, and the journey begins, months, sometimes years before rehearsals begin.
My only self-imposed rule is to follow my instincts. The process is slightly easier if we are using an existing script but if we are creating a site-specific show I spend a great deal of time visiting the location alone and with the writer to listen to the ‘grain’ of the site.
With Heaton Park it’s like my second home.
I played there as a child and have spent over 15 years creating work there, and it still excites me. When I find a new location or am asked to create something somewhere new it is the beginning of a new adventure."