About us

Between 1997-2023 Unlimited Theatre was a company of artists and producers working internationally to create live shows, events and installations for festivals, theatres, museums, public spaces, on the internet and for broadcast. In 2023 the company decided that it would no longer produce new projects and move to a grant making model to support other artists – unAwards.

We toured extensively across the UK working with and touring into nearly every regional theatre and arts centre in the UK and presented work at international festivals and venues in the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Austria, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Ukraine, Singapore, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the USA and even into space.

Our mission has always been to inspire people to join us in helping to change the world for the better.

Our values are:
Empathy, generosity and collaboration in partnerships
Rigour, curiosity and optimism in processes
Innovation, adventure and brilliance in presentations

Unlimited Theatre was founded in 1997 by six people who inspired and continue to live by those values – Louisa Ashley, Clare Duffy, Liz Margree, J Spooner, Chris Thorpe and Paul Warwick – who all met at the University of Leeds Workshop Theatre.l-r: Paul, Lou, J, Chris, Liz, Clare in 1997

When the company stopped producing new work in 2023, the longest serving member J Spooner created a podcast series telling the story of the company from 1997-2023. Search up The Unlimited Archives on whatever platform you get your podcasts.

Louisa is currently Head of Law at Leeds Beckett University with a specialist interest in International Human Rights law, Liz is an occupational psychologist specialising in leadership development and Paul runs an independent producing company China Plate. Chris is mostly pursuing a freelance writing career, Clare lives in Edinburgh where she runs her own company Civic Digits and J left the company in 2023 to study for a Masters in Law specialising in International Human Rights. The founders all remain close friends.

l-r: Chris, Liz Clare, Louisa, J, Paul in 2011

In 2021, with Clare leaving the Company and in response to a wider, pandemic-inspired crisis of leadership in the arts, we decided to retire the title of ‘Artistic Director’ and for the first time welcomed five new artists to join the company and share responsibility for artistic leadership. You can read more about that process for change in this blog post written by J.

While much of Unlimited’s work was made for an adult audience, we also always had a significant and dedicated strand for families and young people. From 2010 this was mostly delivered through the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA).

UNSA’s patron was the British astronaut Tim Peake who often partnered in our mission to “inspire the next generation of poet-scientists and space explorers”. Other regular partners included the Royal Observatory, the Met Office, the British Science Association, NASA and the European Space Agency among others.

“The Unlimited Space Agency is great. Their approach to inspiring children about science is rigorous, fun and it works! I’m proud to serve with them on their mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and space explorers.” Tim Peake, astronaut

UNSA won a series of prestigious prizes for its work including a National Charity Award, the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Space Education & Outreach, the WISE Champion Award for inspiring young women and girls in STEM subjects and the global “Best Mission Concept” from NASA. In 2019 The Space Shed was awarded 2019 ‘Unique’ Shed of the Year.

Unlimited has always been fiercely committed to promoting and creating equality and fairness and to reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve in our staff, freelancers, Board, artistic output and the audiences we reach. Unlimited is an actively anti-racist organisation (you can read more about the detail of our anti-racist work here) and we welcome, respect and value all people from all backgrounds irrespective of their gender, sex, sexuality, race, heritage, skin colour, disability, religion or anything else that mainstream society considers ‘different’. We support and celebrate ‘difference’ and we expect all our employees, freelancers and Trustees to join us in promoting these values; to treat each other with sincere respect; to support and take care with each other; to be mindful of personal experiences and circumstance and, further, to bring attention to, report or call out behaviour that is hurtful, degrading or disrespectful in any way – no matter how ’small’ or unintentional those instances may be.

We remain Disability Confident Committed and signed up to the Oil Sponsorship Free commitment that ‘We do not take any oil, coal, or gas corporate sponsorship for our cultural work and we call on our peers and institutional partners to refuse fossil fuel funding too.’

From 2008-2023 Unlimited was regularly funded by the Arts Council of England. Unlimited continues to operate strictly not for profit and is a registered UK charity.

Meet the current Unlimited team by clicking here

Previous Trustees: Alison Andrews, Louisa Ashley, Ed Collier, George Hardy, Mark Hollander, Caroline Hollick, Jane Macpherson, Liz Margree, Mark Riches, Tony Singh, Martin Sutherland, Mairead Turner.

‘Alumni’ Staff: Shakira Ahad (Assistant Producer), Alison Andrews (General Manager – maternity cover), Kate Bowen (Producer), Matt Burman (Executive Producer), Pamela Crowe (Company Manager), Tessa Gordziejko (Executive Director), Christie Hill (Assistant Producer and then Producer), Mark Hollander (Executive Director), Javairya Khan (Assistant Producer), Gloria Lindh (Administrator), Alice Massey (Executive Producer), Alison McIntyre (Administrator and then Operations Manager) Emma Rees (General Manager & then Executive Director), Alex Smith (General Manager and then Bookkeeper), J Spooner (Artistic Director; Chief Executive; Core Artist), Ric Watts (Producer and then Executive Producer), Sarah Webb (General Manager and the Executive Director).