Unlimited is a company of UK artists and producers making and telling inspirational stories for live performance in public spaces – theatres, festivals, galleries, museums, the streets of your city, on the internet and for broadcast. We are storytellers and we want to change the world (even a little bit) for the better.
Dissolving the boundaries between art and science
We specialise in collaborating with scientists and telling stories inspired by leading edge developments by researchers at the forefront of their fields.
“Unlimited have been pioneers in combining theatre and science, fearlessly going where few other companies have gone before in exploring the metaphysical and everyday impact of scientific advances on our lives” The Guardian
While much of our work with scientists is for an adult audience, we have a significant and dedicated strand for families and young people delivered through the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA).
UNSA’s patron is the British astronaut Tim Peake and partners in our mission to “inspire the next generation of poet-scientists and space explorers” have included the Science Museum, the Royal Observatory, the Met Office, the British Science Association 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 has 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.
Beyond our work with scientists, we also create touring shows inspired by our obsessions – money, death and flying bears as recent examples.
We focus sharply on the most pressing issues of our time – right now climate breakdown and personal identity. We are an actively anti-racist organisation (you can read more about our anti-racist work here), are 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.’
We are 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.
The company was founded in 1997 by six people who inspired and continue to live by those values – Louisa Ashley, Clare Duffy, Liz Margree, Jon Spooner, Chris Thorpe and Paul Warwick – having met at the University of Leeds Workshop Theatre. Louisa is now 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 and works on projects when our stars collide. Clare lives in Edinburgh where she runs her own company Civic Digits and is leading on preparations for our 25th anniversary events in 2023. Jon continues to lead the company as artistic director in partnership with the permanent team of staff and an ever expanding pool of associate and freelance artists. The founders all remain close friends.
l-r: Clare, Lou, Jon, Liz, Paul, Chris in 1997
l-r: Chris, Liz Clare, Lous, Jon, Paul in 2011 (we’re overdue another photo!)
Unlimited operates strictly not for profit, is a registered UK charity and an Arts Council of England National Portfolio Organisation that tours extensively in the UK and has presented work at international festivals and venues in the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Zimbabwe, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Ukraine, Singapore, South Africa, the USA and even into space.
Welcome to the shows. We hope you can join us.
Artistic Director & Chief Executive Jon Spooner (he/him or they/them)
Executive Producer Alice Massey (she/her)
General Manager Sarah Webb (she/her)
Assistant Producer Javairya Khan (she/her)
Communications: Holly Close (she/her)
Associate artists/producers: Ellie Carter, Rhys Jarman, Alison Holder, Simon Perkins, Anna Turzynski.
Board of Trustees: Caroline Hollick, Tania Mahmoud, Nickie Miles-Wildin, David Nicholson (interimChair), Pete Robinson, Emma Roe.
Previous Trustees: Alison Andrews, Louisa Ashley, Ed Collier, George Hardy, Mark Hollander, 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 (Administrator and then General Manager), Tessa Gordziejko (Executive Director), Christie Hill (Assistant Producer and then Producer), Mark Hollander (Executive Director), Gloria Lindh (Administrator), Alison McIntyre (Administrator and then Operations Manager) Emma Rees (General Manager & then Executive Director), Alex Smith (General Manager and then Bookkeeper), Ric Watts (Producer and then Executive Producer)