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Our Story

The story of the company

Freedom Studios is an intercultural theatre company based in Bradford, connecting different people and communities through making theatre and telling stories.

We exist to help eradicate racism and prejudice.

Our mission is

  • To create original, high quality theatre inspired by Bradford, one of the most diverse cities in the UK.
  • To make new work in non-theatre spaces, for multi-cultural audiences, especially those who don’t normally go to the theatre.
  • To tell compelling stories about different cultures meeting, to provoke audiences to think and feel differently about others.
  • To work in conversation with communities to get to the heart of the story.
  • To nurture and challenge diverse artists in Yorkshire.
  • To take stories out into the world because the unique nature of Bradford makes them of national and international relevance
  • To entertain, challenge conventional form and make beautiful performances

Freedom Studios was born from the successful and pioneering Asian Theatre School (ATS), which started life in 1997 as a partnership between Red Ladder Theatre Company and Theatre in the Mill, Bradford. These organisations recognised the lack of artistic and creative provision for Asian young people in Yorkshire and that few were going into the media and arts ‘industry’.

In 2002, Red Ladder Theatre Company employed Madani Younis as the full time Director of the ATS. During his tenure, ATS created original work that was critically acclaimed for breaking new artistic ground and reflecting the diversity of its artists.  Madani wrote and devised in collaboration with the company a number of productions including including: Streets of Rage (2002), a response to the Bradford riots, Silent Cry (2003/04), a story about a death in police custody, which toured nationally and is published by Oberon Books; Freeworld (2004) developed through an international collaboration with Studio Theatre, Damascus, Syria; and Torn (2004) a half hour television drama developed in collaboration with the BBC, and scripted by Ray Grewal. Caravan (2005); a collaboration with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, inspired by the painter Caravaggio that explored the everyday lives of those that live within our cities and communities.

Freedom Studios was established as a new contemporary theatre company in 2008 to develop and to widen the scope of its creative theatre work. Its debut piece was a national tour of a new work Happy & Married? written and directed by Madani.

In 2011, Freedom Studios produced the critically acclaimed The Mill – City of Dreams a site specific promenade piece of theatre based on the lives of former mill workers in the city of Bradford. In December 2011, Madani joined the Bush Theatre as Artistic Director and Deborah Dickinson took over as Creative Producer to lead the company into its next chapter.

In 2013 we produced Home Sweet Home, which toured to the Albany in London and ARC in Stockton and in each location we created a bespoke BOLD festival of events –  “Brought tears to my eyes!  Absolutely beautiful, truly immersive experience – thank you.” Caroline.  The company also produced Osmosis, created and directed by Shakera Ahad which toured to festivals in the region.

Our regular artistic development programmes for emerging talent grows every year including Street Voices for writers, an Associate Artist programme and the Freedom To ... network.  We have been successful in securing status and funding as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation for a further three years from 2015 to 2018.  We are very excited about developing our work with young people in collaboration with Bradford Council, young people and schools in Bradford – click here to find out about the Magna Carta project  and what we did at Carlton Bolling College.

You can find out more about our work here or sign up to our mailing list to find out what we’re up to in the future.

© 2017 Freedom Studios..