Making Things Up

Making Things Up uses improv comedy theatre to build confidence, foster connections, and empower people to break free from social isolation.

Within less than a year, it grew from a project into a registered non-profit, and was shortlisted at the inaugural Arts & Homelessness International (AHI) Awards in the category 'Arts and Homelessness Project of the Year'.

I started Making Things Up in 2023, bringing together Manchester's Improvised Comedy Theatre scene and people who were experiencing homelessness. I produced the project in collaboration with the award-winning homelessness charity Coffee4Craig and Manchester's local troupe ImproQuo.

In weekly workshops, our participants were invited to learn improv comedy skills, express themselves and share laughter in a safe space. The impact went beyond our expectations - participants not only had their first experience of improv and co-creation, but also reported an increase in confidence. Some went on to take on volunteering positions, rekindle estranged family relationships, succeed at job interviews and take other steps out of social isolation.

This project took place from January - March 2023 and was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

In September 2023, I founded Making Things Up CIC together with my fellow directors Eji Osigwe and Barney Stevenson.

We are currently working on spreadsheets, funding applications and partnerships for 2024-2025 behind the scenes. Watch this space...

The only 2 hours a week when I am treated like a human being.

- Participant, Manchester

Sometimes when I’ve been down here [at the workshops at the drop-in], I’ve ended up volunteering here, helping them out at night. So... it’s a good thing to get into, it’s a good thing to do.

- Participant, Manchester

I came into this with a whole new kind of imposter syndrome, like what the buggery can I possibly give to people with needs beyond a comedy class? [...] I didn’t realise that homeless people hear "no" constantly. I'm giving them a room full of "yes" for 2 hours. [...] You are 50% of the exchange and you can be whoever you want in improv, an escape but also a chance to see your own potential. There's power in that. The learning is bigger than I anticipated, for them and for me.

- Jade Fearnley, Lead Improv Artist

The sessions have been going absolutely phenomenally. They’ve really given confidence to people... It’s all relative to having a safe space, having somewhere where they can just be themselves... Laughter is such a healer and a way to heal your self-esteem and your outlook on life. It’s been such a brilliant project.

- Risha Lancaster, Founder, Coffee4Craig
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
Shortlisted at the Arts & Homelessness International Awards 2023
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England