How ‘Scratch’ is helping arts scene to thrive

A performance space which provides a springboard for emerging north west talent is returning to Warrington’s Pyramid Arts Centre this month.

‘Scratch Night’ will take place on Thursday, 16 November, and put the spotlight on new and experimental stage work of all disciplines.

The aim of a Scratch Night is to give a platform for artists to present short works in progress – that they have developed ‘from scratch’ – for instant peer review and audience feedback in a supportive environment.

All they need is an adaptable idea and DIY ethic, while all that is asked of the audience is to keep an open mind.

The series was originally launched by arts charity Culture Warrington in December 2022 and this will be the fourth time it is back at Pyramid due to its growing success.

In the process, it has helped numerous creatives gain confidence and new skills and given them the push they needed to develop their practice and seize opportunities elsewhere.

Alice Way, a previous Scratch performer, described the process as a validating experience which made her take herself seriously as a theatre maker.

She added: “Since performing in Warrington Scratch, I have developed my one-woman show into a full-length production, which has been performed at Liverpool Physical Fest and received funding from Tmesis Theatre’s 2023 Female Bursary. I am so grateful for the confidence the Scratch evening gave me and how much I’ve grown because of it.”

Daisy Howell and Aaron Howell, from Night People Events, had a similarly positive experience.

Their idea for Scratch took on a life of its own after the event and it has since received Arts Council funding for its full development.

They said: “Taking part in the Scratch Night provided us with a great opportunity to share new, playful ideas within a supportive environment.

“We have now successfully received Arts Council funding connected to those early ideas presented at Scratch and have received wonderful support from Culture Warrington in furthering our aims as creative, multidisciplinary artists within the region.

“It is also worth noting the fantastic interactions we were able to have as part of the experience – with the audience and staff offering valuable, thought-provoking feedback that supported our journey in challenging and positively reshaping our ideas into what the current project is today.”

The upcoming Scratch night will feature four performances in their raw form.

Gregory Fryer and Amy Nic’s All We Need is a Vicar is set in a rural village church where the vicar has forgotten something rather important while Ash Cox will present Space Chronic-ills which will blast the audience up into space but with themes which are a lot closer to home.

Poet and essayist Anson Clarke has recently been focusing on playwriting and the result is Brain which he will reveal for Scratch Night while, finally, Aline Costa will tease, please and unnerve the audience in equal measures in the otherworldly In Bloom.

Scratch Night takes place at Pyramid on Thursday, 16 November. Tickets are £5, including fees, and are on sale now. Visit