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Taking up Tenancy

Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham. We make original theatre, performance and public events with and about the people who are in it. Whatever form it takes, our work begins and ends with the people in the room. Over the last 20 years, we've collaborated with a shifting constellation of artists, performers and people who've never done anything like this before. Our work seeks to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers...

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Taking up Tenancy

Posted: 25 October 2018

Our new, year-long project Tenancy has officially begun. We’ve got the keys to a two-bed home on the border of Manchester and Salford, and the artists have moved in.

We’re renting the property in Urban Splash’s new development at Irwell Riverside for just over a year. During this time, we’ll be curating a series of artists’ residencies, as well as producing and hosting conversations, meals and other events in the house.

We’d like to send thanks to everyone who has helped us to warm the house since we got the keys, and special thanks to anyone who bought an item from our wishlist of essential items – many anonymously. We’ve been bowled over by your enthusiasm for the project and your generosity.

Family dancing

The first artists taking up tenancy are Grace Surman and Gary Winters, and their two children Hope and Merrick. They arrived at the house last weekend, along with their dog Eider. They’re staying for a week this time and will be returning several times throughout the year to make work together as a family.

Tenancy is a direct response to the radical change and growth that has gripped Manchester and Salford in recent years. Part of a wider EU-funded artistic project called Meet the Neighbours, which is taking place in rapidly developing cities across Europe and North Africa, Tenancy explores how the surge in inner-city living is affecting neighbourliness.

The artists taking up tenancy work in different artforms but are all interested in the relationships between people and how these might be tied to a sense of place. Some will travel a few miles, others from across the world to stay in the house for a few days, weeks or a month at a time. We’ve set them the task of getting to know the area and their neighbours, and making new work in their chosen mediums, to leave behind a trace of their time here.

Grace Surman works across performance, live art, theatre and choreography, both nationally and internationally, while Gary Winters is best known as one half of leading performance company Lone Twin. They’ve recently started making work with their children. This week they’ve choreographed a dance responding to the bin collection.

Next month, artists Jo Fong and Sonia Hughes will come to stay. Jo is a director, choreographer and performer, and Sonia is a writer and performer. They have both collaborated on Quarantine shows before and work together to create artistic events that explore the power of conversation, authentic encounters and finding ways to form community. 

Also coming to stay at the house soon is performing arts curator, dramaturge and writer Florian Malzacher. Florian is curatorial advisor to Meet the Neighbours, and will be giving a lecture at the University of Manchester while he is here on considering curating as ‘major dramaturgy’.

Next year the visiting artists will include Belgian performance-maker Sarah Vanhee, whose work often breaches the divide between the art world and civic life. She will visit the house with her collaborator, artist Flore Herman.

Palestinian visual artist Shayma Nader will visit in the spring of 2019. Her recent work has explored issues of environmental injustice and socio-political dynamics within resistance movements.

In the summer, Turkish photographer Ali Taptik will take up residence, joined by his collaborator graphic designer Okay Karadayilar. Having trained as an architect, Ali is interested in the representation of urban landscape and architecture, and the relationship between the individual and the city.

Next autumn, Polish theatre-makers Janek Turkowski and Iwona Nowacka will visit the house. Together they create performances that use archival film and their own recordings to explore the process of documentation and narration.

These are the first cohort of artists, and there will be more announcements in the future. We will also be producing and hosting regular events in the house ourselves. The programme will develop throughout the year, in response to the residencies, but may include shared meals, guided walks and talks from expert speakers. They will be an opportunity to debate the ideas and challenges raised by the project and reflect on the new work being created. We also plan to bring together local and visiting artists to share practice.


Tenancy is part of Meet the Neighbours, an international cross-artform project supported by the EU’s Creative Europe Programme. Meet the Neighbours is taking place in Manchester and Salford, UK; Béthune, Lillers & Bruay-la-Bussiere, France; Lublin, Poland; Marrakech, Morocco; and Groningen, Netherlands.

Tenancy has been made possible through the support of Tom Bloxham, Ben Caldwell, Gina Fletcher, Allan and Jo Melzack, Susan Webster, George Whalley, and everyone who donated an item to the house, as well as the Bloxham Charitable Trust, The Granada Foundation, Slater Heelis and Urban Splash.