Theatre Factory Logo

Making stories, Developing talent, building change

Theatre Factory was originally called The Ashton Group Theatre and was set up in 1997 by the current Artistic Director Rachel Ashton.

The company was formed to provide a place in Barrow for people, especially young people, to come and make original, new drama based on their own ideas, through improvising, playing, writing and generally messing around. As part of the original company we ran Barrow Youth Theatre which over the years involved hundreds of young Barrow people. 

In 2020 we changed our name to Theatre Factory because it was much easier for everyone to remember and ‘does what it says on the tin’. 

Theatre Factory has been based in many different buildings around Barrow but finally we came to rest in the Cooke’s Arts and Media Centre next door to the Duke Of Edinburgh Hotel where we have a fully equipped theatre studio and room to act, improvise, make things, move around, puppet, bang drums, animate, perform and film. Hundreds of Barrow people have been involved with us over the years, some for fun, some to learn and some for work. After several years of being a one-woman band the company now has a core team of 5 and every year we work a wide range of freelance artists from all over the country. You can meet us on the ‘Team’ page.

Theatre Factory works in many forms: theatre (indoors, outdoors and online), animation, writing, digital and sound. We make stories in collaboration with children, young people and the occasional adult. Their ideas, your ideas, are at the heart of everything we do. We share those stories locally and regionally from our home in Barrow in Furness. You can read about this in ‘Projects’.

Our work starts in the community, moves up through youth theatre and on into professional practice. A big part of our role is to nurture emerging local artists, to help them to develop careers in the creative industries. The company has assisted a growing number of young people to enter the performing arts industry. Have a look at the Apprentices, Producers and Associates pages in ‘Projects’ to read more about how we do that.

However, Theatre Factory is more than a theatre company. 

We are interested in how the performing and associated arts can help people and communities grow stronger. So we work closely with other organisations in Barrow whose work shares similar aims to ours. We add our skills to theirs to help our community to thrive. You can read about these partnerships in Theatre Factory Community under the ‘Projects’ tab

In short, we work with people to and build resilience and happiness for all. We hope that you enjoy the website, find it interesting, check out the ‘Events’ tab and come and see us soon.

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Theatre Factory

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