About new projects

UH Arts + Culture is committed to supporting the creation of new work in all art forms.

In 2014 we launched our first theatre commission - Sparks Might Fly. The project invites theatre companies to work with researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, interpreting their findings for young audiences across the UK and using the power of theatre to make world-class academic research accessible to all. In the Autumn of 2019, we were delighted to be working in partnership with Small Truth Theatre Company and Pursued by a Bear as they produce new writing.

If you are a company or an individual artist and are interested in working with UH Arts + Culture please contact:

Melissa Alexander - Programme Manager (Music, Media and Live Arts)


Past Sparks Might Fly Projects 

UH Arts + Culture's first commission was awarded to Newcastle-based Cap-a-Pie.

Our production The Important Man explored the role of fortune tellers in the First World War and was inspired by the research of Professor Owen Davies of the University of Hertfordshire and the Heritage Hub.

In this unique one-man show, actor Brad McCormick plays several roles in a participatory piece of theatre which explores notions of belief and changing public attitudes.

The Important Man

In Autumn 2016 UH Arts + Culture ran a week-long tour of the production which travelled to secondary schools across Hertfordshire.

The Priory School, Hitchin Hertfordshire

Well done!  Thank you it was a fantastic performance

Onslow School Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Best performance I have seen in a while!

Thomas Alleyne, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Absolutely amazing and loved the accents


In Spring 2015 UH Arts + Culture and the Heritage Hub launched our second Sparks Might Fly commission with Contemporary aerial theatre company Upswing. Upswing was inspired by the academic research of Doctor Theo Gilbert from the school of Humanities which explored the science of compassion and its role in creating a cohesive learning environment in the higher education sector.

Using the inherent risks of circus and the role of trust in the art form, Upswing was able to translate Theo’s research into short performances involving both staff and students.

Upswing - Interview with Upswing from School of Creative Arts on Vimeo.

Vicki Amedume, Artistic Director of UpSwing

The aim of this project is to find the physical metaphors; moments of real risk, risk sharing and trust building which are inherent within Circus and utilise them to illuminate the perceived risks we take whenever we reach out to others for support. 

During our Partnership, University of Hertfordshire students, school students and UH staff were offered some unique experiences to interact with the performers. Following the four-year collaboration Upswing’s work with UH Arts + Culture has been edited into short films which are now used as a learning and teaching tool at the University of Hertfordshire.

Upswing, Upswing aerial
Choreography of Compassion Workshop, Art and Design Gallery, College Lane Campus
Upswing, Upswing aerial
Aerial artist performing on hoop, Art and Design Gallery, College Lane Campus