Ulita is a new Northern voice in music-driven theatre, focused on creating immersive, visceral work from unexpected points of view. Its core members are composers Nishla Smith and Tom Harris and visual artist Luca Shaw, each well-established artists in their own fields, drawn together by a shared love of storytelling.
The Ulita team first came together on ‘What Happened to Agnes’, a visually distinctive staged song cycle commissioned by Opera North, and developed by Leeds Playhouse and HOME Mcr. ‘Agnes’ tells the story of Nishla’s great aunt who disappeared as a child in Malaysia in the 1930s. It toured the UK in Spring 2020 with support from Arts Council England, and will be reprised for an Australian tour in 2023.
Our current projects are ‘The Secret Elevator’, a digital series blending poetry, music and art, which was begun as a micro-commission for Lancaster Jazz Festival; and ‘Sister’, a play with songs for two actor/singers. ‘Sister’ received funding for its R&D period through the Develop Your Creative Practice fund, and was presented at BEAM 2021, a showcase of new British musicals. An ACE Lottery Projects Grant enabled us to cast the show and carry out a first development period at Britten Pears Arts in Summer 2021.
From September- December 2021, we partnered with Olympias Music Foundation to develop ‘I Like I Hope I Am’, a new community-focused piece of staged work in our home-town of Manchester. We plan to continue our relationship with Olympias this year, to explore new ways of using music, art and stories to work with local communities.
As a collective, Ulita is interested in creating authentic, multi-sensory performance experiences, blurring the genre boundaries between theatre, music and visual art. We focus on exploring unfamiliar viewpoints and stories, and enjoy bending the fragile line between reality and the imagination.