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We are on the lookout for outstanding, imaginative story-led ideas to be the recipients of the £2500 Live Theatre Bursary. Submissions can come from individuals, companies, collaborations or those who may work a little differently.

The Live Theatre Bursary offers a £2500 cash grant to use as against any part of your project. In addition, the bursary will also include dramaturgical and producing support as well as R&D and rehearsal space. With an estimated £10,000 in-kind value. Bursary winning pieces will also have the opportunity to be performed as part of Live Theatre’s Festival of new work in 2024.

To date we have awarded 33 Live Theatre Bursaries. Many have gone on to tour nationally or have life beyond our festival of new work. Recent recipients include Intergalactic (Petals and Constellations) by Alison Scurfield, The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol and Chris Connell, Red Coat by Lewis Jobson, Snatched by Melissa Johns, W*nk Buddies by Cameron Sharp and Jake Jarratt and Pops by Charlie Josephine.

"For artists, it is a luxury to have the time to dedicate to the process of making a show, without constantly having to think about the end product. Having the support of Live Theatre gave us more confidence, we got to meet other artists working in the building and we had a space to develop and thrive"
Cameron Sharp and Jake Jarratt (Bursary Recipients 2018)

"Winning the Bursary last year helped us make a show we’re now very proud of but also more importantly, as newcomers to the region, gave us a home. Presenting our work to audiences, next to other exciting companies, really helped us develop what we were trying to do - that’s what every artist needs!"
Rachel Briscoe – fanSHEN (Bursary Recipients 2016)

These ideas must be original and suitable for theatrical production. Artists must provide evidence that they are able to see the project through to the end and it must be a new piece of work. Anything that has been developed to full production elsewhere is ineligible.

Although Live Theatre’s focus is on the North East, applications from elsewhere in the UK are welcome. Submissions from outside the UK will not be considered.

To apply, send a proposal outlining the project, the artists and the process of how you work, on one side of A4. You may also want to send images and video links of the idea or previous projects.

The Live Theatre Bursary is made possible by support from the John Ellerman Foundation.

The closing date for applications is Friday 30th June 2023 at 10am.

Submit your proposal

Bursary Criteria

  • Originality of the idea and its suitability for theatrical production.
  • Story-led
  • Complimentary to Live Theatre’s aims and current programming.
  • Artistic process- plausibility/ evidence that the artists involved will competently see their project through.
  • Exciting content and form that will challenge both artist and audience.
  • Does the project proposed give platform to under-represented groups within the arts?
  • We are looking to develop a new piece of work, work that has been developed to full production elsewhere is ineligible.
  • Why now? Why Live Theatre?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there specific criteria around the type of work we are looking for?

We are not looking for adaptations, reimaginings, children’s theatre, dance or circus work. Outside of this we are open to all ideas.

Do we accept proposals from companies working outside of the North East?

We are happy to consider proposals from anywhere within the UK, however we are unable to accept applications from artists based internationally. There is an expectation that the recipient artist or company will want to develop an artistic relationship with Live Theatre.

Do I need to have a complete creative team to apply?

We understand that some artists will be applying in the very early stages of their projects and we are happy to support successful artists to find suitable collaborators and performers. However it is important the artist has a clear idea of what they would need from potential collaborators.  We are happy to consider submissions from companies and individuals.

At what stage of development are the artists involved at?

We are keen to engage with artists at all levels of development. Whether an emerging or established artist, whatever your age, this opportunity is open to you.

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  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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