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WATCH: The Unity Theatre Open Call Programme is back and you can apply now

11 months ago


By The Guide Liverpool

Unity Theatre’s Open Call programme is back and inviting artists and companies to get in touch with their ideas and apply for funding.

The award-winning programme by Unity Theatre is heading into its third year, having already invested more than £80,000 in supporting 44 artists.

Now, after some incredibly diverse projects on and off stage in the past, including theatre, dance, comedy, spoken word, cabaret and community-based workshops, Unity wants new work to be part of its autumn 2023 season. It recently raised a total of £7,500 through a Crowdfunder to go towards Open Call grants.

Unity Theatre

The programme is open to anyone over 16 who lives, was trained or works in Liverpool City Region and it doesn’t matter what your background is, whether you have lots of experience or this is your first idea. 

There are four different pots of money available to cover a broad range of performance types:

Work in progress, offering up to £1k. This is for an early development piece that could be performed script in hand, or as a scratch performance. It’s a great way for artists to test out new work and get immediate feedback from an audience. 

Work that’s fully created, offering a guaranteed fee of up to £1,5000. This is for work which already has a track record and is ready to be fully created by October. It includes live performance – which will be given a headline slot on the main stage – digital, film, audio, outdoor, community projects and creative experience.

Cabaret or comedy. New this year, Unity is hosting two additional variety nights as part of Open Call – one will be cabaret so that could be variety, drag, or cabaret in the broadest sense, and the other will be a comedy slot for either stand-up or comedy sketches. 10 artists across two nights will perform a 10-minute slot each for a £75 fee.

Exhibition. In its first-floor bar, the Unity has a mini exhibition space for photography exhibitions, paintings, and any other artwork that’s wall hanging. Visual artists can apply for a £750 grant to display their work there for a month. 

Successful applicants in all the different categories won’t just receive an income and a slot in the autumn season’s programme, they’ll also be offered mentoring and the use of professional resources to help them make the most of the opportunity.

George Soave, associate producer at Unity and one of the panel members for Open Call, says the support is needed more than ever in the cost of living crisis, especially for artists and companies at the start of their careers.

Unity Theatre
Unity Theatre

“We’ve developed a light touch application process so it’s really easy for people to apply even if they’ve just got the seed of an idea and they need some support in fleshing out the logistics of it all,” he explains.

“Open Call enables access to those artists who might not otherwise have the confidence or know-how to apply for these sort of funding pots elsewhere.

“We’ve already seen a huge variety of artists and ideas – and we want more.”

The closing date for applications is Sunday 16 April – apply on the Unity Theatre website here.



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