Illustration © 2012 Chris Haughton from Oh No, George! SHH Font © 2012 Chris Haughton. 
Licensed and reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ


Commission opportunity: A new performance for young audiences aged 3-7

About the venues:

The Civic is a small to mid-scale arts centre located in the centre of Barnsley, South Yorkshire. We programme a varied and dynamic cross section of visual and performance art that includes theatre, dance comedy, music, community arts, fine art exhibitions and a dedicated programme of professional children’s theatre.

Our vision is to provide extraordinary art and experiences to the people of Barnsley, Yorkshire and surrounding region. We aim to raise aspirations, challenge perceptions and inspire pride in our community.

We are passionate about programming high quality, dynamic and engaging work for families and young people, we predominantly programme work for 3 – 8 year olds but are keen to explore work that attracts and engages with older children. We work with and programme companies that both adapt classic or known text and with those that produce new writing and devised work. Our family programme consists of fortnightly Sunday afternoon performances, an extended family show for Christmas that is an alternative offer to the traditional pantomime, and periodic longer runs that tie in with school terms and half terms.

ARC is committed to supporting and improving the amount and quality of artistic work being made in the North and is the artist development hub for the North East region. We deliver a comprehensive artist support programme, primarily aimed at theatre and dance artists.

ARC’s artistic policy is to present work that is contemporary and relevant. By that, we mean we want to show work that helps us understand and enjoy the world as it is today. We want to look forward, to excite you about the future.

ARC’s family programme is mainly focused on work for under 7s, including some early years work. As well as an extended run for ages 3+ at Christmas, we present theatre, dance, puppetry and circus performances on Saturdays approximately once a month, as well as weekly film screenings.

For more information about the venues, visit and

What we are looking for:

• For the 6th consecutive year ARC and The Civic are seeking to commission the creation of a new piece of work for 3-7 year olds to be presented at the venues in spring half term 2021 (w/c 15 Feb 2021)
• The work is to be presented in the Civic Assembly Room and ARC’s Theatre or Studio
• We will be looking for a finished show to premiere at ARC before moving on to the Civic
• We are seeking companies that have experience making work for audiences aged 3-7

We are happy to consider proposals based around new stories or adaptations of existing ones. However, the show will be presented at the commissioning venues during half term, when we look to draw in audiences who may be seeking a more familiar offer, so please consider this when identifying the selling points for your proposed show.

Previous co-commissions have included:

  • Jack Dean – Horace and the Yeti
  • Compagnie Animotion – The Musicians of Bremen
  • Wrongsemble – The Selfish Giant
  • Filskit Theatre – Stella
  • Can’t Sit Still – Oh No, George!

What we can offer:

  • £3,500 commission
  • 2 weeks R&D space at ARC and/or the Civic in summer /autumn 2020 if required
  • 2 weeks development space at the Civic in January 2021
  • 1 week development space at ARC w/c 8 February 2021
  • 1 week tech time at ARC w/c 15 February 2021
  • Premiere performances at ARC on Friday 19 & Saturday 20 February 2021, and The Civic on Sunday 21 & Monday 22 February 2021
  • 70/30 box office split on ticket sales
  • Mentorship and advocacy from Ian Morley, Head of Programming and Artist Development, The Civic and Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, ARC
  • Opportunities to invite test audiences in during the development of the work
  • Dedicated support to find receiving venues to try and create a pilot tour of the work in the region


  • Deadline for expressions of interest: 1pm, Monday 13 January 2020
  • Shortlisted candidates will be informed by Friday 17 January 2020
  • Interviews Friday 14 February 2020 at ARC Stockton

How to apply:

Artists are required to submit the following by 1pm on Monday 13 January 2020:

  • Appropriate contact details (If you are applying as a collective/company of artists please specify a main contact person)
  • A biography detailing who you are, your background, professional experience and description of the creative team
  • An artistic description contextualising the show you will develop for this commission
  • A rationale for how this programme will benefit you and why it is important to your artistic development
  • If available, clips or links to examples of your previous work/work-in-progress
  • An outline production budget, including performances of the show at The Civic and ARC, showing income and expenditure

We anticipate that the commission and in kind support may be used as seed funding for further grant support for the development of the work. If you are including unconfirmed funding in your budget, please provide details of your past fundraising record.

Proposals should be no more than 3 sides of A4 and emailed to: [email protected]

Any questions?

We are committed to ensuring that this opportunity is open and accessible to everyone. If you experience or anticipate any barriers within the application process, or require any help to make an application, please contact us.

For an informal discussion about the commission please contact: