Two actors, one dressed in orange as George the Dog, and one dressed in blue as the owner

Oh No, George! Copyright 2012 Chris Haughton. Licensed by Walker Books Ltd., London. Image by Von Fox Promotions from the show by Can’t Sit Still Theatre

White lettering on a black background reading BARNSLEY CIVIC
Black lettering on a white background reading ARC Stockton Arts Centre



Barnsley Civic is the only arts centre within a town and borough of over 250,000 people, and the only multi-arts venues with both gallery and theatre spaces in South Yorkshire. We aim to foster a community-driven spirit and ensure that our programme is shaped by, with and for the people of Barnsley. We are open and welcoming, bringing a high quality and diverse artistic programme, placing Barnsley on the cultural map and delivering work which people want to see in our borough. Our programme is coherent, responsive, and relevant, encouraging audiences to attend work they can relate to and challenge their thinking. The building we call home has been a centre for the arts and free to access arts education for the people of Barnsley for nearly 150 years and we want to continue this legacy.

Each year we present over 100 performances in the theatre and up to 6 exhibitions and visual arts projects in the gallery and beyond. Our programme is responsive and fluid to reflect and listen to the needs of our communities and to instil ownership for the work of Barnsley Civic.

We are passionate about programming 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.


ARC is a charity that uses arts and cultural activity to support our local community. We work locally, in Stockton and the Tees Valley, and nationally, through our leadership of networks and partnerships.

We have events and activities going on all year round for everyone. These include live performances, film screenings, workshops and classes. We are particularly keen that people who might feel that the arts isn’t for them are able to take part. Our work brings people together so we can all better understand and enjoy the world and experience new ideas.

We invite lots of different artists to spend time creating new work at ARC, working with local people, to make sure that what we present is relevant to Stockton.

ARC’s current 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. Under the new leadership of Alexander Ferris, this commitment to communities and sharing new ideas about how we want the world to be, no matter your age, will continue to strengthen.

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 9th consecutive year ARC and The Civic are seeking to commission the creation of a new piece of work for 3-8 year olds to be presented at the venues in spring half term 2025
  • The work is to be presented in Barnsley Civic’s Theatre or Studio and ARC’s Theatre or Studio
  • We will be looking for a finished show to premiere at Barnsley Civic before moving on to ARC
  • We are seeking companies that have experience making work for audiences aged 3-8
  • We are particularly excited to read/hear proposals:
    • that offer something different to the stories traditionally told on stage
    • from artists based in the North
    • from artists from the global majority

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:
Tiny and Tall Productions – The Selfish Giant
Filskit Theatre – Stella 
Can’t Sit Still – Oh No, George!
Moth Physical Theatre: Jack, Jill and the Landfill
Roustabout Theatre: Little Red Riding Could
Tessa Bide Productions: The Detective Dog

What we can offer:

  • £3,500 commission
  • 1 week’s R&D space at ARC and/or the Civic in Autumn 2024 if required
  • 1 week development space at Barnsley Civic w/c 20 January 2025
  • 2 weeks’ rehearsal/development space at ARC w/c 27 January 2025 & w/c 3 Feb 2025
  • 1 week tech time at ARC w/c 10 Feb 2025
  • Premiere performances at The Civic on w/c 17 February 2025 and ARC on Thursday 27 February – Saturday 1 March 2025
  • 70/30 box office split on ticket sales
  • Support and advocacy from Joel Brogan, Head of Programme and Alexander Ferris, Creative 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: 10am, Wednesday 10 July 2024
  • Shortlisted companies will be informed by Friday 12 July 2024
  • Interviews Friday 19 July 2024
  • Decisions made by Friday 26 July 2024

Selection Process:

All expressions of interest will be read by Alexander and Joel as well as other members of our teams. They will be shortlisted based on the idea/concept for the show, experience of the artist/company, attractiveness to audiences and deliverability in terms of budget/timescale, as well as balance within our programmes.

Interviews will be held online to reduce travel time and cost for companies/artists. Interviews will be with Joel, Alexander plus representatives from family engagement teams and/or community members.

How to apply:

Artists are required to submit the following by 10am, Wednesday 10 July 2024

  • Appropriate contact details (If you are applying as a collective/company of artists please specify a main contact person)
  • A short 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 (ARC avg ticket price is £8, Civic avg ticket price is £7.00/£13.50 for family work)
  • How you will minimise any negative impact on the environment in the making and presentation of your work
  • A completed Equality Monitoring Form

If writing isn’t your medium, you are also very welcome to submit a video or audio submission covering the above points. If you do, please could you also send a document containing the budget and any links you would like us to look at.

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, or a 5 minute audio /video presentation and emailed (along with a copy of your completed Equality Monitoring Form) 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 to arrange a conversation: