An open letter to theatre and performance makers

We are proud to be a signatory of this open letter to theatre and performance makers, alongside many other theatre, performance companies and venues across the UK.

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This is a letter to self-employed and freelance theatre and performance makers in the UK. To the actors, playwrights, directors, choreographers, stage managers, designers, stage crews and set-builders to name just a few.

We really miss being with you during this period of lockdown. Making theatre and performance is a collaborative endeavour, so we are particularly affected by having to be apart from one another right now. We’re not able to come together, in the same space, to share the experience of a live performance. We’re not able to practise and enjoy our artform in its most basic form.

It’s now looking increasingly likely that won’t be possible for months to come, and we recognise that many freelancers face real uncertainty about if and how they will be able to continue to work in theatre. 70% of people who work in theatre and performance in the UK are freelance or self-employed, and it’s for this workforce, in all its diversity and complexity, that the impact of the current situation is most acute.

During these past weeks we have had conversations with many of you to understand your needs and the ways you have been affected. We are writing to express our support for you, and to lay out some practical steps we are taking to improve the situation based on these conversations.

As well as exploring ways of producing work with freelancers during lockdown, and using this time to develop new projects with freelancers for the future, we are also are working together to coordinate our response to the government, to articulate clearly what we can offer and what we need.

Most urgently, we are calling for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing, for all self-employed workers, and in the specific case of theatre and performance workers, until theatres are able to safely reopen. We also want to see criteria removed from the scheme which are stopping legitimate and much-needed claims.

Some of you are already involved in these conversations. We welcome your voices and need to hear from more of you in the conversations to come. Your unique networks, skillsets, perspectives, and ideas are vital to the entire sector, and we need to work with you in our response to this crisis.

Each of the organisations who’ve signed this letter are committed to reaching out to their family of self-employed and freelance theatre makers; listening to how this is affecting your work and lives, and to your needs and ideas for the future.

More than that, we want to facilitate the establishment of a national task force of self-employed theatre and performance makers. The purpose of the task force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It would create ongoing points of connection between freelancers and organisations, and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come. To help establish the task force, each of the organisations signing this letter will support a freelancer to join the group, ensuring they are paid for their time.

We want to offer a message of hope and solidarity. Our well-practised ability to work together, to form connections, and build relationships will help us through this. One day, hopefully soon, we will all be able to meet together, as people have done for centuries, in a shared space, for a shared experience. In the meantime, we remain committed to working for you and with you towards a sustainable future for theatre and performance.



Access All Areas Graeae Soho Theatre
Action For Children’s Arts Hall For Cornwall Spare Tyre
Activate Performing Arts Headlong Spin Arts
Actors Touring Company Hijinx Stellar Quines
Akademi HOME Stephen Joseph Theatre
ArtsAdmin Improbable Strike A Light
Barbican Theatre Plymouth In Good Company Studio Wayne McGregor
Battersea Arts Centre Jermyn Street Theatre Taking Flight Theatre
Belarus Free Theatre Jerwood Arts Talawa Theatre Company
Belgrade Theatre Kiln Theatre Tangled Feet
Birmingham Repertory Theatre Knee High Tara Arts
Boundless Theatre Leeds Playhouse The Almeida Theatre
Brighton Festival Leicester Curve The Bush Theatre
Bristol Old Vic Little Angel Theatre The Cockpit
Brixton House Mercury Theatre The National Theatre
Candoco Mimbre The New Wolsey Theatre
Cast Miracle Theatre The Royal Court Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre National Dance Company Wales The Royal Shakespeare Company
China Plate National Theatre of Scotland The Yard
Chinese Arts Now National Theatre Wales Theatre Bristol + Kiota
Citz Glasgow National Youth Theatre of Great Britain Theatre Centre
Clean Break Northern Stage Theatre Peckham
Company of Others Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Rites
Complicite Octagon, Bolton Theatre Royal Plymouth
Contact One Dance UK Theatre Royal Stratford East
Curatin Call Online Oxford Playhouse Tiata Fahodzi
Curious Directive Sophie Motley Turtle Key
Dance Base Paines Plough Unfolding Theatre
Dance Umbrella Pleasance Theatre Unicorn theatre
Derby Theatre Polka Theatre Unlimited
Diverse City Ramps on the Moon Wales Millennium Centre
Doncopolitan Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre Wassail Theatre
Donmar Warehouse Rose Theatre Kingston Wise Children
Eden Court Highlands Royal & Derngate Yellow Earth
English Touring Theatre Rubicon Dance 1927
Farnham Maltings Sadler’s Wells
Fio Separate Doors
Frozen Light Theatre Shakespeare’s Globe
Fuel Sheffield Theatres
Gate Theatre Smart Entertainment


Call out for proposals: A new piece of theatre with young people.

Commission: A new piece of theatre with young people, Farnham, Surrey.

 – call out for proposals

We’re wanting to invest in a project which draws together young people aged 15-21 years in a new theatre opportunity which can be hosted here at Farnham Maltings potentially in July 2020.

We are reaching out to artists and creative practitioners who have a genuine interest in developing work with young people in our town context and propose innovative and mischievous approaches to this project.

The project should be participatory and created with the young people involved. We’d expect it not to be just about acting and performance, it could incorporate writing, design, production, dance, live art, film, comedy and other forms. It might encompass site-specific work or theatre that doesn’t look like theatre.

We’re hoping we can support a theatre experience which engages those new to participating in theatre whilst challenging and provoking those with more experience. The project should culminate in a celebration of the work developed be that a performance, a sharing, a festival or maybe a film and importantly incite a legacy of further theatre experiences here at Farnham Maltings.

The total value of this commission is £6000 to £8000 with some additional budget available for the celebration and project legacy.

We expect the project to be in two parts:

  • Engaging with community partners, schools and colleges, seeking and recruiting participants, developing project ideas in our community.
  • The creative, making time with the young people and celebration

If you are interested we would like to hear from you.

Email with the following:

Please submit a maximum of 500 words detailing firstly your idea and approach to the project and then we’d like to hear more about you and your experience. This should be accompanied by an outline budget.

We will also accept video proposals, these should address the information above and be no longer than 5 mins.

Closing date for proposals: 9am, Monday 30 March 2020.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 7 April 2020.

Get in touch

If you would like to talk through your idea with us at any stage, we would welcome that conversation; you can text Katy Potter, Producer on 07798 812548 or to arrange.

Cast Announcement: The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home (3)

We are delighted to announce the cast for The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home, the latest touring production from Farnham Maltings.

Sam C Wilson will be performing the role of Ashley.

Sam grew up in Cardiff and trained at Drama Centre London.  He recently starred in and an episode of ‘Banged Up Abroad’ for National Geographic. His other TV credits include ‘Hanna’ (Amazon Prime), ‘Don’t Forget The Driver’ (BBC2), ‘Stella’ (Sky1) and ‘The Diary Of My Broken Vagina’ (Channel 4).  His theatre credits include ‘Wave Me Goodbye’ (Theatr Clwyd), ‘Mood Kill’ (Snippet Theatre Company), ‘Sideways Momentum’ (The Bunker Theatre), ‘Gorillaz Live’ (Block9) and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (Union Theatre).


Stephanie Greer will be performing the role of Chloë

Stephanie trained at Bretton Hall graduating with a first class honours degree in Acting.

Theatre credits include And Now It’s All This (Liverpool and Los Angeles), The Disappearance of Sadie Jones (National Tour), Ajax (Altitude North/National Theatre of Cyprus), Twisted Christmas (Liverpool Playhouse), Snow White (Tell Tale Hearts/Pif Paf) and Beauty and the Beast (The Dukes). Film credits include Deadlock (Directors UK/BAFTA) and The Surface of Impenetrable Things (RTS winner). Radio credits include Love Thy Synth (BBC) and Liverpool to Dieppe (BBC).

Stephanie also works as a professional aerialist and has performed at large scale events around the UK. She is delighted to be making her debut with Farnham Maltings.


Sam and Stephanie will be joined on stage by Samantha Trussler, a military wife, who tells her own story alongside the events of the play.

Samantha grew up in Ash Vale whilst her Dad was enrolled with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Samantha’s Grandfather, Uncle and Brother In Law were also enrolled and she has often found herself working either for or alongside the Armed Forces. Samantha founded the Aldershot Military Wives Choir in 2012 and has supported a number of Military Charities with fundraising and event organising. Her daughter is keen to join the Red Arrows, on the days she doesn’t want to be a jockey or a horse…


The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home is produced by Farnham Maltings, directed by Kevin Dyer and designed by David Hayworth, with original composition by Captain Ben Mason. It will be touring to studio venues across the country, find the full schedule here.


For further enquiries please contact producer Laura Woodward on


Aylesbury Library Commission


Soap and Porridge: Tom Cross

We are delighted to announce that artist Tom Cross has been appointed for the Aylesbury Library commission.

Working in collaboration with writer Aoife Mannix, Tom will create an intergenerational piece of work using the starting point: ‘What are your first and what might be your most lasting memories?’

Tom will invite library users, staff and community groups in and around Aylesbury to participate in a series of workshops, performances and an installation in Aylesbury Library. Over the next few months the library will become a creative hub, with a small makers space created and run by the artist. The final installation will comprise the artist’s stories alongside those of participants, told in a mixture of animation, print, text and spoken word, and will be displayed in the library in March 2020.

“I am excited about working in collaboration with Aoife Mannix in Aylsebury library on Soap and Porridge, building on the library’s central place in the community and making the library an even more vibrant place to be part of.  I am looking forward to talking to communities in this cross-generational project, drawing on my own family history in the area, and sharing each other’s stories.” Tom Cross, artist

“We’re thrilled to be working with Tom, Aoife and the Aylesbury Library team to be creating extraordinary and unexpected experiences for everyone.” Katy Snelling, Farnham Maltings

All are invited to come and meet the artists when the project officially launches to the public at Aylesbury Library on Monday 7 October 11am – 2pm, as part of Libraries Week 2019.

About the Artists

Tom Cross is a visual artist who uses animation and drawing to tell his and other people’s stories. He graduated from Wolverhampton Polytechnic with BA (hons) in fine art and a Postgraduate Diploma in animation from St Martin’s School of Art. Tom’s previous commissions include animations by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bodleian library, and an installation for the foyer of Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Currently Tom is working as a Creative Catalyst for Create Gloucestershire, helping two libraries in the Cotswolds develop their cultural offer. He is based just outside Banbury where he is also running creative wellbeing projects for vulnerable people of all ages.

Aoife Mannix is a poet and writer with extensive experience of working in community settings and libraries.  She has published four collections of poetry and a novel. She has previously been poet in residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company and BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. She has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has been writer in residence for Beckenham Library, Portsmouth Museum, and the Bronte Parsonage as well as Gosport Gallery’s Artists Rifles Exhibition. Aoife also lives in Oxfordshire.

This commission is part of a three-year project, funded by the Rothschild Foundation, to create the confidence, experience and networks for the communities of Buckinghamshire to present and commission live performance. The overall project is managed by Farnham Maltings who are working with Essex Cultural Diversity Project on this commission, in partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council.

‘New Conversations’ unveils second round investments in UK-Canada creative partnerships

dark edge

British Council, Farnham Maltings, and the High Commission of Canada in the UK are delighted to announce £58,795 of investment in twelve new creative partnerships between UK and Canadian performing arts companies.

Initially a two-year pilot, New Conversations has invested a total of £121,000 to increase cultural exchanges between the UK and Canada, allowing for more artist mobility and international opportunities, with the goal of initiating long term partnerships that benefit both the UK and Canadian arts sectors.

Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, said:We are proud to support this second round of investments in Canada-UK creative partnerships under the New Conversations programme. The richness and diversity of the successful proposals highlight the strength and wealth of Canada’s shared human connections with the UK, and we look forward to seeing the outcome of these innovative collaborations.”

Gavin Stride, Director of the Maltings, said: “This programme has demonstrated the huge appetite of UK companies to collaborate with their peers in Canada. We are delighted to have helped initiate and nurture cross-cultural collaboration and look forward to seeing how the selected partnerships flourish in the long term. We are grateful to Arts Council England for the investment and support that has enabled us to participate in this valuable programme.”

Mariya Afzal, Country Director, British Council in Canada, said: “Bilateral conversations form the foundations of the work we do at the British Council. The selected projects for New Conversations demonstrate the complex, nuanced and frankly fascinating work that can come to life when bridges are built and connections are nurtured.”

Press Release: ENG | Press Release: FR


The applicants selected in round two are:

VibraFusionLab (Canada) and Charles Matthews (UK)
Blurring the Boundaries: collaborative instrument design meets integrated dance
will use creative workshops in London and Montreal to establish a dialogue between maker communities and Disabled-artist-led dance and music organisations in the UK and Canada.


Broadleaf Theatre (Canada) and Blooming Ludus (UK)

Climate Futures is a cross-practice exchange focusing on the connection between object puppetry, verbatim/documentary theatre and participatory/interactive practice.


Secret Theatre (Canada) and Chapter Arts Centre (UK)

Secret Chapter will explore new ways of touring through the development of a new interdisciplinary work that is flexible, scalable and can adapt to different cultural contexts.


Toronto Storytelling Festival (Canada) and Mairi Campbell (UK)

The Taproot project will be a multi-artform workshop that enables participants to explore themes of land and the elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Water – which are found in all traditional stories around the world.


2b theatre company (Canada) and Imitating The Dog (UK)

Digital Connections is an exchange of ideas, knowledge, expertise, and practical skills that focus on the companies’ mutual fascination with using digital technologies in storytelling and contemporary live performance.


Moonhorse Dance Theatre (Canada) and Three Score Dance Company (UK)

Age on Stage Exchange will develop an advocacy document through creative research and exchange that aims to transform the way age is seen on stage.


Rumble Theatre (Canada) and Bertrand Lesca & Nasi Voutsas (UK)

Acknowledging place will use conversations and workshops to explore colonialism and its impact of the present day practice of the artists involved.


Joe Jack & John (Canada) and Candoco Dance Company (UK)

Joe CAN (and will) will bring together these two leading inclusive performance companies to share best practice, learn from each other and start working on a collectively devised piece.


Young Vic (UK) and Grand Theatre (Canada)

London (U.K) meets London (Canada) will share and develop best practice when working in participatory arts, in particular with vulnerable adults creating semi-biographical participant led community shows.


Arika (UK) and Western Front (Canada)

Land is a Relationship is a research project exploring Scotland’s role in the colonisation of the Americas that seeks to redefine the dominant perspective and narrative around the subject.


Doorstep Arts (UK) and Antyx Community Arts (Canada)

Imagined Futures is a digital exchange led by young people in both countries that will test a framework through which young artists can share work with peers internationally.


Maribé – Sors De Ce Corps (Canada) and Agile Arts (UK)

Cultural exchange is a two week studio based artistic research and dialogue between the companies core artists about common artistic practice and interests, the questioning of our differences, and verbal and physical investigation into potential collaboration.

Call for Proposals: Aylesbury Commission

An image of a library, with bookshelves and people in the background

Farnham Maltings, in collaboration with Essex Cultural Diversity Project, is currently calling for proposals for our next place-based artist commission, which will focus on Aylesbury, as part of a three-year project in Buckinghamshire.

Budget: £10,000
Deadline: Wednesday 31 July
Interviews: September

Download the full brief here: Aylesbury Commission – ECDP Brief 2019


This commission is part of a three-year project, funded by the Rothschild Foundation, to create the confidence, experience and networks for the communities of Buckinghamshire to present and commission live performance. The overall project is managed by Farnham Maltings who are working with Essex Cultural Diversity Project (ECDP) on this commission.

Farnham Maltings was established as an arts centre in 1969. Over the past 15 years the organisation has repositioned itself as a regional development organisation working across South East England. As a NPO, Farnham Maltings runs a programme of work designed to increase the range, quality and audience for theatre across the south east region, has established a network of 200 venues who jointly programme and support a south east regional ecology, creates work for village halls, produces a cohort of the regions’ most promising talent and leads a national programme to internationalise the independent theatre sector in partnership with the British Council and UKTI.

Buckinghamshire Library Service is run by Buckinghamshire County Council and has an extensive reach with 30 libraries across the county providing an important service for many local communities, particularly those in rural areas. Buckinghamshire County Council has recently brought together its libraries and cultural services, is re-imagining the library offer and, by supporting the delivery of the new Bucks Cultural Strategy, it recognises the potential to build on their role as accessible community hubs.

The Commission

For the first commission we are looking for an artist(s) or company to work with and within Aylesbury Library. The Libraries and Culture service is keen to explore new and different ways for people to experience libraries. Aylesbury Library reopened in January 2019 after an extensive refurbishment. Sitting in the town centre it is used by a large number of Buckinghamshire residents and includes a children’s library, study centre and meeting rooms/flexible spaces.   

We are inviting inspiring creative project proposals from artists and companies that respond to the following aims:

  • To improve equality of access to cultural activities and opportunities in Buckinghamshire via libraries
  • To provide opportunities for creative practitioners from diverse backgrounds
  • To engage and involve local communities, removing barriers to participation in the arts

The project should be bold, distinctive, relevant and excellent. It should also include an element of performance and create a legacy artwork for Aylesbury library and its users.

We are also keen that this opportunity is used by the appointed artist/company to learn and stretch their practice, and this learning is shared.

Although preferred, it is not necessary for the appointed artist to live or work in Buckinghamshire, but we would expect them to spend a significant amount of time in Aylesbury and the surrounding area across the duration of the project, and they should have good knowledge of the area.

Application process

The successful commission will be selected by a panel of representatives from ECDP, Farnham Maltings and Buckinghamshire Library Service. A shortlist will be made from the received applications based on how well they meet the above aims and these will be invited to interview to talk further about their proposal before a final decision is made. The commission will be managed by ECDP and the commissioned artist/company will receive ongoing support, advocacy and advice from ECDP and Farnham Maltings throughout.

As work will take place in the library and other public spaces, safeguarding children and vulnerable people is paramount; a full risk assessment will be required for this work and valid DBS accreditation in place if required.

Timescales for Delivery

It is expected that work on the commission will begin in autumn 2019. All work must be finished and invoiced for prior to the end of March 2020. A final timetable for delivery, including milestones to monitor progress against the stated aims, will be established with the successful applicant and payments will be made against this timetable.


The commission budget is £10,000 and will be treated as a grant. This is inclusive of all expenses and must therefore cover fees, travel, materials and marketing. Some promotion and advertising will be undertaken by the partners, at their cost, and this will discussed in due course. Payments will be made in instalments, on receipt of invoice, and subject to progress against achieving agreed activity as outlined above. If this is a joint commission one artist/company will need to be the project lead and all payments will be made to them.

The £10,000 can be used as match-funding for a larger project but this should not affect the ability to deliver the project nor the timelines for delivery set out above. If this is the preferred approach then please make this clear in your response and explain how the larger project still meets this brief.

Responding to this Commission

To apply for this commission please email jo@essexcdp.comand including the following:

  • An outline of the artistic concept for the commission, including the proposed community engagement process, intended audience and legacy (no more than 1 side of A4).
  • A brief description on why you are interested in this commission at this time, how your project promotes diversity and any relevant connections with Buckinghamshire (no more than 1 side of A4).
  • A biography/company description with relevant previous work (no more than 2 sides of A4). Please include links to relevant websites and social media/media.
  • An outline budget breakdown showing how you would utilise the £10,000 and an approximate timeline for the work.
  • The signed declaration and monitoring form included below

Please ensure that proposals are received by 23.59 on 31 July 2019. Interviews will be on held in Aylesbury in September and will include an opportunity for a 15-minute presentation on your proposal.

Unlimited and Farnham Maltings present: the Farnham Maltings Partnership Award.

byron vincent

In a collaboration with Unlimited, Farnham Maltings are co-commissioning a new piece of theatre from multi-award winning writer, performer and broadcaster Byron Vincent. As one of the main partnership commissions in the new programme of disability-led performance by Unlimited, Farnham Maltings is delighted to be working with Byron to develop an idea through to production and presentation across rural communities in Surrey.

In this funny and entertaining performance, Instagramming The Apocalypse, Byron will turn his sharp wit and curious mind to the modern malaise.

Who do you trust when the news is fake, your partner is cheating on you and global politics is an exploding clown car? Byron Vincent is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but with dying icons, impending climate catastrophe and that bloke from Home Alone Two in charge of world’s largest nuclear arsenal, isn’t blind panic the only sane response?

It’s a glib, postmodern world in which cynicism is cool, modern life is rubbish and sincerity is for suckers; but as concepts like truth, peace and hope become risible anachronisms, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate our perspective. In a post-satire age, what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?

The aim of the Farnham Maltings Partnership Award is to re-examine the notion of rural touring by exploring the potential of village halls and communities. It is one of the Unlimited Awards for 2019, which support the development of ambitious new artistic work by 26 disabled artists and companies. To find out more about the other commissions, click here.

Farnham Maltings forge new creative partnership with Lost Dog Dance Company

London, UK. 12.02.2017. Lost Dog presents "Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage", at Battersea Arts Centre. Conceived and directed by Ben Duke. Devised and performed by Ben Duke and Solene Weinachter. Artistic Collaborator: Raquel Meseguer. Lighting design by Jackie Shemesh, costume design by James Perkins. Juliet and Romeo - A Guide to Long Life & Happy Marriage is co-commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre, The Place, and Warwick Arts Centre. The work is funded by Arts Council England via Grants for the Arts. Production time supported by Lancaster Arts. Ben Duke is a Work Place artist. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Photograph © Jane Hobson.

The Olivier-nominated, multi-award winning contemporary dance/theatre company LOST DOG, and FARNHAM MALTINGS, the hugely popular theatre and arts centre in Farnham, Surrey, have announced that they will be working together in a new partnership from March 2019.  This very exciting support model has been designed to ensure Lost Dog has the ability and support to flourish in the best way possible while contributing to Farnham Maltings’ ambitions to increase the range, quality and audience for contemporary performance across the south east.  Farnham Maltings will employ a part time administrator for Lost Dog, based at Lost Dog’s studio in Laughton, Sussex, for the next three years.


Gavin Stride, Director of the Maltings said: “In talking to Lost Dog it became obvious that, in addition to the advice and access to resources we offer, what the company most needed was practical, organisational support.  By agreeing to second a member of our team to work as part of Lost Dog felt completely right.  The administrator will be based at Lost Dog’s studios in Laughton, Sussex and will support the company’s core activities thereby freeing up Ben and the producing team to focus on making and touring shows.  We’re very excited about the new partnership with Lost Dog – we love the company and we believe we can make a difference.”

This new ‘Supported by’ model builds on the work Farnham Maltings already does in producing Little Bulb Theatre, performance artist Victoria Melody, and theatre company Bucket Club along with a number of associate relationships.


Ben Duke, Artistic Director of Lost Dog said: “I am delighted to be beginning this new relationship with Farnham Maltings.  From our first meeting with Gavin it was clear that he was interested in understanding our needs as a company and finding a way that the Maltings could help us.  It was so refreshing to feel that we were not being asked to fit into a pre-existing model but were instead part of an open and inspiring dialogue.

As a small scale company we value our creative independence but are dependent on the support of larger organisations.  The support that Farnham Maltings are offering us is exactly what we need at this stage of our company development.  It’ll enable us to really look at the development of our own work and our work for other companies and, most crucially, it will enable us to reach more people through touring and participation.

Work that Gavin and the Maltings have done so far in supporting independent companies shows that this is a building that lives a model of interdependence and mutual support and in this time of uncertainty and division I am grateful for and excited about this new partnership.”



LOST DOG was formed in 2004 by Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer to create work using text, movement and music in which dance is framed by stories and characters.  Since then the company has won a number of awards including the Bonnie Bird UK New Choreographers Award (2005) for The Drowner; the Bloomberg Place Prize Award 2011 for It Needs Horses; Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance 2016 and the Rural Touring Award 2017 for Paradise Lost which was also nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award.

Other work includes Home For Broken Turns (2012), Like Rabbits, made in collaboration with the British playwright Lucy Kirkwood (2014).  Ben has directed and choreographed works for Rambert, Scottish Dance Theatre, Dance Umbrella, Phoenix Dance Theatre and more.  He has performed with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, The Gate Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland, Glyndebourne Opera and Punchdrunk.


Farnham Maltings

Farnham Maltings is an independent arts organisation based in South West Surrey that works locally to contribute to the shape and character of the town and regionally to make, produce and support contemporary popular theatre. We lead house as a regional programming  network of 190 venues and caravan, an international showcase of English performance.


Download full press release here


New Popular – call out for proposals

new popular website

Awards of £3000-£8000 to seed a new piece of theatre

New Popular is a five year initiative supported by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation designed to test and create new theatre projects with the ambition of reaching broader audiences in new places with new experiences.

We are looking to invest in the production of new work which connects with those who may not regularly engage with theatre in the South East, work that is enticing and relevant; work that plays with new forms, that addresses the priorities and ambitions of a wider audience.

This might encompass site-specific work, theatre that doesn’t look like theatre, work in village fetes, care homes, high streets, seafronts and work that rediscovers an appetite for contemporary, popular entertainment.

We are looking to make a small number of investments of £3000-£8000 that test new approaches and seed ideas for new pieces of theatre that seeks to achieve these ambitions. We hope to support some of these projects further to full production.


Our investment will be made to partnerships, forged by shared ambitions to reach new theatre audiences. We expect lead applicants may be theatre makers and venues but we particularly welcome partnerships with non-arts partners ranging from local authorities, housing associations to community groups such as allotment societies, walking groups, residents associations, playgroups and hairdressers.

We’re looking for the most promising, bold, mischievous yet considered ideas that have the potential to result in compelling theatre while furthering the ambitions and expectations of all partners. We are hoping to support a range of different approaches working with theatre makers from local emerging companies to experienced, international artists.

Making a proposal

Visit to download the proposal form. All proposals should be accompanied with an outline  budget and submitted by email to:
Closing date for submissions is 9am Monday 25 March 2019

Proposals will be selected by a small curatorial panel and decisions will be based on:

  • the artistic idea
  • the approach to engaging new audiences, both its practicality and authenticity
  • the depth of the partnership and how far the project supports mutual ambitions

Successful proposals will be posted on the Farnham Maltings website.

Get in touch

If you would like to talk though your idea with us at any stage, we would welcome that conversation; contact Katy Potter, Producer on 07798 812548 Mon-Thurs or

‘New Conversations’ unveils exciting first round investments in UK-Canada creative partnerships

Canada UK pin image


British Council, Farnham Maltings, and the High Commission of Canada in the UK are delighted to announce £62,300 of investment in nine new creative partnerships between UK and Canadian performing arts companies. This is the inaugural investment from the New Conversations programme, funded and delivered by the three partners.

Initially a two-year pilot, New Conversations aims to increase cultural exchanges between the UK and Canada, allowing for more artist mobility and international opportunities, with a goal of initiating long term partnerships that benefit both the UK and Canadian arts sectors.

Gavin Stride, Director of the Maltings, said: “We received more than 100 applications for this unique program and narrowing them down was a true challenge. Those selected demonstrate clear objectives and a curiosity to explore new ideas and ways of working. The hope is that this initial support will lead to long term partnerships. Our involvement in this programme is made possible through support and investment of Arts Council of England”


Bucket Club (UK) and Ghost River (Canada)

Is theatre dead? A provocation will explore, reframe and rediscover what theatre is – and what it can be – through week-long residencies in the company’s home towns of Calgary and Brighton.

Wild Works (UK) and The Only Animal (Canada)

Conversations will see each company participate creatively in the others’ R&D process in order to explore the potential for a new, outdoor, site specific co-production.

Flintlock Theatre (UK) and Gwaai Edenshaw (Canada)

Sovereign Nation will explore the potency of “empire” and how we relate to our shared past, and will lay the groundwork for a new international touring production.

The Marlborough Theatre (UK) and Buddies in Bad Times (Canada)

A Queer Conversation aims to produce an empowering exchange between the two organisations that paves the way for the LGBTQ+ artists to be able to tour more easily between Canada and the UK.

Forest Fringe (UK) and The Chop (Canada)

Playing Fields will explore land, ownership, ecology and the complex, inextricable histories of the two countries using the game of soccer and will investigate the possibility of a new collaborative performance.

Rachel Warr (UK) and Théâtre de la Pire Espèce (Canada)

Working Models will combine creative exchange, skills sharing, and network building, with the aim of opening new doors and increasing the visibility of visual theatre in both countries.

Poetic Unity (UK) and R.I.S.E Edutainment (Canada)

Through performance opportunities, leadership knowledge-sharing and work with local artists, Poetic RISE aims to build a sustainable international network for spoken word artists.

Action Hero (UK) and Mia & Eric (Canada)

Development of Collaboration is a residency that will initiate an experimental process designed to incubate a new, shared way of working and a long-term collaborative relationship.

Lyth Arts Centre (UK) and Pat the Dog Theatre Creation (Canada)

Women’s Room: North aims to create a template for supporting the development of female artists based in rural locations through exchange visits, new commissions and discussions.


The second round of New Conversations will be announced in March 2019.


Full Press Release in English / en Français.