Making & Believing call out for perfomers

22 July 2021
Photo Credit: Summer Dean

Take Art, Surrey Arts and Derby Theatre are looking for submissions from theatre makers to take part in an exciting project that will create opportunities for young children to experience high quality performances in Early Years (EY) settings, such as pre-schools, nurseries, Foundation Stage in schools, Children’s Centres and theatres.  

We are interested in hearing from artists who have a sensitivity towards the needs of children particularly focusing on 2-4 years old, who have an understanding of how very young audiences can engage with performance. We are keen to seek out work that really speaks to young children and sparks their curiosity.  

We welcome performance that uses single or multiple artforms including dance, music, drama visual arts and digital media that is designed for or adaptable to small scale touring.  

We welcome applications for adaptable work that is sensitive to the challenges and opportunities of being performed in non-traditional performance spaces. Work will need to be presented in a range of contexts ranging across urban, rural, and within educational settings for audiences of around 30 children.    

We are interested in hearing from artists and companies who:

  • Are UK based
  • Have a track record of making and presenting work in a range of contexts
  • Are passionate about children’s creativity
  • Who are seeing to engage with inspiring artists across disciplines
  • Have an interest in working collaboratively with the partners to develop and learn from the experience of making and performing  an EY performance piece. 

We are especially keen to hear from voices currently underrepresented in the young audiences sector.  

There is a modest budget for developing/and or adapting an existing show as opposed to a full commission for a new show.  

The call out is for work that will  be ready to tour in either the Spring or Summer of  2022 in three M&B regions. We will have a circuit of EY settings who are committed to hosting 2 performances per day as well as theatre venues  

In addition we can offer

  • A fee of £2000 plus financial support for participants attending the creative Lab
  • Touring schedule and support in settings and venues in Surrey, Somerset and Derby approx. 8-10 date tour (upto £1000 a day including all expenses, accommodation, travel and VAT)
  • Marketing and documentation support and guidance
  • Support to participate in an active learning community through seminars and the creative lab
  • Support in applying for further funding if necessary
  • Opportunity to connect with participatory work that is happening in settings for further R&D   

The Lab provides opportunities to develop and test ideas for EY shows in December 2021 where artists, EY practitioners and sector professionals will meet to explore technique, pedagogy, ideas and thinking in EY creativity.  

If you are interested in these opportunities please read all the guidelines fully, including the Background Information and FAQs and complete the application form below.


We are looking for existing EY shows that you think could be made ready to tour to EY settings with some adaptations and are available to tour through the spring and summer 2022.  

If selected:  

You will attend the Practical creative Lab (venue to be confirmed)  

The Lab is a residential opportunity for selected artists to meet people from all aspects of the EY touring ecology and investigate how we can make brilliant performances work well in EY settings. You will learn about how EY settings operate, think about how to adapt your work within the constraints of touring into multi-purpose spaces and how to make shows that appeal to wider EY communities including parents and carers.  

Attendance at the Lab is compulsory for one company member and they will receive a £300 fee (plus travel, catering and accommodation) for taking part. 

Following the Lab, you will have access to a bursary of up to £2,000 to help you make adaptations to your show to make it more appropriate for the practical challenges of touring into EY settings. We will talk to you about whether this is required for your show.

We expect that each show will be booked for 8 to 10 performance days each (2 performances per day) in settings or theatres. Guaranteed touring fees are subsidised through this scheme and will be negotiated on a case–by-case basis. Fees will be inclusive of VAT and also includes any wraparound /stay and play activity.    

How to apply

To apply, Please complete the Making and Believing application form and email it to by 10am Friday 27th August.    

The selection process

Applications will be shortlisted by our panel made up by representatives from Take Art, Surrey Arts and Derby Theatre. Shortlisted artists will be informed of their invitation to interview by Monday 6th September 2021.  

Interviews will be held W/C 13th September    

If you have any questions email or call 01460 249450

Making & Believing Performer Application Information

Making & Believing is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation  it is led by Take Art and delivered in partnership with Surrey Arts and Derby Theatre.

Partner Organisations

The organisations partnering to deliver Making & Believing are:

Take Art

Take Art is a pioneering arts charity based in Somerset and has a dedicated EY Service. It has a commitment to both supporting the development and promotion of high-quality arts practice, working with artists and companies locally, nationally and internationally. It also aims to enable Somerset residents to experience and participate in high quality arts activities. Several major EY arts projects have been undertaken by the Service, especially having led on the KinderGardens Festival since 2008 working with partners in the NRTF.  In 2013, it co-commissioned a tour, with European funding, by a Rennes based company Cie:Ubi to EY audiences in Children’s Centres, Village Halls, pre-school settings and theatres. In 2017 Take Art was a lead partner in Hopper, a commissioned Early Years Performance Programme. It is currently a partner in Little Big Dance led by South East Dance.   

Surrey Arts

Surrey Arts: is the Surrey County Council Arts Service and leads on the Surrey Music Hub. The Arts Development Team works to enable access to the arts for all members of the community through partnerships, projects and development work. It is a member of Arts Partnership Surrey, a partnership of eight local authorities who develop projects for the local community. Through a project aimed at developing the cultural offer for 0-7 year olds in the county it has developed a strong relationship with the EY and Childcare Service, a group of local artists experienced in EY practice, and a network of EY settings who have benefitted from creative projects and practice. They are the basis of the ‘touring network’ in Surrey for this project.  

Derby Theatre

Derby Theatre is part of the University of Derby and already has a relationship with EY specialists in the Institute of Education and the Sociology Department. They have experience delivering in this sector both in terms of research and well as working in partnership with Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership, the Opportunity Area board and the city council.

Derby Theatre specialises in making work for under-fives and has established practice in the way that children’s stories, language and interests inform work. They have successfully commissioned high-quality makers to co-create resulting in critically-acclaimed work for under-fives. They have consistently received excellent feedback from children and their families who enjoy work that is physical, metaphorical and highly creative. Artistic director, Sarah Brigham, has an excellent reputation for both making and commissioning work for this age group and understands how to ensure that audiences are both engaged and curious.