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Commission Call Out: Eclipse and Slate

Created by Black artists for Black artists.

Talented. Provocative. Innovating. Entertaining. Brave. Based in the North* and Black**.

Slate is a three-year movement supporting Black artists in the North to work on a local, national and international level. Born from a consultancy with Black artists across the region and led by Eclipse, this programme is designed to help you build a stronger, more visible practice locally, nationally and internationally.

If you’re an artist working in any form or medium, currently based in the North of England, and you have an idea or a project you’re ready to get off the ground – this is for you.

There are four commissions available in this first round of commissioning:

- Research and Develop: two commissions available to support artists to research, develop and work through new concepts or ideas - £4,000.

- Make: two commissions available to support artists ready to get their project up and running: one of the commissions is aimed at artists interested in making work for younger audiences (13 – 25 Year olds) - £8,000.

If now isn’t the right time, don’t worry. There are two more rounds of commissioning in 2018 and 2019.

The Provocation: The Emancipated Artist

Slate would like to hear your visions for the future. It believes that the arts have the capacity to lead the radical political and cultural change our society is crying out for.

Slate thinks that making work as Black artists is inherently political.

It will commission four new works by Black artists which confront the system, not just taking power back from those who use it to oppress and abuse, but also to rethink what power is and how it operates.

The Brief

When you imagine the future of your practice, what do you really want to make?

Slate wants your most ambitious ideas. Not bound by a space, a deadline or a model of making that limits the possibilities. These groundbreaking ideas will experiment with everything from philosophy to form, to challenge, inspire, empower and ultimately leave the old structure in ruins.

The works it will commission will be fearless and fragile. Slate wants ideas that will blow people's minds and make us look at the world through a different lens.

Be honest, international, experimental and audacious.


As well as a financial contribution, Slate will offer a bespoke programme of support for each proposal that is commissioned. This can include:

- Space – with one or more of our Consortium Partners.

- Expertise – introductions to potential collaborators, mentors and advisers.

- Planning – with one of our six Enablers, who will support the process for getting your work and your practice to the next level.

- Partnership – with one or more of our commissioning partners: ARC Stockton, York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre, Unity Theatre and HOME. You can see more about our partners below.

- Press, marketing and PR consultancy.

- Hands on help – if you haven’t done this before, that’s okay. We want to help you.

Please note that Slate commissions are viable as match funding to Arts Council England Grants for the Arts.

How to apply – What we need from you

Submit your proposal to enabler@eclipsetheatre.org.uk by 20 October 2017, 5pm.

A two page document outlining:

- Your project proposal: responding to the brief. Let Slate know what artform you will be working in, the scale and scope of the work, your ideal process and what you would need to make it happen.

- Brief background information including who you are, recent and current work, and a description of the nature of your artistic / working practice.

- An outline of why you need to do this now, and what impact it will have on your practice as an artist.

- Clearly outline which commission you are applying for, as well as your ideal timeline for completing and if you would prefer to apply to work with a specific commissioning partner.

- Please also complete an Equal Opportunities Form (separate to the two pages above).

You can also provide:

- Up to five images of your previous work in JPEG format that help to illustrate your idea

- Up to three weblinks

Applications can be submitted in written, verbal or visual formats. For any recorded / filmed applications the maximum length can be five minutes.

If you have any questions or access requirements please contact enabler@eclipsetheatre.org.uk.

Deadline: 20 October, 5pm. The team will let you know if your proposal has been shortlisted by 3 November.

If you are successful, Slate will arrange a meeting with your commissioning partners to discuss the best way to support the project. More information on each commissioning partner can be found below.


These commissions are delivered in partnership with HOME (Manchester), ARC Stockton (Stockton-on-Tees), York Theatre Royal (York), Pilot Theatre (York) and Unity Theatre (Liverpool). 

The co-commissions will be:

Research and Develop

1. Co-commissioned by Slate & ARC
2. Co-commissioned by Slate, Unity Theatre & ARC


1. Co-commissioned by Slate and HOME.
2. Co-commissioned by Slate, York Theatre Royal & Pilot Theatre

Eclipse is a beacon for Black artists outside of London, from its home in Sheffield. Eclipse uses the Black British experience to create new work that enriches the stories told in our mainstream media across theatre, film and radio. Through its NPO status Eclipse delivers national middle-scale tours, and are at the vanguard of diverse programming across the country. In addition to Slate, it delivers Revolution Mix: spearheading the largest ever national delivery of Black British stories in regional theatres, on screen, and on radio.

HOME works with international and UK artists to produce extraordinary experiences, creating an exciting mix of thought-provoking drama, dance, film and contemporary visual art. Its ambition is to push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, to have fun and take risks. HOME wants to explore what it means to be human today, and to share great new art with the widest possible audience.

York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre have built a long established partnership developing community productions and work for younger audiences.

With a 750 seater Main House and 100 seater Studio, York Theatre Royal is one of the oldest producing houses in the country. It is known, nationally and internationally, for a pioneering approach to involving its artistic community, young and old, at the heart of what it does. This has included: Blood and Chocolate, In Fog and Falling Snow and Everything is Possible: The York Suffragettes.

Pilot is an international touring company committed to creating high quality work for younger audiences, and will be many people’s very first encounter with this form. It also makes work outside of traditional theatre buildings, where its projects pursue a relationship with its audience that is often playful, interactive and participatory. Pilot is always curious about its ongoing and changing relationship with technology, and often explore this theme. Across all its projects it seeks to create a cultural space where young adults can encounter, express and interrogate big ideas, powerfully relevant to our lives right now.

ARC presents work that is contemporary and relevant. It wants to show work that helps us understand and enjoy the world as it is today. ARC wants to look forward, to excite you about the future. Often it brings work to ARC that challenges perceptions of what performance might usually look like, that offers audiences a different kind of experience to more traditional forms of theatre.

Unity Theatre is Liverpool’s small scale theatre with big ambitions. Its programme of presented, produced and co-commissioned work is edgy, radical and unashamedly contemporary while its talent development programmes have aided the establishment of many of the UK’s top touring companies – recent successes include its co-production with Riksteatern for Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone in Liverpool, 30-date national tour of Sweden, Young Vic London’s West End and Edinburgh Fringe.

* North of England (North West, Yorkshire and Humberside, North East).

** ‘Black’ includes African, Caribbean, East Asian, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Latin American.

Slate is led by Eclipse Theatre Company. The Consortium is Live Theatre, ARCHull Truck, York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre,Forced Entertainment, East Street Arts, Bradford City Council,HOME, Unity Theatre and Oxford Playhouse.

Apply online.

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