Vital Spark- working together to shift the landscape of theatre and dance for children

Vital Spark is a four-year programme which aims to address the lacking diversity in the children's sector by working with a talented group of Black, Asian, ethnically diverse, D/deaf & Disabled artists through professional development, the commissioning and producing of new work.

Opportunities for artists include the following:

- Artist Development Programme: a nine-month programme aimed at developing artists individual practice when creating work for children and young people. Meet the 2020 Artists on the Vital Spark Blog

- Ideas Fund: seed commissioning of new, bold and exciting ideas for work for children and young people.

The programme is funded by Arts Council England and Foyle Foundation, and is supported by partner organisations across the country, including; Attenborough Arts Centre, Arts Depot, Ovalhouse, Travelling Light Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, and Z-arts.

You can follow the Vital Spark discussion on the blog where we share updates on the programme as well as artist news and updates.

Applications for 2019-20 now closed

Applications are now closed for the 2019-20 round of Development Programme and Ideas Fund. Both opportunities will re-open in Spring 2021.

To be kept up to date when applications re-open, and to find out about other events and opportunities in the meantime you can do any of the following:

  • Sign up to the Vital Spark newsletter: click here
  • Join the Vital Spark Artist Community group on Facebook: click here
  • Follow the Vital Spark blog: click here

Jargon Buster:

Across this site, we use a number of words and acronyms which we hope make life easier but in case they add confusion, here is some further information.

Following a call to action from the Belgrade Theatre Coventry and the Black Creative Network, The Spark has taken the decision to end the use of the terms "BAME" and "PoC" in its communications, both public-facing and internal.

We acknowledge that, in the short-term, these acronyms may still appear in some official and historic documents on this site and elsewhere.

BAME - Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. This was used to refer to members of non-white ethnic groups.

PoC - Person of Colour. This was an alternate term used to refer to members of non-white ethnic groups.

D/deaf - In deaf culture, there are two separate spellings of the word "deaf." We use deaf to describe or identify anyone who has a severe hearing problem. Sometimes it's used to refer to people who are severely hard of hearing too. Deaf with a capital D refers to people who have been deaf all their lives, or since before they started to learn to talk. They are pre-lingually deaf ( By using both capital and lower case 'd' we are referring to both groups of people.

Disabled - We are using the definition given by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which gives the meaning of disability as: 'a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on ones ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.' (

Supported by

Logo: the Foyle Foundation