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

Vital Spark is an ambitious four-year programme which harnesses the talent of a diverse range of artists in order to realise a vision of a sector that is relevant to and representative of all children.

Through an artist development programme, commissioning opportunities and the production of new work, Vital Spark will put artists and children at the centre to better understand what artists need to thrive in the sector and what children want to see in it.

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.

Vital Spark aims to address the lack of diversity in the children's sector and takes an intersectional approach to what diversity means. Therefore Vital Spark supports and presents work by artists who identify as one or more of the following, African diaspora people, South, East or South East Asian people, or ethnically diverse and/or D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent 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 - The term Deaf covers a wide range of people with differing hearing and information communication needs. In deaf culture, there are two separate spellings of the word "deaf."

  • Deaf - with a capital "D" is used to refer to people who identify as culturally Deaf. These people actively use British Sign Language, they see themselves as being culturally Deaf and part of the Deaf Community
  • deaf with a little "d" is used to refer to people who are partially deaf but choose not to or don't feel able to function within the Deaf Community.

Disabled - As an organisation that's places the Social Model of Disability at the centre of our approach we understand that being 'Disabled' is caused by the barriers that arise due to the way our society is organised, such as physical and/or attitudinal barriers, rather than by a person's impairment or medical condition.

Neurodivergent - Sometimes abbreviated as ND, refers to a person who's neurological development and state are atypical from what our society classes as "normal." The term was coined in the Neurodivergent community as an opposite for "neurotypical".

Supported by

Logo: the Foyle Foundation