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Development Programme

Vital Spark is a four-year programme which aims to shift the landscape of performance for children and young people. We will do so by questioning with the wider sector what stories we should be telling, how, and by whom, and using this conversation to respond and act in a positive and immediate way.

About the Development Programme

A yearly development programme inviting a diverse range of artists who identify as BAME, a person of colour and/or D/deaf or disabled to develop themselves and the sector by interrogating their practice and the environment within which it sits.

The programme will run over a nine-month period (November 2018 to July 2019) with some preparation of thinking taking place in October, and will feature collaborative work with young people, residential workshops, discussion, creative training, mentoring and networking.

We expect each artist's journey to be different and as such we will adapt our offering based on the needs of the individual. There is no expectation that work should be made in this time; the focus is on the individual's interests and development needs.


We will be working our way across England to deliver informal networking events in early September, and are interested in meeting artists who identify as BAME, a person of colour and/or D/deaf or disabled and their companies. These dates are:-

  • Manchester - Wednesday 5 September
  • London - Thursday 6 September
  • Leicester- Wednesday 12 September

Please click here for more information and to book.

Apply for 2018-19 cohort

Please download the Information Pack for more information about the programme and how to apply.

Deadline for applications is midday on Monday 24 September.

Applications can be by written, video or audio response to the questions and prompts in the Information Pack.

Large print and video versions of these documents are available below. Please contact Tara Lopez on or call 0116 261 6893 if you have any other access requirements.

Who is the Development Programme for?

  • Artists with experience of making professional performance (for any audiences)
  • Individuals working within a company or as an independent artist
  • Artists working in England and with an interest in supporting the children's performance sector in England
  • Artists that share our vision of a sector more representative of children today
  • Artists who identify as BAME, a person of colour and/or D/deaf or disabled
  • Artists that have an interest in making work for children and young people that they wish to explore further
  • Artists working in any form of performance (theatre, dance, performance poetry etc.)
  • Artists with experience or a genuine interest in working with children and young people
  • Artists who are interested in developing their own practice without limits or barriers

Not yet if… you are at the start of your career; are new to developing and performing work for live audiences, aren't ready to engage in critical practice.