Pleasance launch Development Fund for Artists of Colour for Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020, Pleasance have launched a platform to specifically support Artists of Colour, building upon their firm foundations to continue unique and game-changing support to artists across the UK. 

The Charlie Hartill – Development Fund for Artists of Colour is a new scheme which will provide financing, mentorship and programming opportunities to support UK-based Artists of Colour in bringing their work to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Pleasance has made £10,000 available, with productions receiving investment of up to £5,000, to support exciting projects that would otherwise not be able to come to the Fringe. This new opportunity is made possible by the support of the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve. 

Pleasance are working with VAULT Festival, HighTide and Stories in Theatre Productions – each of whom have experience producing at the Fringe and developing work by diverse artists – as supporting partners and with other partners to be announced. 

This new Development Fund is the result of consultation with a wide cross-section of independent artists, companies and organisations with experience of presenting work at the Fringe, and is a response to specific barriers facing Artists of Colour when presenting work in Festival contexts. Pleasance hope that this funding will act as a catalyst and jumping off point for wider activity to discuss how to make the Fringe a Safe Space for Artists of Colour. 

Anthony Alderson, Director of Pleasance, comments, I’m so pleased that we are launching this exciting initiative which enables us to champion new works from Artists of Colour. We are partnering with a range of esteemed organisations so that this new fund has the widest reach possible and that we offer the very best support. I really hope this paves the way for ensuring the Fringe is an even more open community and making sure important voices are heard. 

Stories in Theatre Productions comments, UK theatre has seen some movement towards more diversity, but Edinburgh Festival Fringe remains the exception. Diversity at the Fringe is the standing agenda item, but never the action. This scheme is a small step towards addressing that. 

Suba Das, Artistic Director of HighTide, adds, We’re delighted to support Pleasance in this new initiative. Ensuring that what is widely regarded as the UK theatre community’s largest marketplace is accessible to artists of all backgrounds, and fully reflects the stories, innovation and talent within our sector, is of huge importance to all of us – it simply makes for a better Fringe. We’re looking forward to getting to know the selected artists over the months ahead. 

To be eligible for the Development Fund for Artists of Colour: 

  • Must be based in the United Kingdom. 
  • At least 50% of the lead creators (which could include the Writer, Director, Producer or makers/devising ensemble) must identify as Artists of Colour. 
  • At least 50% of the cast must identify as Artists of Colour. 
  • Propose a Theatre or Children’s production that will be ready to be presented at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020. The show does not need to be a world premiere, but it must be an Edinburgh Fringe premiere. 
  • Pleasance are encouraging ambitious work, including but not limited to: large cast or ensemble-based work, work playing with form, work that would otherwise not be able to be presented at the Fringe. 
  • Pleasance also want to encourage artists to tell the stories they want to tell – exciting, political, surreal, comedic or hopeful. There are no limitations. 
  • Be able to attend the Selection Interviews at Pleasance Islington on Monday 2nd March 2020 (either in person or via Skype) 

The Selection Day will consist of a relaxed discussion with representatives from Pleasance Theatre, Supporting Partners, and Independent Artists of Colour with specific experience of the Fringe. 

To apply visit and complete the short application form by 9am on Thursday 27th February 2020. 

For over 15 years the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve has enabled artists to hone their talents and focus on their creativity by offering vital support in the form of cash investment and mentorship. The fund was established in 2004 in memory of Charlie Hartill and previously consisted of two strands – the Theatre Reserve and Comedy Reserve. 

2020 will also see Pleasance continue their Associates Programme to help companies and artists with a track record of presenting excellent and innovative work at the Festival take the next steps in their careers, the National Partnerships where Pleasance will work with four partner theatres across the UK (Manchester HOME, Leicester Curve, York Theatre Royal and Bristol Old Vic), The LET & Greenwich Partnership Award offering an opportunity to an emerging theatre company and the COMMON Award which supports working-class artists or companies in their early or mid-career stages. Plus, the Pleasance’s Pick of VAULT Festival gives a company in the 2020 VAULT programme the opportunity to transfer their show to Pleasance for Edinburgh 2020. There’s also Young Pleasance which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary and XYP, an initiative designed to offer emerging theatre makers, previously participants of Young Pleasance, the opportunity to develop a company. Finally, The Popcorn Writing Award from Popcorn Group celebrates writing excellence and fearless work which challenges the status quo through innovative and thought-provoking theatre. 

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

Start typing and press Enter to search