About the venues:

The Albany is a performing arts centre with a history stretching back to the nineteenth century. Over the last few years, it has emerged as a new type of arts venue, very much driven by the cultural diversity and creative mix of South East London. Involving people, through participation and partnerships, is central to our work and is essential to the delivery of our vision.

The Albany has re-established itself as a significant London arts venue, building on our reputation as a home and seeding ground for creative development in the performing arts. Our programme encompasses a range of music, theatre and spoken word, as well as an array of participatory projects. The Albany also manages and programmes Canada Water Theatre, an intimate 150 seat theatre inside Canada Water Library, run in partnership with Southwark Council.

The Albany has a year-round focus on family audiences for children of all ages, with an annual audience of over 15,000. We present regular Family Sundays focused on theatre for under 7s, holiday activities and a four-week run at Christmas, as well as work at our sister venues Deptford Lounge and Canada Water Theatre.

ARC Stockton is also a performing arts centre, which aims to use arts and cultural activity to support our local community. We work locally, in Stockton and the Tees Valley, and nationally, through our leadership of networks and partnerships. We have events and activities going on all year round including live performances, film screenings, workshops and classes. We are particularly keen that people who might feel that the arts isn’t for them are able to take part.

ARC’s artistic policy is to present work that is contemporary and relevant. By that, we mean we want to show work that helps us understand and enjoy the world as it is today. We want to look forward, to excite our audiences about the future.

ARC’s family programme is mainly focused on work for under 7s, although they present some work for 8 – 12 year olds. As well as an extended run for ages 3+ at Christmas, they present theatre, dance and puppetry performances on Saturdays approximately once a month.

What are we looking for?

  • To commission artists or companies that have experience of making work for this age group (3 – 7 year olds) or can evidence a commitment to collaborating with others who have
  • Shows that will appeal to both nursery/primary school audiences and family audiences
  • Book adaptations, shows that draw on familiar titles or new stories that respond to seasonal themes, with a contemporary bias
  • A company that considers our local demographic at both venues in the making and content of the work
  • A show that is accessible to as many people as possible
  • A show that responds to our performance spaces (see below).

We welcome applications from companies who reflect the diversity of 21st century Britain.

Commission arrangements

Each commission package includes the following:

  • Up to £44,000 in cash towards the cost of making and presenting the show
  • Up to four weeks free rehearsal space
  • Space and technical support for production week, in both 2021 and 2022
  • Marketing support

In return the company will be expected to:

  • Make and present a new show, in one venue in 2021 and the other in 2022
  • Deliver up to 50 performances in Dec 2021 and again in Dec 2022

Performance schedules for both venues usually include schools performances from the first week of December, running through to either Christmas Eve (ARC Stockton) or the end of December (the Albany).

Financial arrangements

To support the selected company’s cashflow, the commissioning fee would be split as follows:

  • £20,000 in advance, during the making period of the show
  • £10,000 in instalments around the presentation of the show in Year 1
  • £10,000 in instalments around the presentation of the show in Year 2

The venues retain 100% of the box office income. We expect that the selected companies would bring some of their own resource to the project, and/or that the commissioning fee would be used as match funding to lever additional financial resource from other sources.

An appropriate royalty for the future life of the show will be agreed with the selected companies.


  • Deadline for proposals 10am, Mon 9 Mar 2020
  • Shortlisted candidates will be informed by Wed 18 Mar 2020
  • Interviews on Wed 1 April 2020 (at the Albany)
  • Confirmation of selection by 30 April 2020
  • Contracts and confirmed funding in place by 31 December 2020

Technical arrangements

The Albany’s Christmas show will be presented either in the Albany Theatre or Canada Water Theatre – details for both spaces here.

ARC’s Christmas show takes place in The Point, a space primarily designed for music and comedy – tech spec here.

How to apply

Please submit the following information:

  • Appropriate contact details (if you are applying as a collective/company of artists please specify a main contact person)
  • A biography detailing who you are, your background, professional experience and description of the creative team (no longer than 2 x A4 pages or 3mins in using audio/video)
  • An artistic description contextualising the show you will develop for this commission (no longer than 2 x A4 pages or 3mins in using audio/video)
  • An indication of your approach to marketing and audience development, including how you would make your work accessible to as many people as possible
  • Clips or links to examples of your previous work
  • An outline production budget, including performances of the show at the Albany and ARC, showing income and expenditure.

We anticipate that the commission and in kind support may be used as seed funding for further grant support for the development of the work. If you are including unconfirmed funding in your budget, please provide details of your past fundraising record.

Proposals should be no more than 4 sides of A4 and emailed to: artist.development@arconline.co.uk by 10am, Mon 9 Mar 2020

If you need to submit your application in an alternative accessible format, please contact us in advance so that we know to expect it.