Opportunity: Artist Development Programme in Edinburgh

| by Harriet Guest

Tags: Arts and disability Cultural diversity Dance Edinburgh Showcase Theatre Opportunity

Want to take work to the Edinburgh Fringe in the future? We're offering UK artists a chance to experience the Edinburgh Festivals, build international links and develop their careers

JLJ 4622Dance artist Laura Dajao at the Artist Development Programme, Edinburgh 2017. Photo: Jonathan LittleJohn

We're looking for artists based in the UK who identify as minority ethnic and/or disabled to apply to our Artist Development Programme. The programme takes place alongside the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August. It helps artists who want to take work to Edinburgh gain vital experience of the festival. See below for details of how to apply.

Successful artists will travel to Edinburgh with a ticket budget that allows them to see a wide breadth of work, attend events and expand their professional networks. They gain special access to the Edinburgh Showcase – our platform of UK performance for an audience of international promoters. This opportunity is therefore especially relevant to those who want to develop international contacts.

"Edinburgh during the festival season can be a daunting opportunity and a big financial risk", says Steven Brett our Theatre and Dance Programme Manager who works with the EU and the Americas. "It's hard to gain practical knowledge about the pros and cons of taking work to Edinburgh. That's why this programme helps artists to explore the festival, and talk to Edinburgh Fringe veterans before deciding when and if it's right to take a show to the Fringe.

"Ongoing conversations with disabled and minority ethnic artists continue to indicate that people assume the Edinburgh Fringe isn't for them. Although there has been some positive change, these groups are still underrepresented at the festival. We hope that continuing our Artist Development Programme helps to change this, and many of our programme alumni have since found success in Edinburgh."

Alumni of the Artists Development Programme include Selina Thompson, whose award-winning production .salt was subsequently selected for the Edinburgh Showcase 2017 programme and found touring success in Brazil, Australia, Canada and the US. Dance artist Seeta Patel, who took part in 2015, is taking her show Not Today's Yesterday to the Edinburgh Fringe as part of our Edinburgh Showcase 2019.

 “It was so insightful and inspirational" says Patel "to see the work of other artists and hear the thinking behind some of the decisions that affect programming."

Movement artist, choreographer and director Sara Dos Santos, who took part in the 2017 programme says "The Artist Development Programme is a one of a kind opportunity that enabled me to immerse myself fully into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival experience. It offered the chance to meet national and international delegates, converse with future change markers and absorb a variety of performances that unquestionably informed my practice."

"It was so insightful and inspirational"


At a glance:


Who is eligible to apply for the Artist Development Programme?

UK-based artists who identify as disabled and/or minority ethnic and who don’t regularly work overseas. We’re looking for contemporary makers in any area of theatre or dance, particularly those who haven’t already engaged with Edinburgh as a platform for sharing their work. 

When are where does it take place?

20–22 August 2019 in Edinburgh

What does the programme include?

  • Seeing shows, to learn what works and what doesn't work in Edinburgh
  • Meeting independent artists who have had successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe
  • Attending Edinburgh Fringe professional development sessions
  • Meeting international programmers at the Edinburgh Showcase to hear how they work and what they look for
  • Meeting UK producers on the Emerging Producers Development Programme

What will I get out of the programme?

  • An insight into how international markets operate
  • Better understanding of the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh Showcase and how they operate as marketplaces
  • Awareness of how to access opportunities through the British Council
  • A network of peers and introductions to a range of performing arts industry contacts


Who assesses the applications?

A panel of experts from the performing arts industry, and a British Council theatre and dance specialist.


How do I apply?

Visit our online application form. If you would like the application form in a different format please contact us on: theatreanddance@britishcouncil.org 


When is the deadline?

Midnight (BST) on Monday 6 May 2019


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