Festival Oldham Outdoor Arts Commissions

Do you have an exceptional idea for an original outdoor theatre or musical performance or installation? If so, this commissioning opportunity may be for you!

Festival Oldham is an annual FREE outdoor arts and street theatre festival in Oldham town centre. It has been showcasing outstanding local, national and international street art, music, theatre, dance, circus, storytelling and spoken word performances since 1997, with a packed programme of shows and installations for all ages.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Oldham Theatre Workshop, Oldham Council – Creativity and Culture team and SpareParts have teamed up to produce Festival Oldham Commissions to offer these exciting opportunities to artists and creatives who want to create new and exciting work for outdoor spaces.

The commissions offer investment, support, and a performance opportunity at Festival Oldham. We want to offer a platform for five artists / companies to create family friendly work for and about the world as we live in it today or in response to our 2021 theme: Heroes. Selected artists will be partnered with either Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Oldham Theatre Workshop or Oldham Council, who will support them through to a performance or installation at Festival Oldham on Saturday 24 July.

The Festival Oldham Commissions Programme has been developed following advice from sector partners and artists as to what would be the most helpful to the creative sector as we follow the Roadmap to Recovery. The application process is designed to be light-touch and swift.  We hope that this approach will provide some work for artists, provide remuneration for that work, and be the first step in this continued approach to commission outdoor work of this type for future outdoor events in the town.

Commission:  Each commission will receive up to £2,000 in support of their project.

Deadline: Tuesday 1 June 2021, 9am

What we are offering

There are five commissions available, which include:

  • £2,000 cash investment.
  • Marketing, production and technical support in kind from Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Oldham Theatre Workshop, Oldham Council and SpareParts.
  • Space to rehearse or develop the project.
  • An outdoor platform to share new work as part of Oldham Festival on Saturday 24 July. The work must be able to be performed within a high street setting.

What we are looking for:

  • To commission a company / artist with an interest and understanding of working outdoors.
  • Present the piece as part of Festival in Oldham town centre on Saturday 24 July.
  • We are looking for work that entertains and engages a diverse audience – something which might appeal (and be suitable) to both adults and families.
  • We are looking for work that is self-sufficient (i.e. not requiring large amounts of technical support).
  • We are open to applications for work from all disciplines and genres, including walkabout, circus, digital, street theatre and dance.
  • The final piece must be no more than 30 minutes in length and can be static or promenade.
  • This fund is for artist based in Greater Manchester over the age of 16.
  • The £2,000 cash investment is to cover artists’ time, resources for the project and fees for any partners the artist brings into the project.

How it works

You can apply by either filling in the short application form or recording a 2-3 minute video or voice note telling us about you and proposed project. Email your application to programming@coliseum.org.uk by Tuesday 1 June 2021

We want you to tell us about:

  • You and your experience
  • The work you want to make under this commission
  • Why you would like to make this work and why it is particularly relevant now
  • Outline the support you would need
  • If you are submitting a video or voice recording, please include your name and postcode at the start of the video.

Download the application form

Download this call out as a Word document

From the five selected proposals, two commissions will be awarded to artists/companies aged 16-21 and three awarded to artists/companies aged over 21.

Applicants will be informed on the outcome of their submission by 4 June 2021, 6pm.

Successful applicants will receive payment of the full commission on signature of contract and be assigned a partner of either Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Oldham Theatre Workshop or Oldham Council. For artists aged between 16 and 21, the budget may be held and managed from within the host organisation and extra financial support will be given. We will arrange support meetings for the artists and their partner organisation throughout the project.

If you have any questions about the commissions, please contact Jamie Walsh, Programme Coordinator on jamiewalsh@coliseum.org.uk

If you are a young person under 21 and need some support in developing your idea for this form, you can contact LED@coliseum.org.uk for an impartial chat with a member of the Coliseum’s Learning team.

Join The Newsletter