Ferment is the artist development programme at Bristol Old Vic, through Ferment they collaborate with artists and companies to give bespoke support to wild & exciting ideas – and THEY trust that artists will lead the way.

Twice a year Bristol Old Vic run a festival of work-in-progress, the Ferment Fortnight, inviting artists and companies from the South West to share their work in development with a live audience and ask; where can we go from here? The planned July edition of the Ferment Fortnight is disrupted by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis & the temporary closure of the performance spaces.

They expect to seed commission 5 works-in-progress – they’re open to hearing about ideas that are exclusively live, and ideas that might be exclusively digital; they could be a hybrid of both.

They want to work with 5 artists or companies to develop & present 5 works-in-progress as part of a reimagined Summer Ferment Festival, which will take place across the week of the 17 Aug 2020.

Commission Details

  • Each artist or company will receive a cash contribution from Ferment of £3000 towards their research and development. The artists and companies will also collaborate on a production budget shared across the festival.
  • These ideas will be presented as part of a week-long celebration of work-in-progress across 17 – 22 August.
  • They would like to see ideas that focus on how we might use theatre to connect with audiences in this ‘new normal’; this is a new way of working for us, and we have the opportunity to completely reimagine the rules of performance.
  • They are looking for ideas that will need development and support, rather than the finished article. They’re not looking for you to have all the answers already, but just to convey an exciting idea.
  • Ideas could have a physical sharing output, or a digital one, or both. You may not even know which yet, and that’s fine. Do not feel a need to force digital outputs into your ideas, some ideas are exclusively live and in the room & we’d like to hear about those just as much.
  • When thinking about ‘connection’ – think big & small. Think doorsteps & telephones, social networks & letters, think songs and choreography, think costume and dress up, think big spaces and little ones, lots of people and just one person.
  • You don’t need to necessarily know exactly how to achieve your idea – they can and will help with how selected ideas might be realised and how you can develop it. Just concentrate on conveying the idea to us & sharing your inspiration.
  • They don’t know exactly what social restrictions might be in place in August, but it’s probably best to imagine that we could be in any of the phases the Government has set out here. Think about how your idea might be deliverable across a number of different phases – how does it expand if we have more restrictions, and how does it adapt if we have less.
  • They’re keeping the application process short, and will be working in tandem with artists at every step of selection.
  • This commission is open to artists based in or from the South West.

Got questions?

They recognise people might have questions or want to know more about this opportunity before applying, so they will have 2 open zoom sessions which you can drop into to chat with Ben Atterbury, Ferment Producer & ask about the process.

  • 10.30am, Thursday 25th June
  • 3pm, Tuesday 30th June


Closing date: 5pm, Wed 8 July

Published on:
19 Jun 2020


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