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The Time is Now – Artist Commission

The Time is Now promotional poster

We’re calling out to artists with an exciting commissioning opportunity to help connect communities through the power of the arts.

On 17 March, Exeter Northcott Theatre, along with many theatres across the country, closed its doors to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we’re not currently able to offer our usual programme of live performances and participation opportunities, we’ve been exploring other ways that we can help the communities we serve to engage in creative activity.

As part of this, we’ve decided to offer South West-based artists the chance apply for one of five £1000 commissions to create a piece of work that can be presented in a format that people can enjoy remotely. This call goes out to artists working in any art form, with the only requirement being that proposed projects should look to tackle current challenges such as: supporting the most vulnerable in our communities; parents who have to home school their children; the importance of keeping socially connected; advocating for the arts as an essential part of society; and celebrating key workers.

Daniel Buckroyd, Artistic Director of Exeter Northcott Theatre, says:

‘We recognise just how important the Northcott is as a space for people to come together and share creative and cultural experiences here in Devon. With our doors temporarily closed by this crisis, we’ve decided to support local artists, to reach out to local communities and to explore new ways of bringing people together.’

To allow us to promote and share this work as widely as possible, projects will need to be either entirely digital or have elements which are digital. Selected artists will be supported remotely by our team to deliver the technical, marketing, participatory and audience engagement elements of their project.

Things you must consider:

  • Accessibility
  • Diversity

Things you might consider:

  • Protecting the most vulnerable in our communities
  • Supporting parents to home school their children
  • Keeping socially connected
  • Advocating for the arts as an essential part of society
  • Celebrating key workers


The time is now! We’re hoping that you’ll have ideas that mean you can be engaging with people as soon as possible, and we’re here to help you do that. But we know that the very best ideas can sometimes take a bit longer to realise, so we want you tell us what you want to make and how long you think that’ll take, and we’ll be here to support the commissioned artists to find ways to connect with our audiences throughout their projects.

What next?

Send us your pitch! This could be a written application, a video or a combination of both. Aim to cover the following points, so that we understand:

  • Your idea
  • Your audience/s
  • How you will make it happen
  • Who will be involved (artists and participants)
  • How it will be inclusive and diverse
  • How it will be shared and reach people
  • When it will happen

Proposals should be no longer than one side of A4 and/or 5 mins of video and should be sent to [email protected] to arrive no later than 17 April at 12 noon.

We will announce commissioned artists on Mon 27th April.

Please feel free to get in touch for a chat about your ideas ahead of submission – contact Helen Bovey on [email protected].

These commissions are offered as part of our Exeter Northcott Futures programme, through which we will also continue to support our three Associates (Richard Chappell, Jack Dean, and Viv Gordon) through this crisis and work with our 2020 cohort of Early Career Artists and Producers.

Exeter Northcott Futures – funded by the Noel Coward Foundation, the Mackintosh Foundation and Idlewild Trust – offers professional development for artists at the start of their careers, support for regionally-based companies at a critical moment in their development and a launch pad for the next generation of producers.

These commissions were inspired by a Corn Exchange Newbury initiative. 

Kindly supported by the Noel Coward Foundation.

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