Visiting Artists, Companies and Film Distributors
Programming submissions for all types of work should be sent to: [email protected]
Submissions will be reviewed periodically. We regret, due to the volume of submissions, we will not be able to reply to those submissions we do not wish to pursue.
For amateur and community groups looking to hire our facilities, please see details here.
We are not a little theatre. We like to make a big noise.
A programme of distinctive artistic adventure
As an independent arts venue with limited public funding, and the only one in our locality, we choose our programme very carefully. We want to provide ‘something for everyone’, but we’re not afraid to take our audience out of their comfort zone. Not every show needs to make a profit, but over the course of the year we budget for the live programme to make a contribution to The Theatre’s income.
We’re not afraid of entertainment: our community trust us to provide a good night out, but we feel that a curious, provocative, bold attitude should be at the core of an artistic organisation. We believe in the debate of ideas, including those with which some may disagree, but are also conscious that our choices determine who feels included and welcome at our venue. Across any given season, we aim to find the balance between what we know our audience will like, and what they don’t know they will like, yet.
Our programme of work centres on drama, music, comedy, talks and family work, as well as important but less frequent inclusion of dance, musicals, cabaret, circus, opera and other less definable events. We host a professional programme of cinema and screenings, with a partial focus on independent and international work. We regularly programme outdoor performances in the summer, as well as occasional site specific and digital only events. We work closely with a number of local partners including the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, and local amateur dramatic and school groups. We also curate and present an independent cinema programme and live screenings, and a busy programme of participatory workshops and classes. Finally, we present our own inhouse pantomime and a programme of inhouse theatre productions.
Diversity – reflecting the world in which we live
A decent proportion of the work on our stage should reflect the world in which we live - not just our little corner of it, but all that life in a twenty-first century globalised Britain entails. Conversely, we recognise that there is an unapologetic place for work that is neither provocative, relevant or political!
Here is The Theatre’s Statement on Inclusion:
We are proud to be a part of an industry and a tradition that has always celebrated difference. Our theatre and the work we make will strive to actively include the widest possible range of people, especially people who have not always been made welcome elsewhere.
Our work will seek to include, reflect and engage with a range of experiences from all corners of the world and every walk of life, including those less fully represented within our local community.
We will err towards hearing rather than silencing viewpoints, even when different from our own, looking to provide context and complimentary ways of thinking where feasible. We will not knowingly promote views or work that seeks to offend, divide or further marginalise groups of people, but we recognise that one person’s honestly held and compassionately considered viewpoint may be found offensive by another.
We believe in the power of art and culture to change how people view the world, themselves and their own community. The Theatre aims to entertain, inspire and, on occasion, provoke those who engage with our work, and will empower our audience to choose the right experiences for them with honest, clear publicity materials. We understand that not everything is right for everyone, and recognise that there are many different ways of looking at the world, even amongst our own staff.
We want our Theatre to feel like home.
What does this mean in terms of our programming choices?
We will make active programming choices to ensure the work on our stages tells stories influenced by the diversity of our world in terms of gender, sex, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, social class, religious or political beliefs and age. We will also aim to ensure that where work engages with diverse experiences, characters and artists, this is visibly and confidently reflected in the marketing, enabling audience members to find experiences that speak to them.
We believe our lives, and those of our neighbours, are enriched by engaging with a range of ideas, cultures and artistic experiences. We feel confident in programming some work that may be perceived as ‘political.’ We may, on occasion, programme work that some audience members disagree with, or find offensive. We may even programme work, artists or speakers that we, as an organisation, are not fully in agreement with, or who express opinions that we do not share. In these instances, we will ensure that our programme is clearly and honestly marketed, allowing customers to make informed choices. We may also actively seek to include work in our programme that provides a balancing counterpoint.
We will not programme work if we feel that it, or the artists involved in it, promote discriminatory or non-inclusive principles. We will not knowingly promote views or work that seeks actively to offend, divide or further marginalise groups of people. We may choose not to programme work if its presence in our programme might lead a group or groups of people to feel unwelcome and excluded from The Theatre in future.
Finally, in order to programme an event we must also feel confident that we can attract a workable audience – there is no value in being challenging and provocative to an empty house!
Our programme of visiting live work and cinema is curated by an inhouse Programmer, who will make choices to fulfil the overall artistic vision set by the Artistic Director and the Theatre’s budgetary requirements, set by the General Manager. The Programmer is the person who will review all programming submissions, and, should we wish to pursue a possible booking, will likely be the person with whom a visiting artist or company will negotiate a deal and a date to visit.
Our choice of inhouse productions is made by the Artistic Director, with the support of any Producers working with us at the time. The curation of our programme of workshops and participatory work is made by our Take Part Team, led by the Take Part Director.
Where sensitive or contentious work is under consideration, the programming decision will be discussed by the Theatre’s Senior Management Team, with input if appropriate from The Theatre’s Access and Inclusion Lead. The Artistic Director holds final responsibility for the decision to programme or not to programme any piece of work.
Working with us
The experience of working with us will be defined by three things:
- We are ambitious in our programming, but there are necessary limitations imposed by the size of our space and our team;
- We will encourage quality artists to continue to visit out rural Cotswolds home by providing professional communications, strong technical support, and the warmest of welcomes when they visit;
- The financial aspect of touring to The Theatre will be transparent from the outset, and we will provide prompt, honest settlements.
We work on straight hires, box office splits or guarantees versus splits. We generally do not provide accommodation or catering for visiting artists, preferring to negotiate more generous deals and allow the artist to make their own arrangements.
Live performance: How we programme
We programme work around our in-house shows, between five and nine months ahead. We generally do not host visiting shows between mid-July and September, and between mid-October and late November. Our large in-house Christmas show provides much of our Winter season. We have an arthouse film programme that runs on whichever nights we aren’t using the auditorium for live work.
We host single nights or short runs, but are keen to work with companies to increase our proportion of split and full week bookings.
Whilst we have an exclusion clause of 30 miles, we find that we can often waive this, and are positive about working with neighbouring venues to co-market work in the region. We would certainly want to know if you were planning to visit any of the following venues: Oxford Playhouse, North Wall Theatre, Everyman Cheltenham, The Mill Arts Centre Banbury, Cidermill Theatre Chipping Campden, Berrybank Park in Oddington.
In the first instance, artists, companies and bookers should send a tour pack or information to [email protected]. We also encourage artists and companies to share opportunities for our staff to see your work.
We would advise against calling The Theatre as, if we are interested in discussing your work we will get in touch by email. Unfortunately, if it’s not for us, we may not have time to let you know.
Co-Promotions and Space Hires
The Theatre considers any event advertised to the general public that takes place at The Theatre or is advertised via The Theatre’s marketing channels and/or mailing list to be co-promoted by The Theatre. This includes activities and workshops. Whilst we recognise that we may not always be able to gain the same level of insight and understanding of the nature of an event, we will continue to take responsibility for the inclusion and promotion of these events, and would, in most conceivable cases, expect these events to accord with our approaches to programming and inclusivity.
Space hire events that are not open to the public (private parties, conferences, seminars, meetings etc) would not be subject to the same level of scrutiny and expectation, though we reserve the right to refuse and, where necessary, cancel any event that is discriminatory in nature or impact.