We care fiercely about Artists and Creative Freelancers working in this sector and in supporting and advocating for the very best conditions for brilliant art to be created.
Our Artist Support work is central to the organisation and is what makes us unique.
- We provide expert, artist-led support that enables people to develop distinctive ideas and thriving careers.
- We support independence and resilience by cultivating peer support, connections, and networks.
- We working with and listening to organisations across the sector locally and nationally to understand and recognise challenges they are facing.
- We advocate and lobby on behalf of artists and freelancers in sector wide strategic conversations and ensure they are at the table too.
- Artist Support Sessions
- Artists within TB informing and developing our programmes
- TB Assemblies
- Workshops & Training
- Advocacy & Lobbying
Our Artist Support roles are designed to listen and exchange with artists and then communicate and distill those individual stories into themes which set the course of Theatre Bristol.
This is a creative process which is at the heart of the organisation, driving our programming and lobbying.
We employ a rolling cohort of experienced Artists who work with us for an 18 month period. They are employed on a PAYE contract, 1 day/7 hours a week at £27,000 pro rata.
These roles are unique; part critical friend, part mentor, from sounding-board to navigator one minute and sign-poster the next, they provide feedback on funding applications, support thinking around a much earlier stage idea, look at possible venues for a tour, or give advice on building relationships or finding collaborators.
This role is not only about responding to requests for artist support sessions but also in seeking artists out, inviting them to access support, networking and being present in the city.
It is the ASA’s business to know the lie of the land; keep up-to-speed on opportunities in Bristol and beyond; and to join dots for people, bridge gaps and beat drums.
Our current Artist Support Artists are:
Aisha is a Non Binary, Queer, South Asian, Vocal Artist, Improviser, Composer, Inclusion and Cultural Producer, Workshop Facilitator and Artistic Director of Kiota: A Collective of BPOC (Black and People Of Colour) Creatives in Bristol. They are trained in the Arts of Fooling and Vocal Improv and primarily work with the Voice. Their compositions contain vocal harmonies, interesting beats and layers of foley instruments. They are passionate about where Art meets Activism and is particularly involved in Anti-racist work. They teach at The Bristol Improv Theatre and manage The Wardrobe Theatre as well as being on the Board of Trustees for Ad Infinitum.
I am excited to support you with whatever help you may need on this wonderful but sometimes confusing path of being an artist. I come from a contemporary performance background and can support multi-disciplinary participatory work as well as dance and theatre. I am at most at home with bold and ambitious work that plays with form and have a lot of experience with autobiographical work. Equally I can support emerging directors. I was a Jerwood assistant director at the Young Vic, as well as staff director at the National Theatre. I have directed work for The Young Vic, English National Opera, The Globe and Bristol Old Vic.
I have a lot of experience in supporting ACE DYCP and Project Grant applications. I work on a number of bodies as an artist advisor, including The Jerwood Foundation, so can also be helpful in accessing a range of different funding streams. My dramaturgy includes work for award-winning companies such as New Movement Collective and Anagram. I am a previous Leverhulme scholar attached to Bristol Old Vic, a member of The Pervasive Media Studios and produced by MAYK which makes me well placed to offer up advice and signposting to artists wanting to connect to the arts in Bristol.
I have experience of national and international touring and can support companies making a transition into reaching more audiences, as well as people who are just starting out.
Due to living with long term illness I need to do things a little differently to the other artist support sessions you can access at Theatre Bristol. Please read below to find out how.
Choose your week:
I am currently able to support two artists each week. So please choose your week and book in for one of the two slots available.
It is helpful for me to be able to approach what you send me (which might be notes on an idea, a draft funding bid, a script or just a bit about you) in my own time. So rather than a phone call or initial meeting I invite you to upload a voice note, video or written text when you book which gives me the lowdown on the kind of help you need. You will need to do this by Monday 10am at the start of your chosen week. You can also email me once you’ve booked in a session on firstname.lastname@example.org
By the Friday of that week you will receive my input. I will always aim to organise an online meeting with you at this time but this may not always be possible. If it’s not possible then my input will consist of voice notes and/or written notes.
After a discussion with me I am happy for artists to book in for another week’s support if this feels appropriate or signpost you to other artist support workers who can help.
Saikat Ahamed (currently in rehearsals for Life of Pi)
Saikat is a Bristol based British Bangladeshi writer and actor and theatre maker. As an actor, he has worked in all parts of the industry over the last twenty years; roles include Tinkerbell in
Peter Pan at Bristol Old Vic and then The National Theatre, Vince Arya in Monday Monday for ITV and Mr Chadley in Pennyworth for Epix and appearing in East is East, both the stage play and the movie.
As a writer, his work includes three autobiographical solo shows, The Tiger and the Moustache, Strictly Balti and In Search of Goldoni, a Christmas family show for Travelling Light Theatre Company, Three Kings, and most recently a play called Book Club
which deals with conversations around race. He is also currently working on an epic poem, Bristol Argonautica. He has experience of both producing his own work and also working to a commission for theatre companies.
We provide a space to ask big questions about what theatre is, what togetherness is, what assembly is.
These are open, inclusive events for anyone who is working across the live performance sector to attend, listen, contribute and build relationships and knowledge around specific issues.
These are mostly led by our ASAs. We host a series of 10 across a year, usually once a month and we will hold a mix of hybrid (online and in person), exclusively online or exclusively in person events across the year.
You can find out more about what Assemblies are coming up by clicking the button below.
We also occasionally work in partnership with other organisations to host larger events, our most recent was Dreaming in the Big Top in partnership with Cirque Bijou.
As we begin to return to some kind of normality for the sector and the recovery of creative practice we are acutely aware of the need to find ways to support wellbeing both in the short and long term.
During lockdown we ran Bubble Baths for the Soul supporting 6 Queer Artists with 8 group wellbeing sessions led by Lou Platt from Artist Wellbeing (supported through VIP Microgrants and CRF) and are in the process of designing a second programme which will be announced in the Autumn.
We pride ourselves on being genuinely responsive to what we hear on the ground through our work. Consequently we can’t ignore the seismic shift the sector is facing right now, the huge inequalities being polarised by the Pandemic and therefore we are re-evaluating the tools needed right now within the organisation for us to meaningfully support the sector.
We are committed to reducing the barriers to attending events and meetings for freelancers and offer 4 bursaries for each Assembly.
These are usually £50 for 2 hours (based on a day rate of £200)
We also want to ensure that Freelance voices are heard in conversations that have historically happened behind closed doors and by salaried individuals. Working closely with DIY Arts and Bristol City Council we are paying freelancers to be a part of these conversations.
For ~15 years theatrebristol.net brought the artistic community of Bristol and the wider SW together online to share and promote local what’s on, opportunities, jobs, news and provided a space for profiling yourself and your work within a directory.
In February 2021 we decided it was time to recognise that this website was out of date and clunky and that visits were depleting fast.
We will be launching a paid consultation with the artistic community led by our Digital Storyteller in Autumn 2021 to decide the best way forward for rebuilding the online community in a contemporary context taking the very best bits of the old website and bringing new ideas to the table. Depending on the outcome we will then begin the fundraising campaign in early 2022.
If you’d like to know more about the consultation process you can do so below:
Workshops & Training
Through listening and conversation we often identify themes and questions emerging that multiple people are asking advice on and so occasionally host workshops.
Sometimes these workshops are quite informal and other times they are more formal and are ticketed.
You can find the most recent workshops on our resources page.
We will be launching a series of workshops this Autumn that focus on building resilience and creative business skills to develop your career.
How theatre bristol supported lavrak
Theatre Bristol provided 1:1 support and guidance to Lavrak in 2019 to develop their ideas and offer advice on their upcoming project ‘Reach’. Co-director, Amy Nicholls, outlines the impact of Theatre Bristol’s support.
“We received 1:1 support and mentoring from Theatre Bristol to advise and guide us in producing our first UK tour, from the initial R&D phase of the project.
We spoke to Theatre Bristol artists who have produced tours, and also attended our R&D show and knew our work and what we wanted to achieve. They helped us get the project off the ground (literally and figuratively…Reach is an aerial show).
We successfully received funding for the tour with the support Theatre Bristol gave us. They listened to our ideas and really enabled us to achieve our vision.
They advised us on how to develop our audiences in order to successfully tour to places where we didn’t already have engagement. We were able to build our audiences beyond Bristol. We sold out 5 of 8 shows, and gained two 5 star reviews”.
I would absolutely recommend Theatre Bristol! It is so accessible to organise a meeting with someone. We are so grateful for their support, and they often read funding applications for us or run through ideas with us, which has been incredibly valuable!
Amy Nicholls (Co-Director of Lavrak)
Keep in touch
Stay connected with jobs, what’s on, opportunities for creatives, and Theatre Bristol news by signing up to receive one – or all – of our newsletters.