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Slate Commissions Call Out

Slate: Black. Arts. World.

Created by Black artists for Black artists.


Talented. Provocative. Innovating. Entertaining. Brave. Based in the North* of England and Black**.
(* North of England (Humberside, North East, North West and Yorkshire) / **To Eclipse, Black includes anyone who is marginalized for their race or ethnicity.)

We see you. We know you’re here. We know you’ve been here all along.

Slate is a three-year movement supporting Black artists in the North to work on a local, national and international level. Born from a consultancy with Black artists across the region and led by Eclipse, this programme is designed to help you build a stronger, more visible practice locally, nationally and internationally.  

If you’re an artist working in any form or medium, currently based in the North of England, and you have an idea or a project you’re ready to get off the ground – this is for you.

There are four commissions available in this second round of commissioning.

Research and Develop: £4000

Two commissions available to support artists to research, develop and work through new concepts or ideas.

Make: £8000

Two commissions available to support artists who are ready to get their project up and running. One of the commissions is aimed at artists interested in making work for younger audiences (13 – 25 Year olds).


In addition to a financial contribution, Slate will offer a bespoke programme of support for each proposal that is commissioned. This can include:

  • Space – with one or more of our Consortium Partners.
  • Expertise – introductions to potential collaborators, mentors and advisers.
  • Planning – with one of our six Enablers, who will support the process for getting your work and your practice to the next level.
  • Partnership – with one or more of our commissioning partners: ARC Stockton, York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre, Unity Theatre and HOME. (See more about our partners below.)
  • Press, marketing and PR consultancy.
  • Hands on help – if you haven’t done this before, that’s okay. We want to help you.

NB: Slate commissions can be used as match funding to Arts Council England Project Grants or National Lottery Project Grants.

The Provocation

We believe that the arts have the capacity to lead the radical, political and cultural change our society is crying out for, but how are you going to change things if you’re only speaking to people who think like you do?

Slate will commission four new works by Black artists.

The Brief - The People’s Artist

We understand that Black artists want the freedom to create the work they want to make so we don’t put any restrictions on theme, subject or form. You might be working with new technology or inventing new ways of working with existing forms. You create art on your own terms, work that is influenced by your lived experience but not bound by it.

Show us the ways in which your project is resistant to the mainstream narratives and leads the way into a new artistic future that includes those shut out from having a say. Show us work that reaches beyond mainstream audiences but doesn’t leave them behind.

We want your most ambitious ideas. Not bound by a space, a deadline or a model of making that limits possibilities. These ground-breaking ideas will experiment with everything from philosophy to form.

We want to support artists who seek to challenge, inspire, empower and pave the way for a new generation of Black artists.

Be honest, international, experimental. Be audacious.

How to apply – What we need from you

Applications can be submitted in written, verbal or visual formats.

Written applications should be one page in length.

Recorded / filmed applications should be no more than five minutes long.

Submit a one-page/five-minute project proposal, which responds to the brief and includes the following information:

  1. Tell us which commission you are applying for (please select one): R&D (£4k) or MAKE (£8k)
  2. Describe your project: the scale and scope of the work, your ideal process and what support and resources you would need to make it happen.
  3. Tell us why you need to do this now.
  4. What impact this project will have on your practice as an artist?
  5. Clearly outline your ideal timeline for completing the project.
  6. Tell us if you are applying to work with a specific commissioning partner.

In addition, please send us a one-page CV and a link to your website.

You will also need to complete an Equal Opportunities Form.

If you wish, you can also provide:

  • Up to five images of your previous work in JPEG format that help to illustrate your practice
  • Up to three weblinks

We encourage all applicants to talk to your local enabler to discuss any questions or access requirements, please contact enabler@eclipsetheatre.org.uk.

Deadline:15th October, 5pm

Shortlisting will take place during w/c 12th November

All applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application.

If you are successful, a meeting will be arranged with your commissioning partners to discuss the best way to support the project. More information on each commissioning partner can be found below.


These commissions are delivered in partnership with HOME, ARC Stockton, York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre and Unity Theatre. The co-commissions will be:


  1. Co commissioned by Slate, ARC, York and Pilot
  2. Co commissioned by Slate, ARC and Unity


  1. Co commissioned by Slate, HOME and ARC
  2. Co commissioned by Slate, York and Pilot

About the commissioning partners:

Slate is led by Eclipse Theatre Company. The Consortium is Live Theatre, ARC, Hull Truck, York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre, Forced Entertainment, East Street Arts, Bradford City Council, HOME, Unity Theatre and Oxford Playhouse.

Eclipse is a beacon for Black artists outside of London, from our home in Sheffield. We use the Black British experience to create new work that enriches the stories told in our mainstream media across theatre, film and radio. Through our NPO status we deliver national middle scale tours, and are at the vanguard of diverse programming across the country. In addition to Slate, we deliver Revolution Mix: spearheading the largest ever national delivery of Black British stories in regional theatres, on screen, and on radio.

HOME work with international and UK artists to produce extraordinary experiences, creating an exciting mix of thought-provoking drama, dance, film and contemporary visual art. Our ambition is to push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, to have fun and take risks. We want to explore what it means to be human today, and to share great new art with the widest possible audience.

York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre have built a long established partnership developing community productions and work for younger audiences.

With a 750 seater Main House and 100 seater Studio, York Theatre Royal is one of the oldest producing houses in the country. We are known, nationally and internationally, for a pioneering approach to involving our artistic community, young and old, at the heart of what we do. This has included: Blood and Chocolate, In Fog and Falling Snow and Everything is Possible: The York Suffragettes.

Pilot are an international touring company committed to creating high quality work for younger audiences, and will be many people’s very first encounter with this form. We also make work outside of traditional theatre buildings, where our projects pursue a relationship with our audience that is often playful, interactive and participatory. We are always curious about our ongoing and changing relationship with technology, and often explore this theme. Across all our projects we seek to create a cultural space where young adults can encounter, express and interrogate big ideas, powerfully relevant to our lives right now.

ARC presents work that is contemporary and relevant. By that, we mean we want to show work that helps us understand and enjoy the world as it is today. We want to look forward, to excite you about the future. Often we bring work to ARC that challenges perceptions of what performance might usually look like, that offers audiences a different kind of experience to more traditional forms of theatre.

Unity Theatre is Liverpool’s small scale theatre with big ambitions. Our programme of presented, produced and co-commissioned work is edgy, radical and unashamedly contemporary while our talent development programmes have aided the establishment of many of the UK’s top touring companies – recent successes include our co-production with Riksteatern for Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone in Liverpool, 30 date national tour of Sweden, Young Vic London’s West End and Edinburgh Fringe.


All proposals will be considered against the following criteria:

Does the artist have a clear understanding of the intended audience for this project?

Does the project contribute to the development of the artist, the arts sector and audiences?

Long-term career sustainability
Is this work a continuation of/break from the work the artist is already doing?

Why should this project be made now?

What makes this piece distinctive?

Does the artist display the skills and experience to achieve the goals outlined in their proposal?

What is the project’s potential, and where might it lead? What is the scale of ambition?

A sense of rigour
Has care and consideration gone into the application? Have all relevant questions been addressed? Has the artist presented a clear model of how the project will work?

Has the artist demonstrated (through their application and CV/biog) how their professional experience and skills relate to the proposal?