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A FESTIVAL OF WORKS IN PROGRESS AND EMBRYONIC IDEAS FROM THE NEXT GENERATION OF THEATRE-MAKERS IN THE NORTH WEST

2019 CALL OUT FOR SUBMISSIONS

Applications for Co:LAB Festival 2019 are now CLOSED.

Co:LAB is back!

Co:LAB Festival returns to the Royal Exchange for a third year this June, to showcase more embryonic ideas from the next generation of theatre-makers in the North West.

If you’ve ever applied for a REACT, explored a new art form in a workshop or found a co-conspirator over a warm white wine at an Open Exchange mixer, we want to hear from you.

CO:LAB FESTIVAL

Co:LAB is a response to local artists who say that they need time, space and money to begin to explore ideas and collaborations. Open Exchange artists can apply for a small amount of funding (between £500-£3,000) to develop a scratch performance for a public audience. Whereas REACT is about exploring process risk-free, Co:LAB – or the Collision Laboratory – is a chance to test the work on a live audience.

The Festival aims to showcase theatre made in non-traditional ways with unexpected creative collisions and collaborations. As with all of our opportunities the festival is curated via an open call out to Open Exchange members. In some cases, Co:LAB will further develop ideas which had their origin in REACT.

The inaugural Co:LAB took place on 21 - 23 July 2017, and the second festival took place on 20 - 22 July 2018. 2019 will take place 21 - 23 June. 

  • WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR:
  • • Submissions of interest from Open Exchange members who would like to present a piece of work in the building. Last year the majority of performances were in the Studio but we also had performances and installations presented in the Hall, the Lounge, Exchange Suite, Front Room, St Ann's Square, and in the goods lift, so we’d welcome ideas for those spaces too.

    • We’re not expecting all of the pieces to be finished, it’s a festival of embryonic ideas, so scratches and works-in-progress are welcomed alongside more developed work.

    • The theme of the festival is COLLABORATION, and all submissions should have those ideas at their heart.

    • Bold, experimental ideas and those which engage with audiences in new ways are actively encouraged – this is a chance to think big, try things out and maybe even fail spectacularly.

  • WHAT WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR:
  • • Scripts (but why not submit them to the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting?)

    • Artists working completely solo (find some collaborators - put a call out on the Open Exchange Facebook group or through the newsletter).

    • Any pieces of work which have already had a performance life elsewhere (except for REACT).

  • WHAT'S ON OFFER:
  • • Commissions of between £500 - £3,000 depending on the needs of the team/project and the scale of the work.

    • Some free rehearsal space at the Exchange – although we have less available than in previous years so please make sure to plan/budget for the possibility of sourcing external space.

    • Some technical support and assistance, and the use of the RET technical kits, within a multi-performance festival environment.

  • KEY DATES
  • • Co:LAB Festival 2019: Friday 21 - Sunday 23 June 2019

    • Application deadline: Monday 8 April 2019, 11am

    • Interviews: 17 – 19 April 2019. All shortlisted artists will be invited to the Theatre for a discussion.

    • If selected, your team must be available: for an interview on either 17/18/19 April 2019; to perform in an allocated slot within the 3 days of the festival (21-23 June); to spend between 3 hours and 1 day teching your work, at some point between 10-20 June (exact timings TBC)

  • HOW TO APPLY:
  • APPLICATIONS HAVE NOW CLOSED: MONDAY 8 APRIL 2019, 11AM

    To apply for this opportunity:

    1. Please complete the application form online by clicking below.

    2. Please fill in our Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form (for each named member of your group)

    We recognise that some people may struggle with written applications, so there is the option to upload a video application instead. This can be found within the online link above. For any other access support queries, please email Grace Ng Ralph at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Thank you for your interest in Co:LAB Festival 2019 – we look forward to hearing more about your work.

  • What is Pay What You Decide?
  • We have introduced a Pay What You Decide pricing policy for Co:LAB shows.

    Pay What You Decide not only allows you to pay what you can afford, rather than a fixed ticket price, but also removes the financial risk of buying a ticket for a show in advance without knowing whether you are going to enjoy it or not. Tickets will be available to book in advance as usual, but there is no obligation for you to pay until after you have seen the show.

    You can then decide on a price which you think is suitable based on your experience, which means if you haven’t enjoyed it at all, you don’t have to pay anything.

    Please ensure you have arrived and collected your tickets 15 minutes before the show starts in order to secure your seats.

    At the end of the show, you can decide what to pay, either by cash on the door or by texting ‘CLAB19 £5’ to 70070. You can choose from £3/£5/£10/£15/£20.

Co:LAB Festival 2018 Images
A PART OF ME

A PART OF ME

By New Vision Theatre Company | Performed & Written by: Andrew Duffy, Natalie Amber, Stephanie Riches. Directed by: Grace Cordell

A PART OF ME

A PART OF ME

By New Vision Theatre Company | Performed & Written by: Andrew Duffy, Natalie Amber, Stephanie Riches. Directed by: Grace Cordell

A PART OF ME

A PART OF ME

By New Vision Theatre Company | Performed & Written by: Andrew Duffy, Natalie Amber, Stephanie Riches. Directed by: Grace Cordell

AFTER BIRTH

AFTER BIRTH

By Highlight Collective | Nicola Schofield, Naomi Kendrick, Jennifer Hardy, David Haworth, Sara Abanur, Amy Hailwood.

AFTER BIRTH

AFTER BIRTH

By Highlight Collective | Nicola Schofield, Naomi Kendrick, Jennifer Hardy, David Haworth, Sara Abanur, Amy Hailwood.

AFTER BIRTH

AFTER BIRTH

By Highlight Collective | Nicola Schofield, Naomi Kendrick, Jennifer Hardy, David Haworth, Sara Abanur, Amy Hailwood.

AFTER BIRTH

AFTER BIRTH

By Highlight Collective | Nicola Schofield, Naomi Kendrick, Jennifer Hardy, David Haworth, Sara Abanur, Amy Hailwood.

ALTAR/ALTER

ALTAR/ALTER

By Lydia Cottrell & Michael-Jon Mizra

ALTAR/ALTER

ALTAR/ALTER

By Lydia Cottrell & Michael-Jon Mizra

ALTAR/ALTER

ALTAR/ALTER

By Lydia Cottrell & Michael-Jon Mizra

ALTAR/ALTER

ALTAR/ALTER

By Lydia Cottrell & Michael-Jon Mizra

BAAL

BAAL

By Knaïve Theatre & Impermanence Dance Theatre

BAAL

BAAL

By Knaïve Theatre & Impermanence Dance Theatre

BAAL

BAAL

By Knaïve Theatre & Impermanence Dance Theatre

BAAL

BAAL

By Knaïve Theatre & Impermanence Dance Theatre

CATCHING COMETS

CATCHING COMETS

Created by Ransack Theatre and written by Piers Black

CATCHING COMETS

CATCHING COMETS

Created by Ransack Theatre and written by Piers Black

CATCHING COMETS

CATCHING COMETS

Created by Ransack Theatre and written by Piers Black

CATCHING COMETS

CATCHING COMETS

Created by Ransack Theatre and written by Piers Black

COMMIT.

COMMIT.

By Big Liars

COMMIT.

COMMIT.

By Big Liars

COMMIT.

COMMIT.

By Big Liars

COMMIT.

COMMIT.

By Big Liars

ETA CARINA

ETA CARINA

By Violet Blonde, The Kommanderrr, Clare McNulty

ETA CARINA

ETA CARINA

By Violet Blonde, The Kommanderrr, Clare McNulty

ETA CARINA

ETA CARINA

By Violet Blonde, The Kommanderrr, Clare McNulty

ETA CARINA

ETA CARINA

By Violet Blonde, The Kommanderrr, Clare McNulty

OVER MY DEAD BODY

OVER MY DEAD BODY

Devised by Ali Wilson and James Monaghan

OVER MY DEAD BODY

OVER MY DEAD BODY

Devised by Ali Wilson and James Monaghan

OVER MY DEAD BODY

OVER MY DEAD BODY

Devised by Ali Wilson and James Monaghan

OVER MY DEAD BODY

OVER MY DEAD BODY

Devised by Ali Wilson and James Monaghan

Prince Gorge

Prince Gorge

by Sophie Coward, Eliyana Evans and James Varney

Prince Gorge

Prince Gorge

by Sophie Coward, Eliyana Evans and James Varney

Prince Gorge

Prince Gorge

by Sophie Coward, Eliyana Evans and James Varney

Prince Gorge

Prince Gorge

by Sophie Coward, Eliyana Evans and James Varney

The Witching Way

The Witching Way

Created by Ali Matthews & Leo Burtin

The Witching Way

The Witching Way

Created by Ali Matthews & Leo Burtin

The Witching Way

The Witching Way

Created by Ali Matthews & Leo Burtin

The Witching Way

The Witching Way

Created by Ali Matthews & Leo Burtin

Tuch

Tuch

Created by Amy Lawrence With collaboration and realisation by Tilda O’Grady

Tuch

Tuch

Created by Amy Lawrence With collaboration and realisation by Tilda O’Grady

Tuch

Tuch

Created by Amy Lawrence With collaboration and realisation by Tilda O’Grady

Tuch

Tuch

Created by Amy Lawrence With collaboration and realisation by Tilda O’Grady

“ A wonderful, artist heaven.” Sophie Coward, Prince Gorge

“I was interested to see how this notion of supporting 'failure', experimentation and risk-taking would be upheld. I was excited across the weekend to witness, hear and take part in the incredibly supportive and non-competitive atmosphere which was greatly established by Amit and Bryony's pre-show 'shpeel'- it was hugely liberating after having rehearsed with risks, trust and challenges at the forefront of mine and Amy Lawrence's process to have this reaffirmed just as I was about to kick-off the festival, and this carried throughout the weekend, how the other artists discussed and supported each other’s work.” Tilda O’Grady, TUCH

“[Co:LAB]… was also really transformative to be able to work in the Studio and have the level of tech support we did - the show looked and sounded great and that has had a real impact on our ambitions for the piece.” James Varney, Prince Gorge

“This experience has given us a base as fairly newly form company, to know who we work together. Where each of our strengths lie and how to knit them together. This experience has allowed us to trial different aspects of the piece whilst being able to tap into the knowledge and expertise of the production team at the Exchange.” Natalie Amber, A Part of Me

“The amount of support and interest in what we were creating was perfect. There was always someone on hand to help us with any request. Also it was nice to have complete freedom to manage our time in the way that we wanted without any pressure but to be fully supported at the same time was really refreshing.” Lydia Cottrell, Altar/Alter

Co:Lab Festival 2017 Images
Survival

Survival

by Elmi Ali and Nuala Maguire

Citizen

Citizen

by James Monaghan and Christine FitzGerald

Love Letters from Blackpool

Love Letters from Blackpool

Written and performed by Ruth E. Cockburn - with Claire Walmsley Griffiths, Phil Ellis, Daniel Wallace & Will Lenton

Shooting the Messenger

Shooting the Messenger

by Take Back Theatre Collective

Two Fat Gentlemen

Two Fat Gentlemen

by Charlotte Maxwell and Marcela Hervia

[Insert Slogan Here]

[Insert Slogan Here]

by YesYesNoNo and Conan the Librarian

Woke

Woke

Written and performed by Testament

Vent

Vent

Directed by Collette Murray, Composed by Michael Betteridge and created by The Ensemble (Alex McCoy, Andy Pilkington, Barney Cooper, Charlotte Ashton, Elka Lee-Green, Katherine McDermott, Leni Murphy, Nicola O'Keeffe, Ryan Clayton, Sarah Coyne and Steff Riches)

Power to the North

Power to the North

by Knaïve Theatre and Tim Foley

So Fey

So Fey

by Amy Lawrence with Joe Whitmore, Vitaljia Glovackyte, Henrietta Phoebe Dunn, Nisa Cole & Lucie Browne Research Assistance: Tilda O’Grady & Jade Montserrat


Open Exchange provides a series of developmental opportunities for emerging artists of all disciplines, rooted in the belief that collaboration creates great art and brilliant theatre doesn't always begin with a script. Sign up here for opportunities.

Image of Open Exchange Visual Identity, Royal Exchange Theatre