Development Fund

Supported by the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve

A development fund for UK-based Artists of Colour to bring work to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020 we have launched a new Development Fund for Artists of Colour*, which will provide financing, mentorship and programming opportunities to support UK-based Artists of Colour in bringing their work to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  We have made £10,000 available, with productions receiving investment of up to £5,000, to support exciting projects that would otherwise not be able to come to the Fringe. 


We are working with Vault Festival, Hightide and Stories in Theatre Productions (with more to be announced) – each of whom have experience producing and presenting at the Fringe, and with developing work by diverse artists, as supporting partners. 


This new Development Fund is the result of consultation with a wide cross-section of independent artists, companies and organisations with experience of presenting work at the Fringe, and is a response to specific barriers facing Artists of Colour when presenting work in Festival contexts. We hope that this funding will act as a catalyst and jumping off point for wider activity in the lead up and during the Fringe, bringing together artists and stakeholders to discuss how to make the Fringe a Safe Space for Artists of Colour (acknowledging the intersectionality that will be present).


Our offer:

We offer up to £5,000 in financing from Pleasance towards the cost of presenting work at the Fringe. Alongside this direct financial support, Pleasance and our partners will also offer:

  • A guaranteed slot in our Edinburgh programme at Pleasance

  • A programming option in Pleasance Islington's Best of Edinburgh Season

  • A programming option in Vault Festival 2021

  • Additional PR support from Pleasance Futures

  • Mentorship from the Pleasance and partners

  • Rehearsal, development, sharing and work space

  • Support to develop and deliver accessible performances (including the provision of captioned performances)

  • Pleasance and partners will endeavour to do more to make our venues feel safe and inclusive for Artists of Colour (this includes providing pastoral care and support if needed)

  • PTT work on a principle of encouraging sustainable producing, so the financing operates on an investment basis, but with the Pleasance recouping in the final position only (after all fees, expenses and costs of staging the production in Edinburgh are paid).


To be eligible for the Development Fund for Artists of Colour :

  • Must be based in the United Kingdom
  • At least 50% of the lead creators (which could include the Writer, Director, Producer, Set Designer or makers/devising ensemble) must identify as Artists of Colour
  • At least 50% of the cast must identify as Artists of Colour
  • Propose a Theatre or Children’s production that will be ready to be presented at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020. The show does not need to be a world premiere, but it must be an Edinburgh Fringe premiere
  • We are encouraging ambitious work, including but not limited to: large cast or ensemble based work, work playing with form, work that would otherwise not be able to be presented at the Fringe
  • We also want to encourage artists to tell the stories they want to tell – exciting, political, surreal, comedic or hopeful. No preference will be given to work that tells a specific type of story, we want people to feel free to bring any work to the table - no limitation!
  • Be able to attend the Selection Day at Pleasance Islington on Monday 2nd March 2020 (either in person or via Skype)


The Selection Day will consist of a relaxed discussion with representatives from Pleasance Theatre, Supporting Partners, and Independent Artists of Colour with specific experience of the Fringe. We will ask you to bring a budget, as well as talk about the concept of the show, and how the financing will make a real difference. It is anticipated the discussions will last for approx. 30-45 minutes. Full details to be provided to shortlisted candidates.


Submissions for the Development Fund are now closed. We will update this page with more information regarding the DevelopmentFfund 2022 as soon as it is available. 

*We adopt Artists of Colour as a commonly used term that is consistent with other theatre partners we work with. However, we acknowledge the limitations and lack of nuance of this term, and encourage this to be an opportunity for further discussion.Our definition of ‘Of Colour’ is inclusive to anyone who is marginalized or faces barriers within the industry for their race or ethnicity.


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