A more up to date version of this post can be found in the WalesLab group here.


So I've been here a few weeks now and have met some of you out and about, but wanted to update you on WalesLab, answer some of the questions that I'm being asked, and give a heads up about the first round of applications.


So what is WalesLab?

WalesLab is NTW's new artist development initiative, focused on emerging artists and practices. 


What does it consist of?

There are three strands to WalesLab (which will have names but they aren't finalised yet)

  1. This is a Summer Camp - which will involve around 20 artists being taken away for 2 weeks with NTW facilitators and technical support to experiment and develop their work and inspire each other. 
  2. Eight times a year small groups of artists will be invited to spend a around a week together somewhere in Wales developing the initial stages of an idea or project. 
  3. Three times a year small groups of artists will be offered the opportunity to spend around two weeks somewhere in Wales developing an idea or project which they have already begun working on, and will share their work with a local audience.


Is there any money involved?

Yes. For strands 2 & 3 participants will receive a fee, accommodation, travel and a materials budget.

For strand 1 artists will be provided with accommodation, transport, materials and food.


What if I don't need accommodation, can I use the money you would have spent on costumes and set?

No. This isn't a production fund; it's a fund to support the development of theatre makers in Wales.


Do I have to be Welsh to apply?

No. To apply you need to live or work in Wales, be Welsh/from Wales, or have a demonstrable connection to Wales. On all three strands international participants will be accepted by invitation only. 


What are you trying to do?

We want to encourage the idea that Wales is (y)our laboratory for making new and exciting performance. To inspire you with the landscape and make-up of Wales. 

We want to help you to make the work your capable of.

We want to create a fertile landscape from which more projects or activity will spring.


What isn't it?

This isn't a commissioning strand for NTW's performance programme. Whilst we wouldn't rule out the possibility of a project developed through WalesLab going on to be NTW# this isn't the project’s primary purpose.


How do I apply?

We're aiming to open the first round of applications for strand 2 in the 1st week of August and applications will close on 31st August. This round of applications will be for four projects happening between October and January. The application process is being drawn up now and at the end of this post I'll explain how you can help shape this process. 

The first pilot of strand 3 will take place in the autumn and will be for invited participants, following the pilot we'll open applications for the next round of strands 2 and 3 in November for projects taking place February to May 2012.

Strand 1 will take place next summer and we haven't decided on when the applications for that will open yet - but as you'll appreciate it's a way off.


Are my taxes paying for this? 

The funding for WalesLab is from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and is not coming from your taxes or the lottery. This is new money that we're bringing to Welsh theatre, and not something that's being diverted from another Welsh arts organisation.


Right that's most of the things I've been asked covered. If you want to ask anything else please comment below and I'll post the answer in this thread. If you'd rather ask something in confidence email me.

To make this process as friendly to you as possible we want your input into the application process - we want you to tell us what you do and don't want to do:

Do you like filling in forms?

Would you prefer to submit a video?

Is it ok for applications to be online - or do you prefer to send materials by post?

How would you feel if everyone else in the community were able to see and comment on your application?

Tell us what you think...


Also I'm looking for a small focus group to meet once and test /rip apart/ comment on the application process we design. If you'd be interested email me mattball@nationaltheatrewales.org and I'll get back to you.


That's enough for now

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Comment by Richard Huw Morgan on August 3, 2011 at 3:52
Excellent, thanks for the prompt reply.
Comment by Matt Ball on August 3, 2011 at 3:50
It'll be live very soon - probably by the end of the day.
Comment by Richard Huw Morgan on August 3, 2011 at 3:43

Hi Matt,

I'm trying to access the WalesLab application form (that a search of the NTW site says was created on July 29th) but without success. Where can I find it please?

Comment by Matt Ball on July 28, 2011 at 23:24

How big can the projects be?

Whilst we don't want to limit your projects the average level of support for strand 2 projects will be one week for three artists. This doesn't mean that's what you have to use and it may be that if one project only has one person working on it and another has five it will balance.

Remember that these aren't production grants - so it may be that the project you want to develop will eventually involve a cast of fifty taking over Snowdon, but that doesn't mean that initial project does.


Comment by Matt Ball on July 28, 2011 at 23:14

If I'm not sucessful this time can I apply again?

Yes - there will be three rounds of applications a year, and you can apply again with the same or a different project. If you're resubmitting the same project please think carefully about why it wasn't successful first time around.


Comment by Matt Ball on July 24, 2011 at 22:27

Thanks Christopher - good to get a response, and that spirit of openness is what we'd like to see throughout the whole project where learning is shared by the community -  through blogging, presentations, workshops etc.


Comment by Christopher Cale on July 22, 2011 at 6:07
This all sounds very exciting.  Regarding the last point about the applications - I think that open applications is a really nice idea - everyone on here seems supportive, and it can only help everyone involved if there's more feedback available from experienced and active members of our community (both for the applicants, and the decision-makers).

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