Open Call: Support for Creation and Touring of outdoor arts shows in 2023

Without Walls invites artists and companies to request support for the creation and touring of new outdoor work for presentation in 2023

This Open Call is the first stage of a programming process for 2023, and it is intended to create an open and accessible invitation for artists to propose ambitious and exciting outdoor projects to the commissioning partners of Without Walls – the Artistic Directorate of the consortium – who are responsible for selection of the artistic programme. A further call out for 2023 proposals will take place between May and July 2022.

The pandemic has had a radical impact on Without Walls’ plans. With most of our festivals and events cancelled in 2020, we have been working hard during 2021 to try to catch up with the back log of artists projects that have not yet been completed. This process of catching up will continue throughout 2022, which is why we are not inviting proposals for new work in 2022.

Instead we have opted to provide an early opportunity for artists to begin submitting proposals for work that they want to create and present in 2023. By looking to the future in this way we hope to provide artists with the ongoing means to continue creating excellent work as the UK continues to emerge from lockdown.

You can read more about this decision here

A call out for Blueprint R&D projects runs alongside this open call, which is designed for artists and companies looking for support with the Research and Development phase of new and ambitious outdoor arts projects.

We very much value the work and time that artists put into these Open Calls and thank you in advance for your interest.


Deadline for all submissions: Wednesday 15th December 2021, 12 pm (Midday)

Notification of shortlisted projects: April 2022 

Eligibility & Guidance

Please download and read our guidance document in full (found at the bottom of this page) before starting the application form.

  • We are looking for work from all disciplines and genres, that is innovative and ambitious and challenges the idea of what outdoor arts can be.
  • The work must be suitable for outdoor touring and artists should be committed to exploring touring opportunities for the works in addition to the Without Walls festivals.
  • Proposals for work could be adaptable in scale, suitable for daytime and / or evening presentation and may also include promenade or processional based elements.
  • Without Walls exists to support the development of new and ambitious work by UK artists; we can support projects that are developed in association with International Artists, but the lead partner on the project must be based in the UK.
  • Most projects supported by Without Walls are shows that we have commissioned. However in some cases we will support the touring of a project that has already raised its creation costs, provided that the show has not already toured in the UK, and provided it clearly meets our priorities.
  • For creation support for projects in 2023: Please note the work should be available from May – September 2023, and be available to tour to Without Walls festivals where interest lies (indicative dates for the 2022 programme are available in our FAQs). It is expected that shows commissioned for 2023 will also be available to tour from April – October 2024, allowing them to tour to TNP festivals, if required.


Without Walls has also identified several priorities for development including:

  • Work led by Black, Asian and ethnically diverse artists
  • Work led by Deaf and Disabled artists
  • Digital work
  • Work that incorporates an innovative approach to environmental responsibility

Additionally, Without Walls wishes to support artists whose artistic process includes a clear focus on dramaturgy. This could include explaining the approach to structuring the work, producing a visual script, story board or similar document, or explaining the process by which dramaturgy will be addressed and by whom.

We wish to encourage artists to work with experienced directors. In cases where the director of the project has limited experience of outdoor work, please explain how you will approach working in a new context, including for example whether you intend to invite a more experienced outside eye, collaborator or mentor into the process.

Without Walls welcomes proposals from artists who have not worked with us, or in the outdoor arts sector before.

We welcome proposals that align with these areas of special interest, but it is not compulsory that proposals should fall into any of these categories. Please note there is no guarantee of Without Walls being able to support projects even if they do align with one or more of these priorities.

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Without Walls is committed to ensuring that our processes and events are as accessible as possible.

The application materials are available in a range of formats on demand. Please let us know what your specific requirements are, and we will do our best to support you – whether through providing the documents in an alternative format or by arranging a support worker.  We also accept applications submitted in audio or video format if that suits you better.

If you would like to request assistance with completing your application, please contact Rebecca McGreevy at or give us a call on 0161 227 8383, providing an outline of your access requirements by Friday 10th December, 12 pm (midday).


Q&A Online Session and Pricing Webinar

Previously we also hosted an online live Q&A on Thursday 18 November, and Tuesday 30 November. These sessions were opportunities to ask questions about the Blueprint R&D Open Call and the Creation & Touring 2023 open call.

Speakers included: Lucy Babb – Salisbury International Arts Festival, Clive Lyttle – Certain Blacks, Andrew Loretto – Hat Fair, Nickie Miles-Wildin – Co-Artistic Director & CEO, DaDa Fest, Jason Singh – Without Walls 2021 Programme Artist, Lina Johansson – Artistic Director, Mimbre.

Following our open online Q&A sessions, we have created a Q&A Summary Document, which includes additional answers to questions about the open calls. Download Q&A Summary document here.

We also hosted a webinar about pricing outdoor shows on Thursday 25 November. With a panel of industry professionals, this session offers insights and practical tips on pricing for the creation and touring of outdoor shows.  Watch the recording of this Pricing Webinar here.

Important Guidance Documents

Please read our guidance document before starting your application, this is available to download below as a PDF, Word Document, or Word Document (large print). You can also download a template of the application form as a Word Document, to draft responses before copying it into the online application form below.

Please note that you will not be able to save your application as you go along, so we therefore recommend that you work on a draft and copy the contents once you have a finalised version that you are happy to submit. You will be asked to submit a detailed budget identifying how you intend to develop the idea.

Guidance Notes (PDF)

Please read this document before starting your proposal (PDF version)

Guidance Notes (Word Document)

Please read this document before starting your proposal (Word Document version)

Guidance Notes (Word Document - Large print)

Please read this document before starting your proposal (Word Document, large print version)

Application form template (Word Document)

Use this to prepare your application before copying it to our online form

Application Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Following our open online Q&A sessions in November, we have created a Q&A Summary Document, which includes additional answers to questions about the open calls. Download Q&A Summary document here.

How can I request support with completing the proposal form?

Please contact Rebecca McGreevy at on 0161 227 8383.


Can I complete my application in an alternative format?

Yes, you can upload your application in a video or audio format. If you’d like to complete your application in a different format, please email us at

You can answer the two project outline questions in a video or audio format if that suits you better. Share a link to the video or audio in the sections provided in the submission form, or email your video to: If emailing, please include the name of the artist or company and project title in your email, and make sure to submit before the deadline.

Your video should be no longer than 5 minutes. Please make sure you include in your recording:

  • An introduction to your company and work
  • What experience you have of outdoor arts
  • A comprehensive description of your project
  • Details about your creative team and whether you plan on offering a sharing of your work


Can I apply to both the Blueprint open call and the 2023 Artistic Programme open call with the same project?

Yes – please complete one version of the Blueprint form and one version of the creation and touring support form. You should plan your R&D schedule for Blueprint in such a way that you can provide a progress report no later than August or September 2022.


Can I apply to both the Blueprint open call and the 2023 Artistic Programme open call with two different projects?

Yes – please use the Blueprint submission form for the project that you wish to request R&D support for, and separately complete the 2023 submission form for the project that you wish to requestion creation and touring support for. Please note it is unlikely that Without Walls would support the same company to develop two separate projects in the same year.


Can I apply for support even if my project has been unsuccessful in an application for R&D or creation support in the past?

Yes, but please explain how your new proposal is different from your previous proposal, and whether any further development work on the project has been carried out since your last application.


Can I request support towards an installation or durational piece?

Yes. If possible, please explain how many people you expect will experience the finished piece in the course of one day / session.


Can I apply to create and tour a piece that requires the involvement of local / community participants at each festival?

Yes, but please explain your requirements in terms of recruiting and supporting community involvement, including what is required from the festival in recruiting local participants.


Can I include international cast members or collaborators in my project?

Yes, however please be aware that this may cause additional logistical complications and costs for festivals wishing to present your work, which may make your work less affordable and practical to present and tour. Without Walls supports work from UK artists and companies and therefore would not expect to support international travel costs of team members for each date of a tour, and would encourage the company to look carefully at the cost, practicality and environmental impact of this arrangement.

If this is the only way you can develop your project, when submitting your proposal please indicate how many performers this would apply to, their nationalities and which territories they will be travelling from. Artists and companies will remain responsible for guaranteeing that they will be able to provide a full company for all performances and will hold primary responsibility for ensuring that all Visa or Covid travel restrictions are met.


Who makes the decisions about the programme?

Both the Blueprint and creation and support programmes are selected by the Without Walls Artistic Directorate – a group of 11 artistic directors or senior programming staff from organisations responsible for the artistic decision making of Without Walls. You can find more information about the organisations that make up the Artistic Directorate in Appendix A of the Guidance Notes.


Do I need to have made outdoor work before to submit a proposal?

No – many of the projects that Without Walls supports are by artists who are creating work for the outdoors for the first time. You may wish to refer to our website, which contains resource guides and information on subjects such as pricing and making your work accessible.


Do I need to know one of the Artistic Directors of the AD in order to be selected?

No – part of the purpose of running open calls is so that our partners have the chance to discover artists whose work they may not be familiar with. Every year the Without Walls programme features many artists who are new to either the outdoor arts sector or to creating work through Without Walls.


What is the role of the XTRAX team?

XTRAX manages the Without Walls consortium. The XTRAX team do not make the decisions about the programme but support the Artistic Directorate by facilitating the open call process. Feel free to ask any questions by emailing


What do you mean when you ask whether a project is ‘led by’ a particular group of people?

In order for us to consider a project as being ‘led by’ a particular group of people the majority of people involved in the creative direction of the project should identify as belonging to the group in question. For a full breakdown of specific criteria please refer to the ‘Creative Case for Diversity monitoring’ section in the Guidance Notes.

How much money can I request from Without Walls?

If you request creation funding from Without Walls please note that we do not normally support the full creation costs, so please indicate how much your total budget will be, and how much of this amount you would like Without Walls to contribute, as well as indicating match funding sources if known. Our previous creation funds have ranged from £3,000 – £60,000 in any one project, depending on the scale and complexity of the piece.


What do I need to include in my creation budget?

Please include all costs related to the rehearsal, development, build, design and creation of your piece, including all artists/creative fees, materials and costs related to rehearsing your project. If you are VAT registered please do not include VAT that you can reclaim.

Please do not include performance costs, as these should be shown separately. Without Walls needs to understand the estimated costs of presentation in order to decide whether we will be able to invest in creation.


Do I have to request creation funding from Without Walls or can I just request support to tour work to the Without Walls festivals?

If you have already raised the money you need to create your project you may not need to request creation money; Without Walls will sometimes support the touring of new projects that we have not funded provided they are new and have not toured widely in the UK previously.


Payments to Artists

You need to show the fees and wages of artists involved in your project. Please show how overall fees have been calculated and the rates at which people are paid.

We are committed to making sure that artists are paid appropriately for their work. The amount is likely to depend on a number of things, including the experience and skills of the artist, the type of work and the length of the contract.

There are recognised codes of practice set by relevant lead organisations. If you need any help or advice on this, Arts Council England produces an information sheet, ‘Fair Pay’-  it can be downloaded here.

You can also look at the Independent Theatre Council’s rates of pay here.



What should I include in my performance fee?

Please include all costs required to enable you to set up and present your show at a festival, including all artist / creative team fees and company costs / overheads if required.

Please do not include the travel or transportation costs to attend a festival (of your creative team or the set), accommodation, per diems / food as this will be negotiated separately in addition to the budget. More detail about your touring requirements will be requested if your project is shortlisted, as Without Walls will produce an estimate of staging costs in order to understand the overall presentation costs.

You may also wish to refer to the notes from a seminar on Pricing Outdoor Work that Without Walls presented in 2017.


Do I need to include technical costs in my performance fee?

Please only include technical costs for items / services that you have to bring with your show and that could not be provided by the festival locally. The festivals will expect to provide technical equipment for you on site, including items such as sound, power, and crew support for the get-in as well as overnight security and transportation costs (where necessary). Please specify what is, and is not, included in your fee and what the festival will be required to supply. Without Walls will produce our own cost estimates for any technical costs that festivals are likely to incur.


Can I include the costs of a producer in my project budget?

Yes. Without Walls recognises the important role of producers in supporting artists to develop new work. If doing so, please provide a clear breakdown of producer fees as part of your project budget.


Do I include marketing and PR as part of the creation costs?

Due to the nature of festival presentation most festivals market and promote their events as a single programme of work, rather than distributing individual promotional materials for each project.

Without Walls will therefore normally ask you to supply photographs and copy for use in the promotion of your work if it is supported by Without Walls. We will not normally ask you for additional marketing material so we would not expect to support additional Marketing and PR costs.


I have received some development money from Arts Council England National Lottery Funds to research my piece; can I still apply for creation and touring funds?

Yes, provided the R&D work that you undertook is clearly separate from the creation work that Without Walls is supporting. Please note that Without Walls funds cannot be used as the 10% minimum contribution to an Arts Council National Lottery Grants application.


Do I need to include funding from commissioners and co-commissioners and other partners outside of the Without Walls Consortium?

Yes, if you have them. Please explain which other partners have committed support and please confirm the dates when they are presenting the piece so we can see whether this would exclude any of the Without Walls partners.


What other sources of income should I include?

Most artists will seek other funding for their projects, including earned income, commissions, Local Authority funding, private income, income from grant making trusts, crowd funding or other Public Funding. Please clearly describe the funding, whether this is expected or confirmed and, when applicable, when you are expecting to have an answer. It is not an absolute requirement from Without Walls to have additional funding, but it is prudent for artists and companies to look at a range of potential sources of financing their work.


Do I need to include in-kind support?

This is dependent on how you choose to construct or present your budget, but it is helpful if you can demonstrate external partnership support. In kind support may include things such as a venue giving you rehearsal space or technical support for free.


I am waiting on the outcome of a grant/funding application; do I include this in the budget?

If this will form an essential part of your budget for the project please include it and give the date of when the outcome of the application will be known.


Can I include projected income from provisional Without Walls dates for the proposed project as part of the creation costs?

We advise you to keep projected touring income separate from your creation costs, as this could lead to cash flow difficulties and cannot be seen as guaranteed income for your creation budget. The number of Without Walls partner festivals that may be interested in booking the show is not guaranteed. However if you have other guaranteed touring income you can choose to include this if you wish.


I know what I want to do but at this stage I don’t know exactly how much the touring will cost? What should I do?

Please provide your best estimate of likely touring costs, based on your plans as they currently exist. We appreciate that at this stage in the development cycle costs may still be subject to change. If your project is shortlisted for 2023 then we will contact you to confirm any changes or updates to your plans (including estimated costs).

A second call out for 2023 projects will also take place in May – July 2022.


I won’t be able to confirm details of my touring requirements or fees until after I’ve completed my R&D process. What should I do?

We understand that some artists won’t be able to fully confirm their touring requirements until they have completed their R&D process, which is why we are running a later submission process between May and July 2022.

This earlier deadline is intended to support artists who are already clear about the creative and financial needs of the project that they want to develop in 2023, and would benefit from an earlier decision about whether Without Walls can support the project.

As Without Walls festivals present the work that we support, we need to have some basic information about the anticipated touring costs, so artists should use their experience to estimate these costs if necessary.


Should I still complete an Arts Council application as well as a Without Walls proposal?

Without Walls cannot guarantee to support every proposal that we receive, so it is advisable for artists to research all possible avenues of financial support for the project.

Do I need to present the work at all the Without Walls festivals?

It is very rare that you will be asked to tour to all the Without Walls festivals. Most artists tour to between 3-6 of the Without Walls festivals in Year One. Please indicate if you have any firm commitments between May – September 2023 that would mean you are not available for any of our Artistic Directorate festivals.

Please note that we do not have a list of confirmed dates for the festivals in 2023 but the dates for 2022 festivals are as follows:


Brighton Festival

7th – 29th May 2022


Norfolk & Norwich

13th – 19th May 2022 (esp. 21st – 22nd May)


Salisbury International

27th May – 19th June 2022

11th – 12th June 2022


Timber Festival

1st – 3rd July 2022



1st – 3rd July 2022


Certain Blacks

22nd – 24th July 2022


Stockton International Riverside

4th – 7th August 2022


Just So

19th – 21st August 2022


Greenwich & Docklands International

26th Aug – 10th September 2022


Most festival dates are likely to form a similar pattern in 2023.


Can I choose which Without Walls festivals I go to?

No, the festivals select the shows that they think will best meet the needs of their programme, and it is unlikely that they can present all the projects.


If I receive a grant from Without Walls can I still tour to other festivals that are not part of the network?

Yes, we encourage you to secure additional bookings – although please be aware that some festivals may request that you do not perform in the same city or town within a set time period of your performance. If you are unsure of this please check.


Do I need to tell you about any provisional bookings for the project?

Yes, please indicate any firm or provisional bookings. If you are supported by Without Walls we will ask you to prioritise Without Walls festival bookings.

What happens after I submit my proposal?

You will receive a confirmation email to confirm receipt of your application. All the proposals will be circulated to all the members of Without Walls and discussed at a series of selection meetings between January – March 2022.

Artists submitting proposals for 2023 creation and touring support will be notified of whether their proposal has been successful by the end of April 2022.


What happens if my project is shortlisted?
You will be contacted by Without Walls by the end of April 2022 to let you know whether your project has been shortlisted. At that point we may ask for an update on your plans or for further information about the material you have provided.

We will also provide you with an update on our planned timeline for confirming 2023 programme decisions. This will in part be informed by Arts Council England’s NPO application timeline and may therefore be subject to change.


How can I find out more about Without Walls?

You can look at our website



For further information please contact the Without Walls management team:

This is a list of words and phrases that we use in our application process, the definitions are to offer clarity on what we mean by these terms within the context of the open call, they may be used differently in other organisations or groups.

  • Access – When we talk about making work more accessible, we mean removing the barriers which disabled people may face accessing the arts and providing solutions to ensure everyone can experience the arts.
  • Artistic Directorate – The Without Walls Artistic Directorate is made up of some of the UK’s most highly regarded outdoor arts organisations and festivals. The Artistic Directorate partners all invest their own commissioning funds into the Without Wlals programme of new outdoor shows and present a selection of the works at their festivals and events. Click here to find out more about the partners that make up the Artistic Directorate.
  • Arts Council England – Arts Council England (ACE) is the national development agency for creativity and culture. They invest public money from the government and The National Lottery to help support arts and culture across England. ACE is the major funder of Without Walls. Click here to find more information.
  • Blueprint – A Without Walls investment programme dedicated to supporting Research and Development projects. See definition of Research and Development below.
    BSL British Sign Language
  • Consortium – A consortium is an alliance of companies, individuals, or other entities that work together to achieve a specific objective.
  • Creation Support – Without Walls uses the term ‘creation support’ to describe funds that we provide to artists to help them create new work.
  • Creative Case for Diversity The Creative Case for Diversity is the framework that Arts Council England uses for approaching questions of diversity. The Creative Case for Diversity is a way of exploring how arts and cultural organisations and artists can enrich the work they do by embracing a wide range of influences and practices. You can find out more about the Creative Case for Diversity here.
  • Diversity – Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.
  • Environmental Sustainability – Without Walls recognises the role that it needs to play in tackling the climate emergency. This includes facilitating opportunities for artists and festivals to explore how they can make the creation and touring of their work more environmentally sustainable. Environmental sustainability is defined as responsible interaction with the environment to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources.
  • In-kind support – Support in kind means a non-cash contribution to your project, such as materials or services that are provided free of charge or at a reduced rate.
  • Match Funding – Match Funding is funding from other sources. Without Walls is supported through Arts Council England Lottery funding. This means that Without Walls funds cannot count towards the minimum 10% match funding threshold required by ACE National Lottery Project Grants.
  • National Lottery Project Grants – This is one of the main ways in which artists can receive funding from Arts Council England. Visit the Arts Council England page on Project Grants for more information.
  • NPO, short for ‘National Portfolio Organisation’ – National Portfolio Organisations are leaders in their areas, with a collective responsibility to protect and develop our national arts and cultural ecology. They receive long-term funding from Arts Council England. Without Walls has been a NPO since 2018.
  • On costs – All performance-related costs that are not included in your presentation fee (=artist fee), This could include accommodation, transport, per diems and technical costs to be covered by the presenter.
  • Outdoor Arts – Outdoor arts, also called street arts, includes many different art forms including theatre, dance, music, puppetry, comedy, pyrotechnics, visual art, digital art and circus. Outdoor arts take place in public space in a variety of contexts including city and town centres, shopping centres, high streets, parks and a variety of rural locations. Outdoor arts can take place in daylight or darkness throughout the year, and are often (but not always) presented in the context of a festival, and often (but not always) free of charge to attend.
  • Partnership – An association between two or more people, groups or organisations
  • Presentation fee – Your artist fee for presenting the work. This usually does not include accommodation, transport, per diems and technical costs associated with your performance to be covered by the presenter.
  • R&D – Short for Research and Development [see full definition below]
  • Research and Development – Going through a Research and Development phase means that a person or group takes time to develop a new idea or explore a new way of working.
  • Touring show – A touring show would visit a number of locations over a period of time, and would be designed to be presented in a variety of locations
  • Touring Support – Without Walls uses the term ‘Touring support’ to refer to financial support that we provide to festivals to help them present a Without Walls show/work.
  • Without Walls – Without Walls is a consortium of festivals and organisations dedicated to supporting the development, creation and touring of new work by UK artists. Without Walls is a commissioning and touring network, not a funding programme.
  • Work led by – Without Walls will consider a project to be ‘led by’ a particular group of people if the majority of key creative team members identify as belonging to that group. This means that some projects may be able to answer ‘Yes’ in more than one category. Please refer to the guidance notes for more detailed information.