Without Walls is the UK’s largest commissioner of outdoor art shows, taking inspiring new work to audiences all over the country and beyond.

With an outstanding track record for outdoor arts, Without Walls’ work has been recognised by Arts Council England, receiving the largest new National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding award for 2018 – 2022.  This funding allows the network to continue its fantastic work in outdoor arts, planning projects on a longer-term basis and enabling continued commissioning of thrilling outdoor work, reaching audiences at free festivals across the country.

This enhanced commissioning investment is supporting the creation of 13 new outdoor performances, which in 2018, will tour to eight leading outdoor arts festivals across the UK and reach tens of thousands of audience members.

As part of an expanded portfolio of work made possible through the NPO funding, Without Walls announces the new  ‘Blueprint’ Research and Development (R&D) Investment Fund with 21 awards to artists to explore early ideas for bold, innovative and ambitious new outdoor works, with the aim that they will be completed in 2019 or 2020. ‘Blueprint’ signals the start of a four-year rolling programme to support innovative artistic development across the outdoor arts sector, fuelling artistic and strategic development, as well as reaching vast audiences through wide touring.

Without Walls’ Blueprint projects span multiple art forms including circus, contemporary dance, digital art, sound installations, music, puppetry, sculpture, and theatre.

The 21 artists and companies come from across the country and were selected from 120 applications; they include; experimental acrobatic circus ensemble Barely Methodical Troupe; Manchester-based Melanie Wilson, an award-winning multi-disciplinary artist with work underpinned by strong political interest; Oxford-based Radio 3 presenter and founding member of Oily Cart Max Reinhardt with a collective of artists; and a collective of electronic sound artists including Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), Kathy Hinde and Mike Blow.

Josephine Burns, Chair of Without Walls said “Artistic experimentation is key to the development of truly great art, and Without Walls Blueprint R&D investment offers artists the opportunity to explore new ideas at an early stage of the creative process. As we celebrate over 10 years of success, these Blueprint R&D projects signal our investment in the next decade, made possible by the significant support of Arts Council England.”

Alison Clark, Director, Combined Arts and Manchester Arts Council England said “The progression of innovative new projects for outdoor arts is crucial to ensuring that the work continues to excite audiences and it’s great to see such a broad range of artists developing ideas to do this. This long-term investment in R&D is a good example of how our NPO funding benefits the whole sector by allowing organisations in the portfolio the time and resources to expand and advance their thinking and ideas.”

Davina Drummond from the ArtsAdmin produced duo Yara-El Sharbini and Davina Drummond said, “To have this Blueprint investment from Without Walls feels like a dream come true as it allows us to really spend our time to develop this project …. Without this funding, the project would not happen.”

Melanie Wilson, Manchester-based artist said, “What’s really great about Without Walls Blueprint R&D investment is that it is very inclusive of people and very encouraging of people who have never touched outdoor work.”