Open Call: Support for Creation and Touring of outdoor arts shows in 2024

Without Walls invites artists to submit proposals for the creation and touring of new outdoor work for presentation in 2024

Our Open Call is an accessible invitation for artists to submit ideas for ambitious and exciting new outdoor projects to the Artistic Directorate the partners of Without Walls who are responsible for selecting the artistic programme.

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



Live online Q&A: Friday 23 June, 11am – 12:30pm
Deadline for access requests: Monday 26 June, 12pm (mid-day)
Deadline for submissions: Friday 14 July, 12pm (mid-day)


  • 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 2024, please note the work should be available from May – September 2024, and be available to tour to Without Walls festivals where interest lies. It is expected that shows commissioned for 2024 will also be available to tour from April – October 2025, allowing them to tour to Touring Network Partner festivals, if required.

Without Walls has also identified several priorities for development including:

  • Work led by Global Majority artists
  • Work led by Deaf, Disabled and neurodiverse artists
  • Work led by LGBTIQA+ artists
  • Work that incorporates an innovative approach to environmental responsibility
  • Work that takes an innovate approach to the creative incorporation of access
  • Work that can be developed or presented in collaboration with communities

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.

BSL Video


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 Tess Farley at, providing an outline of your access requirements. Please share any access support requests by Monday 26 June, 12pm (mid-day).

Guidance Documents

Please read our guidance document before starting your application, which is available to download below as a PDF, easy read PDF or large print Word Document.

As you will not be able to save your application as you go along, we recommend you also download a template of the application form as a Word Document, to draft responses before copying it into the online application form below. You will be asked to submit a detailed budget identifying how you intend to develop the idea.

If you have any issues submitting your application online, please send a completed Word Document and any supporting attachments to and copy the subject line: Open Call Submission 2024.

Guidance notes (PDF)

Please read this document before starting your proposal

Guidance notes - easy read (PDF)

An easy read version of the guidance notes

Guidance notes - large print (Word Doc)

A large print version of the guidance notes

Application form (Word Doc)

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

FAQs (Word Doc)

Frequently Asked Questions in a downloadable format

Online live Q&A

We will host an online live Q&A on Friday 23 June 11am – 12:30pm

This will be a chance to ask questions about the Creation and Touring Open Call. You will also be able meet some of Without Walls’ festival partners and supported artists. The session will be captioned and BSL interpreted.

In advance of the online Q&A you can also find answers to many of the questions that we regularly get asked in the FAQs section at the bottom of this page.

We also hosted a webinar about pricing outdoor shows on Thursday 25 November 2021. 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.

As part of the Open Call, there will be a series of Meet the Artistic Directorate online sessions, providing further opportunity to hear more from the festival partners involved in the Creation and Touring process. Dates for these sessions will be announced soon.


How can I request support with completing the proposal form?
Please contact Tess Farley at or 0161 843 5270.

I need access support to complete my application. What should I do?
We can contribute towards the cost of an access support worker who can use our online system on your behalf. If you need to use a support worker to complete your application, please contact Tess Farley at We will ask you to provide more details on what type of support you need.

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 Tess Farley 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 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.

If you wish to resubmit a proposal for the same project then you should outline how the idea has changed or evolved since your previous submission. If you resubmit the same material as you provided in the first round, without outlining how the project has changed or evolved, then your proposal is unlikely to be successful.

How do you define “a show that has not toured widely”?
Without Walls’ priority is to support the development of ambitious new outdoor work, not to support revivals of existing work. It is unlikely we would support a project that has toured to more than one of the Artistic Directorate festivals in previous years, and/or has undertaken a tour over one or more years that has taken in more than 5-10 major UK festivals. This is not a hard and fast rule, but the Without Walls Directors are mindful of the commitment to support new work.

Without Walls may make an exception if there was a project that met significant strategic priorities, or has undertaken significant reworking of the original material – but it is best to assume that if the work has already undertaken a UK tour it is unlikely to be supported by Without Walls.

Without Walls can support work that needs to be ticketed or completely free. If it can be presented in outdoor spaces then Without Walls is interested in hearing about it.

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. 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 you are 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, Work Permit or COVID travel restrictions are met.

Who makes the decisions about the programme?
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. Find out more about the partners that make up the Artistic Directorate.

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 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. You can find out more about the Creative Case for Diversity here

Could you clarify the distinction between creation support & touring support?
Most projects supported by Without Walls are shows in which we have invested creation funds, for which we support both the creation and touring. However, in some cases we will support only the touring of a project that has already raised its creation costs from other sources, provided that the show has not already toured widely in the UK, and provided it clearly meets our priorities.

How many grants are available?
There is not a fixed number of grants available. The size of each year’s programme is entirely dependent on the number of projects shortlisted, the funding requirements for each project, and the number of performances that festivals wish to book. In recent years Without Walls has supported between 10 and 15 projects each year through Creation and Touring support.

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; 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 or 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.

What amount can I request?
The largest grant awards that Without Walls has made for creation support in the past have been around £60,000, and these have been for significant large-scale projects. The majority of our grant awards are for £10,000 – £40,000. If your creation budget is higher than this then it is likely that you will need to secure additional funding from other sources to complete the project. When you submit your proposal you should provide a clear outline of your plans for additional fundraising, and when you would expect to be able to confirm outstanding match funding.

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).

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 three to six of the Without Walls festivals in Year One. Please indicate if you have any firm commitments between May to September 2024 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 2024 but that the dates for 2023 festivals are as follows:

Brighton Festival 6 – 28 May 2023

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 12 – 28 May 2023

Timber Festival 7 – 9 July 2022

Hat Fair 30 June – 1 July 2022

Certain Blacks 19 July 2022

Stockton International Riverside Festival 3 – 6 August 2022

Just So Festival 18 – 20 August 2022

Greenwich & Docklands International Festival 25 August – 10 September 2022

Most festival dates are likely to form a similar pattern in 2024.

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 July to October 2023.

For further information please contact the Without Walls management team via

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 Walls programme of new outdoor shows and present a selection of the works at their festivals and events.
  • 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.
  • 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. Please note 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.

Image Credits:
Header image – Sonia Sabri Company © Greta Zabulyte