After several months of preparation Without Walls has launched our Open Call for projects to tour in 2020 and 2021. You might notice a few changes from previous years, so we thought it would be worth giving everyone an outline of what’s new, and some insight into why we’ve been making these changes.



You might already have noticed that this year’s Open Call is taking place earlier than it has done in the past.

One of the things that artists have always told us is that our existing application timelines leave very little time between people receiving funding confirmations and being expected to premiere the work.

Up until now, that’s been very difficult to change, as Without Walls only received funding for 2 years at a time. That changed in 2018 when Without Walls became an Arts Council England NPO for the first time. That means that we’re now funded for 4 years, rather than 2; we’re able to take a more long-term approach in our planning and scheduling.

We hope that by moving our application process earlier in the year artists will have more time to develop their work before it goes on the road.

We’re conscious that whilst shifting the timeframe is likely to come with benefits, it may also come with some complications. Running the application process between May and July means that many companies who work outdoors may already have shows on the road. We’ll be keeping a close eye on everyone’s feedback to judge how well the change of timing works for them, and we’ll use that to inform our scheduling for future years.


Future programming:

This year we’re also inviting people to submit proposals for work that will be suitable to premiere in 2021, as well as proposals for 2020.

This is something that Without Walls has included as part of various Open Calls in the past. It provides those artists who are planning longer-term to bring their projects to our attention at an earlier stage of development. This is often particularly important for projects that might be larger in scale or have more complex presentation requirements.

The festivals that make up the Without Walls Artistic Directorate will review these proposals as part of the Open Call. If there are any projects that they would like to consider programming for 2021 then we will contact those artists at the end of October for project updates, and to discuss the next steps in their planning.


Applying online:

You’ll also have noticed that the Without Walls website has undergone some pretty big changes in the last couple of months. One of the big changes is that applications can now be handled online, rather than via email.

This helps to streamline our handling of applications, and hopefully makes the process more secure. Again it would be great to receive people’s feedback on how they’re finding the new application process – particularly from an access point of view.


More information:

One of the other things that our new website does is allow us to share more information in different ways. We are looking to identify ways of giving more insight into how the commissioning process works and hopefully answering any questions that you might have.

We are also scheduling several opportunities to speak directly to the XTRAX team who are facilitating the application process. This will include opportunities to meet face-to-face at upcoming festivals or to take part in an online webinar.


Details of our upcoming advice events are:

Fri 14th June, 4pm: Facebook Live on the Without Walls Facebook Page.

Sat 22nd June:  Meet the Team: Greenwich+Docklands International Festival

Sat 6th July: Meet the Team: Hat Fair

Information about how to join us on Facebook Live will be announced soon. To arrange a meeting with the team at GDIF and Hat Fair contact David Morgan, Programme Manager for Without Walls at


If you’d like further advice or information then you can also contact the XTRAX team at any point on 0161 227 8383.