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Theatre & dance

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award

The production images for HighRise's The UK Drill Project and Zoo Co Theatre's Perfect Show For Rachel side-by-side. Left: a person wearing a face covering and holding flowers kneels in front of a block of flats. Right: a person sits on an animated throne wearing an animated crown, smiling and pointing to the air.

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award helps the development of emerging practitioners engaged in bold, challenging and innovative performance, encouraging a new generation of creative artists.

The Award is for a company or individual based in the UK or Ireland to create a show for the Barbican’s studio theatre (The Pit). The winning show will premiere as part of the Barbican Theatre & Dance season. The proposal must therefore be for an original and unperformed piece of work that is available for production and unattached to any other venue or company.
The Award is designed for artists who are at the stage in their career where they can demonstrably benefit from moving on to a fully resourced and funded production. It is there to help artists move on to the next level in their professional career. 

The two shortlisted artists/companies will recieve:

  • One week of R&D in The Pit and £2,500 to further develop their idea as part of the application process.

The winning artist or company will receive:

  • A three-week slot in the Pit (to include, Get In, Fit Up, Technical Rehearsals, Public Performances & Get Out)
  • A production grant of up to £50,000
  • Programming in the Barbican’s Theatre and Dance season
  • A mentor for the project
  • A full Barbican Marketing and Press campaign for the production
  • World-class technical provision and support from the Barbican Production Department
  • Bespoke producer support and guidance from an experienced Producer from the Barbican Theatre & Dance Department
  • Writing/Meeting space at the Barbican (subject to availability)
  • Invitations to press nights and ticket offers to many Barbican Theatre productions. Periodic invites to Gallery, Music, Cinema events and discounts at Barbican restaurants, café and shop (all subject to availability)

How to apply

The deadline for applications has now passed. Late applications and those not submitted by email will not be accepted. 



  • Monday 10 July 2023, 12 noon: Deadline for applications  
  • August 2023: Barbican will respond to applicants to let them know if they are invited to interview. We will acknowledge every application but regret that we are unable to offer any feedback due to the volume of applications.
  • September 2023: Interviews. We usually interview between 6-8 applicants. After these interviews 2 applicants are shortlisted and given a £2,500 R&D grant to explore their idea further, culminating in a presentation to the panel of judges.
  • Week commencing 8 January 2024 and week commencing 15 January 2024: R&D presentations by the two shortlisted applicants.The 20-30 minute presentations are an opportunity to share with the panel a practical demonstration of the project that is being proposed. After the presentations a winner is selected.
  • Week commencing 14 October 2024: Three-week slot in The Pit of the OSBTTA 2024 winning production. The winning proposal is developed into a full production with support from the Barbican and is presented as part of their 2024 Theatre and Dance season.

Applicants MUST be available for the R&D weeks in January and the three-week slot in October 2024 as these dates are fixed.