The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust

Promoting innovation in theatre

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award


For information about applying for the Award, go to the Award page on the Barbican website.

The Award's purpose: to promote innovation in theatre

The purpose of The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award is, in particular, to help the development of emerging practitioners engaged in bold, challenging and innovative performance and, in general, to encourage the new generation of creative artists. It is designed for artists who are at the stage in their career where they can demonstrably benefit from moving onto a fully resourced and funded production. It is there to help artists move on to the next level in their professional career.

The Award is for a company or individual to create a show either for the Pit Theatre, Barbican or a site-responsive, non-traditional show to take place in East London. The winning show, either at the Pit, or, if site-responsive, elsewhere, will be part of the Barbican season.

All types of productions will be considered in terms of scale and length of run: from one-man to larger-scale shows, and from a limited run (not less than 10 performances) to a project, if site-responsive, that could last up to a month.

Bold and innovative projects will be favoured. To apply, go to the Award page on the Barbican website.



Proposals for the Pit theatre

The Pit is a studio theatre space, which is usually configured as single-sided raked seating but can accommodate other configurations. There are 180 seats (or up to 190 seats on three sides, or 200 people for promenade). The dimensions without seats are 15m x 13.5m. The ceiling height varies: the lowest point (under the air vent) is 4.1m.

Proposals for site-responsive work

The judges are looking for a piece of theatre that is inspired by and takes place in a non-theatre space. Proposals must be for productions in spaces that are safely and fully accessible for audience members with disabilities.

Site-specific work can be very complex and expensive, but it doesnít have to be. The final piece should be capable of being presented in places other than the original venue. All applicants should consider designs that could be transferable.

Applicants are recommended to propose making a theatre space in areas that commonly would be found in any urban conurbation: a town square, a shopping centre, a busy street, an office, a house, an industrial site, a waterway, a library, etc.

The Award comprises

Research and Development

R&D grants will be awarded to short-listed applicants. Following the R&D presentations, the winner will be announced.

The R&D period is to physically test precise ideas. With work of this nature, R&D will differ depending on the detail of the individual application. Applicants will be advised specifically what the R&D phase will entail following the interview stage.

The showing at the end of the R&D phase to the panel and an invited audience should be between 10 to 30 minutes.

Guidance and Support

The winning applicant will have guidance and support from the Barbican and The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust. This will primarily be in the following areas: financial management, contracting, press and publicity, long-term strategic development of their work, identifying potential sources of artistic and technical support, advising on technical aspects of the production.

Funding outside of the Award

A maximum of £10,000 (excluding in-kind support, e.g. free or subsidised rehearsal space) may be raised by the winning company/individual in addition to the OSBTT production grant.


Funded by The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust and co-produced by the Barbican.

The Barbicanís theatre and dance events aim to inspire and to push performance boundaries, taking audiences on an unpredictable journey that stimulates the senses. Audiences can explore work by top international artists and discover fledgling new talent in the extensive year-round programme. Season by season, the Barbican produces or co-commissions work that helps to launch the careers of pioneering new artists and nurtures ongoing relationships with world-class companies.