The EVOLVE Artists in Residence scheme, each year, supports three emerging or mid-career artists/companies by providing seed funding for projects, research and development, rehearsal space as well as mentoring and advice from the Playhouse team.

Now in its fifth year of applications, EVOLVE has become an important and rewarding part of the Oxford Playhouse’s work to support artists in the Oxfordshire area. Previous residencies include founder of the award winning company Opera Up-Close, Robin Norton-Hale, as well as the innovative and exciting Flintlock Theatre who have both become regulars within our annual programming.

Laura Elliot, Programme Director at Oxford Playhouse says:

‘The Evolve Artists in Residence scheme is an important and rewarding part of our work with artists in and around Oxford, who we hope will go on to become longer-term associates of the Playhouse.

This year’s artists were all picked after showing a passion and vigour to evolve their practise as well as connect with the region and we are excited to support them in their journey.

We hope the scheme will contribute to the sense of community amongst all those making work in the city, emphasising Oxfordshire as a place for artists to live and work and where audiences can access vital new work.’


Daniel Naddafy, EVOLVE Artist 2018

‘Being a member of the Evolve scheme has been an incredible experience. The mentorship and guidance from the Playhouse team has helped me to develop and grow as an artist. Through the scheme I have been able to access a huge amount of in-kind support which strengthened my first Grant for the Arts application, had numerous opportunities to network and discuss my work with other theatres and most of all given me a safe space to test ideas. I would highly recommend the scheme to anyone who wants to develop or explore their practice’

Flintlock Theatre, EVOLVE artists 2013

‘Becoming Artists in Residence at OP on the EVOLVE scheme has catapulted us forward in our development as an emerging theatre company. The mentoring and support has been simply wonderful and having the OP seal of approval on our work makes all the difference when we're making new connections across the theatre industry.’




Jessica is a freelance director, and part of award-winning fringe theatre company Atticist which she co-founded in 2016. She makes collaborative theatre and enjoys working on both new writing and relevant revivals. Her first full-length professional production, Life According to Saki by Katherine Rundell, won the 2016 Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award and transferred Off Broadway in 2017. Other recent work includes a revival of Steven Berkoff’s EAST in its original London venue, currently nominated for 5 Off West End Awards including Best Director and Best Ensemble, and (as assistant director) Bullet Tongue for The Big House Theatre Company (which supports recent care-leavers at high risk of social exclusion). Jessica is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to return to Oxford - and to Oxford Playhouse, where she directed two student productions while completing a doctorate under Tiffany Stern (then Oxford University’s Professor of Drama): Julian Mitchell’s Another Country and Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.




Kuumba Nia Arts brings African Caribbean people’s histories and contemporary stories to life through theatre and film. A not for profit theatre company based in Oxford since 2009, it was started by Amantha Edmead a local actress and drama practitioner who trained at Guildford School of Acting, and the University of Surrey, Roehampton.

Amantha co-directs the company with John Sailsman, a director, writer, actor and founder of Unity Arts and Darron Edmead a script writer. Together they shape the company’s direction. Their combined theatre and television credits including: Talawa, Little Angel , London Bubble, Doctors, Casualty, EastEnders and BBC's Song Catcher

Kuumba Nia's storytelling theatre is a fusion of drama, song, dance and ritual linked to Caribbean and African roots. They celebrate and explore the black experience in all its shades, sharing universal stories through an Afro-Caribbean lens.




Hidden Track is an award-winning interactive theatre company, pioneering adventures in theatre form that tell accessible political stories to unite and empower unheard audiences.

The company experiments with new forms of storytelling, live gaming and audience interaction to bypass the barriers that can exclude audiences from the arts: developing original theatre while delivering real audience care; strong, emotional narratives; and voices that aren’t often heard on a traditional stage. They endeavour to create work that is accessible to anyone, regardless of background or prior knowledge of theatre. Whoever you are, we want you to feel welcome, comfortable, and entertained.

Their most recent production, Standard: Elite, exploring class and privilege, has toured the UK to critical acclaim and won Best New Writing at Greater Manchester Fringe and Best Newcomer at Brighton Fringe. 

The company is led by writer Elliot Hughes with director Anoushka Bonwick and supported by Producer Beccy Smith. 




Fifth Word is run by joint Artistic Directors Laura Ford and Angharad Jones. They produce and tour ambitious new plays from the most exciting voices around the UK. Their work shines a light on unheard stories bringing fresh, engaging work to theatres and younger audiences. They present plays that entertain, emotionally engage and spark debate relevant to our time and work to nurture regional voices and the next generation of talent.

Fifth Word’s productions include: LAVA by James Fritz (Nottingham Playhouse 2018) WRECK by Toby Campion (Nottingham Playhouse 2017); ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton (Nottingham Playhouse/ UK tour/Arcola Theatre 2017 – nominated for Best New Play by the Writers’ Guild Awards and for Off West End Award for Best New Play; Joint Winner of the George Devine Award); AMATEUR GIRL by Amanda Whittington (UK tour 2014); BONES by Jane Upton (Edinburgh Festival 2011/ UK tour 2012); EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME by Paul Buie (Guildhall Theatre, Derby); PAINKILLERS by Paul Buie (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/East Midlands regional tour).

Fifth Word is a previous winner of the Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Award.



Oxford Playhouse is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2018 EVOLVE Slate Residency.

Applications are invited from emerging and mid-career Black artists or companies from the North of England and should be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 8 October 2018.

To apply, download the application form (Word version | PDF version) and return it by email to Sophie Ruggiero at recruitment@oxfordplayhouse.com

Interviews will take place at Oxford Playhouse the week commencing 15 October 2018, with the residency starting the week commencing 29 October 2018.

In partnership with Slate, an Eclipse movement.

In 2018, as part of the EVOLVE programme we are pleased to announce a new EVOLVE Artist in Residence scheme in partnership with Slate: Black. Arts. World, a radical movement to support Black* artists in the North of England.

This combined residency will support an artist on attachment for a year with the Playhouse.

Slate is designed to support Black artists in the North by offering training, development, commissions, residencies, retreats and production space. The Slate ‘Enablers’ (Black Arts Professionals) support artists to generate long term career sustainability in the independent sector. This is a ground-breaking new programme that will see those who participate work on a local, national and international level.

If you are a Black artist based in the North of England, you can apply to be the first artist supported by this new partnership.

This is the first opportunity delivered in partnership with the Sustained Global Programme.

*To Eclipse, Black includes anyone who is marginalized for their race or ethnicity.

January 2019
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