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This opportunity is now closed for applications - thanks to everyone who applied


Moving Parts Scratch Space at Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2024


Moving Parts Arts is seeking proposals from puppet / visual theatre creators who need a platform to test out new work and collect feedback from audiences. This edition of the Scratch Space will take place at Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Newcastle Puppetry Festival has gone annual! Taking place across the city and includes performances and workshops for adults, children and families, as well as talks, training and networking events for professionals. The festival won The Journal Culture Award for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2018, who have recently nominated our 2023 festival for the Best Event or Exhibition award. Newcastle Puppetry Festival attracts 10,000 people with each edition, a bubbling mixture of local residents, people from around the UK and visitors from all corners of the world. You can find out more about the festival here: 


We are testing a new model for the Scratch Space this year. Instead of spreading micro-bursary pots thinly across 5 companies, we are instead offering one more substantial small pot to 1 company. This change has been made with the hope of providing more meaningful support to allow a puppet theatre piece to develop further. This is an experiment and we will evaluate how this change works throughout the opportunity.


Bursary award for successful applicants:

  • A bursary grant of £1,000.00 will be given to support the successful applicant.

  • It is envisioned that this bursary would be used for travel costs, performance materials or as a contribution towards artist time, however it can be used by the successful applicant in whichever way is needed towards the creation of the proposed piece. 

  • We encourage successful applicants to use this bursary grant as match funding in other grant applications to support their piece. Guidance can be given on this to the successful applicant on request.


What does ‘scratch space’ mean?

  • The Moving Parts Scratch Space is a platform for puppet theatre creators to try out new work to collect feedback from audiences. 

  • ‘Scratch’ means that the work showcased can be early on in its development - it doesn’t need to be a fully-realised piece. Think of it like a developing sketch. 

  • The Scratch Space is a platform to experiment, to play, to test ideas and a chance to include audiences in the development process. 

  • You can watch summary videos of previous Scratch Spaces to get a flavour here: 


How and when will work be presented to audiences?

  • The selected piece will be presented live in-person to audiences at the 5th edition of Newcastle Puppetry Festival between 30th March - 7th April 2024. The piece may be performed up to two times at the festival (on the same day) depending on what is best for the successful applicant and the festival schedule. 

  • The venue is yet to be selected as this will depend on the age rating for the proposed piece.  


What other benefits do I get from the opportunity?

  • Three nights of accommodation provided.

  • The successful artist/company will have an initial zoom to discuss ideas, followed by an online dress rehearsal or step-by-step explanation of the piece ahead of the live in-person performance.

  • Members of the Senior Production team will attend the performance, offer feedback and discuss pathways for the piece.

  • Feedback from audiences to help shape the future of your piece.

  • £30.00 per diem per person on performance day.

  • The opportunity to network with other puppeteers and professionals.

  • Festival passes to access shows.

  • Highlights video of the piece to be used for future marketing and show development. 

  • Some previous Scratch Space artists have gone on to be booked at festivals in their main programmes thanks to this opportunity.

  • The whole festival will run 30th March - 7th April 2024. Successful applicants are of course welcome to stay and enjoy the duration of the festival, however this opportunity can only provide accommodation/other support between 30th March - 2nd April 2024. 


What piece can I apply with?

  • We really encourage artists to explore their own style. 

  • It can be created for a child or adult audience, or both! 

  • The main requirement is that the piece must heavily feature puppetry, object theatre or visual theatre elements. 

  • Pieces will most likely be a maximum of 30 minutes or less - we do not expect you to present a full-show. 

  • You can submit pieces which have been performed at other scratch events or similar but we will not accept work that has been performed on a professional platform, such as a paid ticketed event. 

  • We particularly welcome entries that have been specifically created for this opportunity.

  • We welcome applications from artists creating indoor and outdoor work. Your piece could be a theatre show, a walkabout act, a cabaret act, an outdoor experience etc.   

  • We advise that your tech requirements are kept to a minimum and instead you focus on the puppetry and storytelling of the piece.

What will I need to take part?

  • If you are selected, you will need to provide us with a photograph for marketing purposes. This is so we can include you in the festival brochure and help promote your performances.

  • A flexible attitude with your tech requirements. We will provide basic sound and lighting for indoor shows but will most likely not be able to accommodate complicated requests.

Who can apply?

  • This opportunity is open to any UK-based artist(s) at any stage of their career. 

  • We are especially keen to hear from those who consider themselves from underrepresented groups within the creative industries workforce, including people with disabilities and those from the Global Majority.

  • Applicants and all company members must be aged 18+.


How do I apply?

  • Complete the online application form with as much information as possible by clicking the button below.

  • Send any accompanying visual/audio material to with SCRATCH SPACE APPLICATION in the subject heading. It really helps us get a sense of your piece if you can send a short video - even if it is just 1 minute of rough material filmed on a smartphone. 

  • We ask that you describe any content warnings or thematic issues that the piece may raise, as well as an age-appropriate guide within your application. These can be discussed with the team if your application progresses. 

  • Please note that we do not accept WeTransfer due to the time limit on downloading files. Please send your video/photos via a Dropbox link or as a website link to YouTube, Flickr or similar along with any passwords to access the material. 


Closing date: Sunday 10th December 2023, 11pm

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