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Moving Parts Scratch Space at Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2023


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 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Newcastle Puppetry Festival takes place once every two years 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. 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: 


Bursary award for successful applicants:

  • A bursary grant of £400 will be given to support each selected piece. There are 5 bursaries available.

  • 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 successful applicants in which ever way is needed. 

  • If desired, successful applicants can use the bursary grant towards their match funding targets for grant applications.


What does ‘scratch space’ mean?

  • The Moving Parts Scratch Space is a platform for puppet / visual 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 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 at the bottom of this page.


How and when will work be presented to audiences?

  • The Moving Parts Scratch Space will be presented live in-person to audiences at Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2023.

  • 5 different artists/companies will each present work to audiences at the festival on 9th April 2023 at The Cluny.


What other benefits do I get from the opportunity?

  • Three nights of accommodation provided 8th-10th April 2023 (check out 11th). This will be in dormitory/youth hostel accommodation. You may need to share dormitory rooms with other Scratch Space companies, however no rooms that we book will be shared with the general public.

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

  • Lunch and evening meals for three days

  • The opportunity to network with other puppeteers and professionals

  • Tickets to shows presented on 10th April 2023 at the festival.

  • Inclusion in a summary video of the Scratch Space

  • 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 8th-16th April 2023. 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 8th-11th April 2023. 


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 presented must be maximum 30 minutes or less - you do not need 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 welcome entries that have been specifically created for this opportunity although this is not a requirement.

  • 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.   

  • Please note that there will be very limited tech time on the performance day. We advise that your tech requirements are kept to an absolute 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 hi-res 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 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, those from the Global Majority and LGBTQIA+ people.

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


How do I apply?

  • Complete the online application form with as much information as possible. You can find the application form by clicking the yellow 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. 

  • 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: Monday 9th January 2023, 11pm


Made possible through funding from Arts Council England. 

Moving Parts Scratch Space

at Beverley Puppet Festival 2022

Moving Parts Scratch Space

at Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2021 (Online)

Moving Parts Scratch Space

at Beverley Puppet Festival 2020 (Online Edition)

Moving Parts Scratch Space

at Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2019

Moving Parts Scratch Space

at Beverley Puppet Festival 2018

Moving Parts Scratch Space

at Skipton Puppet Festival 2017

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