What are the 'Live Now' commissions?
What are we looking for?
The Lowry is thrilled to announce three commissions of £10,000 each for mid-career artists and companies to create new work for the lockdown age for presentation via our #LoveLowry programme, through which we collate and present a series of online performances, exhibitions and more for audiences while our doors are closed.
A year into these strange times, we want to provide space for artists to reimagine their practice for digital stages like ours, to explore how best we can connect to each other and to the art we consume when we are so physically removed from the performance.
We want to know what ‘digital performance’ means now, when venues are closed, and what it will mean when venues reopen. How can it offer audiences an experience that is more than a stand in for live performance? What can digital storytelling bring to a narrative that live, on-stage performance can’t? How can we nurture this new wave of creativity for digital platforms, and make space for it as part of our industry even when our doors re-open?
One of the main challenges of digital performance is our changed relationships with audiences. How do you create a sense of connection when each audience member is watching from a different location? How do you give the audience the kind of agency they expect from other digital interactions? How do you put them at the heart of what you are making, and how do you keep them there?
This investment in new live digital pieces will support artists to pivot into making for digital platforms, and pave the way for a new type of performance to start sitting within our programming.
We are looking for projects that:
- Can be both fully made and experienced under lockdown conditions as they stand now, by December 2021
- Offer a high quality experience which embraces the possibilities of interactive digital storytelling and involves an element of audience agency or interactivity
- Are based in a live interaction between the artist and the audience
- Have access as a core consideration
- Can be delivered via a digital platform that you will manage directly yourself
We are less interested in:
- filmed performances of productions where the audience is a passive spectator
- adaptations of existing plays or other texts
- Zoom quizzes, escape rooms and choose-your-own-adventure projects as these are well-explored approaches already
The ideal applicants:
- are individual artists, companies or collectives of artists with an established practice and track record for creating high quality work
- have made at least two full productions previously and performed these to paying audiences in established venues
- are based in the United Kingdom
- have the capacity, infrastructure and experience to deliver on the ambitions of their proposal
- are willing to share their learning with other artists via workshops, blogs or vlogs as part of The Lowry’s Artist Development programme
We want our commissioned artists to reflect our audiences and communities. We encourage applications from people who are underrepresented in the arts, including people who experience racism, identify as working class, have disabilities, are from the LGBTQ+ community, are care experienced or are discriminated against.
How to apply
Please send us a brief expression of interest by 5pm, Friday 26 February. We will ask you to include:
- your contact details
- a short artist or company bio demonstrating how your previous work meets the criteria above
- a description of the work you want to make, including a sense of the narrative or core themes, what the audience will experience and why this idea is relevant right now.
- some information about how you plan to achieve this including what digital platform you will be using and what your process might involve.
(Videos should be no more than 3 minutes).
Alternatively you can download the form as a dyslexia-friendly Word document and email it to us with the subject line “LIVE NOW EOI – your name”
We will also ask you to complete an equal opportunities monitoring form. We will store this separately to your application and will only use this information to help us understand the range of artists we are reaching through our opportunities.
We will then invite shortlisted applicants to develop a fuller proposal for us that should include a more detailed discussion of the project and an indicative budget demonstrating how the project will be delivered. We will offer an honorarium of £100 to applicants at this stage in recognition of the work involved.
We will invite shortlisted applicants to meet us for a chat over Zoom on Tuesday 23 March. We will provide interview questions in advance and are happy to meet any access needs you might have.