Barrel Organ and Company

nsdf creates: barrel organ and company


NSDF exists to create new artists, new art and new communities.


We will do this- as we did with our recent virtual Festival- despite the problems of the pandemic, innovating wherever we can to allow more young people from every background to find their home in the arts and to offer life changing opportunities.

Whether it’s through our annual Festival (which next year will celebrate it’s 65th birthday) or through new inventions like the NSDF Lab or our Bigger Room Project, NSDF will continue to be a vital bridge between young people and the creative industries.

We know young people are bearing the brunt of the pandemic: with opportunities to learn, to connect and to create being taken away from them.

At NSDF we believe it is not necessary for a generation to be lost to the arts because of coronavirus.

We believe that our industry can’t afford to lose them.

We believe new voices are the birdsong that will let us know spring has arrived.

So this year will be one of innovation. This year we have begun NSDF CREATES. We’re going to be announcing our full plans in a few weeks. 

For now we’d like to talk about one project, and to invite you to apply for it.

We’re making something with our good friends, the brilliant Barrel Organ.

We’re looking for an emerging company, who will be mentored by Barrel Organ and who will create a new piece of work for NSDF 21.

Here’s Barrel Organ to tell you more…. 

NSDF Creates: Barrel Organ & Company 


NSDF asked Barrel Organ ‘What support do you wish you’d had as an emerging company?’ and we said ‘‘guidance and support from people in the industry who give us the freedom to make what we want to make, whatever it may be”.  With costs of making work at an all-time high and the current COVID-19 crisis making entering the industry even more difficult, young theatre-makers are increasingly unable to access opportunities to showcase their talent and test their ideas.


NSDF have partnered with Barrel Organ to present an opportunity for an emerging company to create a new piece of work in co-production with the critically acclaimed company that will be showcased at the festival next year. Barrel Organ will co-produce the new piece and provide support, mentoring and a meaningful introduction to the theatre industry.




NSDF and Barrel Organ will select one emerging company to partner with to make a new piece of work for the festival in April 2021.



We are looking for an emerging company with an exciting, innovative idea for a new piece of work. The piece can explore whatever you wish, but must be an idea which lends itself to the medium of theatre, and the relationships theatre can create between performer and audience. It must be truly interested in what collaboration and ensemble means, push boundaries and aim to provoke an audience, rather than teach them.


We encourage you to focus on your ideas around content, form and process, and remain flexible with what the physical production will be. When we made our first show together - NOTHING, which was part of the NSDF in 2014 - we set out to make something which could be performed anywhere, in any sort of space, to a range of audiences. We are excited about how to creatively embrace the limitations and uncertainties that theatre (during the current COVID-19 crisis) is currently facing, and we want you to be excited about those challenges too!



We will form the production process together. We want this to  follow as typical a production process as possible, responding to the specific needs of the work. From October 2020 we will work together to research, develop, produce and deliver the project.



The production will be presented at NSDF’s 65th Festival, in April 2021. The aim is for the performance to be live.



We want to ensure each team member is supported during this process, so members of each company will ‘buddy up’ roles. E.g The company's producer will ‘buddy up’ with Producer Ellie Claughton to deliver the project and Ellie will provide mentoring throughout the project and Director Ali Pidsley will ‘buddy up’ with the Director. If Barrel Organ is unable to provide a corresponding ‘buddy’ for a role then additional mentoring will be provided.





    • We are seeking companies who have no professional credits but who have worked together creatively.
    • Companies must be located within the United Kingdom
    • Companies must be free to attend and perform at the festival in April 2021


    If you fit the above requirements then you are eligible to apply and in order to do so please provide the following information:

    • Your company name (if you have one)
    • A little bit about who you are, what makes you tick & why you like creating together
    • The idea - tell us about an idea for a show which you’ve no (idea) clue *how* you would make, but that you really want to have a go at!
    • Tell us about a live experience you’ve had, which wasn’t at a theatre

    You can send us this information in whatever form you wish - you can write it down, put it in a video, a voice message, paint a picture, make a flow-chart. Whatever works for you; its about quality not quantity.


    Please send your application to [email protected] with 'BARREL ORGAN & COMPANY - APPLICATION" clearly stated in the subject line. 

    The deadline is Friday 2nd October, 2020 (midnight). 

    Please email [email protected] with any questions about the application or the project. 



    To find out more about Barrel Organ go to