ANNOUNCEMENT: Unity award-winning Open Call opportunity returns following urgent crowdfunder campaign
Thursday, 9 March 2023
- Unity’s award-winning Open Call opportunity to support Liverpool artists returns for 2023, following an urgent crowdfunder campaign
- Unity’s award-winning Open Call programme is back for its third year, providing even more Merseyside creatives with income and the opportunity to be part of their Autumn season
- The programme returns following an urgent plea from the Georgian Quarter-based arts organisation, to keep their vital Open Call programme going
- Aiming to raise £10,000 in three-weeks, the Crowdfunder has now passed the 50% mark, meaning applications are able to open
- To date Unity’s Open Call programme has funded 44 different Liverpool artists and companies, providing nearly £80,000 of support across two years
- As costs rise for all, for 2023 Unity is increasing the fee artists and companies will receive through Open Call by 25%
Unity’s award-winning Open Call programme is back for its third year, providing even more Merseyside creatives with income and the opportunity to be part of their Autumn season.
Open Call provides Merseyside creatives with a guaranteed income of up to £1500, a slot in Unity’s programme and a package of mentoring and digital resources designed to help them grow their career and promote Liverpool talent globally.
Described as “the creative heart of Liverpool”, Unity’s Open Call programme has become a vital resource to creatives across the region since it launched in the pandemic, giving them the opportunity to receive much needed income, develop ideas, see their work come to life and become a crucial career springboard.
Unity’s open call out is available to anybody in the borough of Merseyside or has a Liverpool postcode. The programme funds a huge variety of work including live performances of all genres, early-development work to be tested on an audience, visual art exhibitions, outdoor and offsite events, community and education projects, audio performances, digital productions and more.
The programme returns following an urgent plea from the Georgian Quarter-based arts organisation to keep their vital Open Call programme going. With running costs rising and funding pots shrinking, Unity is facing the prospect of a much-reduced programme for 2023. The newly launched Crowdfunder, aiming to raise £10,000 in 3 weeks, will ensure that local artists are not impacted by this reduction and that the venue can increase the amount of money individual artists receive from Open Call by 25%, in line with rising living costs.
As a result of the overwhelming generosity from the public to date in raising £5000, the venue has today reached the halfway mark of their fundraising drive and has been able to open applications for 2023.
To date Unity’s Open Call programme has funded 44 different Liverpool artists and companies, providing nearly £80,000 of support across two years.
Past Open Call supported events have included theatre, dance, and comedy productions with more than half going on to tour nationally and at festivals. As well as live performances, the programme has also funded life-changing community projects including events in schools and care homes, an interactive storytelling session with Alder Hey Hospital, hip hop dance classes for beginners, a walking-tour of Liverpool exploring women’s safety, monthly family arts workshops in the Toxteth area and an epic cabaret celebrating Liverpool’s incredible Asian community.
As applications for this year’s cohort officially open, Unity hope that 2023’s successful artists and companies will make for an exciting, unique festival of work this coming October, celebrating the immense talent in Liverpool’s creative sector and demonstrating the extreme value of the arts to communities across the entire region. As in past years, the venue will ensure every single successful project has a digitised, BSL or captioned option so that as many as possible can experience the pioneering work being created in the city.
Gordon Millar, Artistic Director, and CEO says
“Over the past two years the Open Call has become synonymous with Unity and epitomises all we stand for in supporting Merseyside artists, telling exciting, diverse stories, and becoming a springboard for creative talent. The artists we have supported through Open Call to date have gone on to tour regionally and nationally because of the opportunities we have given them, and the programme has seen us reach more first-time arts engagers than ever before. As we navigate difficult financial times due to increased running costs, we’re so grateful to the public for supporting Unity and ensuring our cities artistic community does not feel the impact of our reductions. With their help we have been able to increase the amount each artist could receive by 25%. However, we still have a way to go to make sure the number of artists we can support continues to rise. Our crowdfunder is open for another 10 days and the more we raise the more we can say a BIG yes too, so please give if you can”.
Previous Open Call Supported Artists:
“Without this opportunity I would not have my one woman show on the stage this April or have other work in development. It has absolutely progressed me as a playwright. An invaluable programme for Merseyside creatives that has to continue.” – Saphena Aziz, Open Call Supported Artist
“”I can’t even begin to explain the invaluable support Unity Theatre has given me in the last year. Turning a small idea into a tour show! I’ve been so lucky to have had my work in 5 different cities (and more to come!) and all from their open call programme. Please support the Unity crowdfunder to give more artist like me a chance.” – Kazia Cannon, Open Call Supported Artist
” Unity enabled me to create performance work from the safety and comfort of my own home during the pandemic, and has continued to support marginalised artists thereafter. Show support and donate as much as you can.” – Gold Maria Akanbi, Open Call Supported Artist
The deadline to apply for Open Call is SUNDAY 16th April. Artist and companies can apply to 4 different grants here: Open Call 2023 – Unity Theatre (unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk)
The public crowdfunder campaign can be supported here: Support Artists, Change Lives – a Film and Theatre crowdfunding project in Liverpool by Unity, Liverpool (crowdfunder.co.uk)
Business Development Manager, Unity