BOP Artists

BOP Artists is a new residency opportunity for disabled artists in Scotland to develop their skills and an idea for a new project that will impact on career and practice in the longer term. Working in partnership with National Theatre of Scotland, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company will offer three artists the opportunity to develop their skills, networks and ideas through the following phases:

Introductory phase – June to August 2017
Skills Development phase – September to October 2017
Ideas Development phase – November to December 2017

BOP knows that a career in the arts is not straightforward for anyone and recognises that disabled artists face increased barriers; from starting out to working professionally. To mitigate these barriers we are working in various ways across the sector to offer development opportunities to artists. This opportunity has been created to support artists with an exciting and strong idea that would benefit from some time, resources and expertise to flourish.

The aim of this residency is to benefit the careers of 3 disabled artists in Scotland both in terms of skills and ideas development. The residency outcomes are:

  • More and better work created and shared by disabled artists
  • Three disabled artists have increased skills and confidence to take careers forward

Artists of all mediums (e.g. writers, painters, dancers) are invited to apply but project ideas submitted must be performance based.

Selection will based on the following criteria. Artists will be shortlisted and put forward for interview and 3 artists will be selected.

  • How exciting the panels find the idea the artist has proposed
  • How beneficial being involved in the residency will be to the artist’s career

For a full breakdown of the criteria, please go to “What are you looking for in applications?” in the FAQs section below.

INTERVIEWS – Thursday 8th June

People wishing to be considered for this opportunity must be available to attend in person for the following dates:

Monday 25 September – Friday 29 September 2017
Monday 6 November – Friday 10 November 2017


All building based activity will take place in spaces with level access. If you have other access requirements, please let us know on the application form and we will work to accommodate your needs at all stages.

You can complete the application form and answer our questions in a variety of ways:

  • Online via this form
  • Using a paper form – email for a copy
  • Over the phone – 0141 552 1725 – we can talk to you and fill in the form
  • In person can be arranged if you require a scribe to work with you

Frequently Asked Questions

What is BOP Artists?

BOP Artists is Birds of Paradise Theatre Company’s development activity for emerging and establishing disabled artists. BOP is aware that disabled people face barriers in the arts at all sorts of levels – from audience members through to artists and each year BOP will look at identifying development areas for artists at different stages. We will do this by creating opportunities to work with us or others. We will often create these opportunities in partnership with other organisations. This year we are working with National Theatre of Scotland who are sharing their fantastic new building base, Rockvilla, their expertise and resources to support us in providing these residency opportunities.

We want the artists we have worked with to leave us feeling more confident and able to navigate the next stage of their career or development as an artist. The aim of this residency is to benefit the careers of 3 disabled artists in Scotland both in terms of skills and ideas development. The residency outcomes are:

  • more and better work created and shared by disabled artists
  • three disabled artists have increased skills and confidence to take careers forward

Why is it happening?

BOP and National Theatre of Scotland have created this opportunity because we feel there are talented individuals who may not be able to access the resources they need to develop as artists. We want to invite people to come forward to us with ideas for development and to be secure in the knowledge that we will support them through an accessible environment and experience but also challenge them creatively and critically. National Theatre of Scotland and BOP have many combined years of experience in artistic development and BOP are aware of the importance of tailoring work so that people’s access requirements are fully met. BOP knows that by creating a truly accessible opportunity, one tailored to the individual, we can free an artist to concentrate on their work.

When and what will happen?

The project will run in three phases. This is to allow plenty of time to get to know you and to inform the following stages of the project.

Introductory phase – June to August 2017
Time to get to know you, your access and artistic development needs so we can fully support you in the following phases. This will include a one to one introductory meeting to discuss the idea and requirements in details to happen some time in June, around your availability. During the week of 24th July there will be a one day group workshop, geared towards each artist creating their own personal access statement.

Skills Development phase – September to October 2017
Four days of group workshops and skills development in a range of theatre techniques (i.e. dramaturgy, directing, and design) that will consolidate your knowledge of making performance and guide the refinement of your personal idea development plan – week of 25 September.

Ideas Development phase – November to December 2017
A week of individual development on your idea for a performance based project with a matched mentor and other sector professionals chosen to support your ambitions – Week of 6th November.

How will we work with selected artists?

The aim of this project is the development of individual artists and their idea. We want you to gain skills and confidence in developing your work that will benefit you in the long run. The aim of the residency is not to make a finished piece of work but to create a space for you take take an idea as far as you would like in the time and space provided.

Selected artists will come to Glasgow on three occasions – Access session, Skills Development week and Ideas Development week.

The Access session will provide an opportunity for us to get to know you well, for you to meet as a group ahead of the skills and ideas development weeks and for us to work with you on creating access statements that will help us in our planning and you in future work.

During the skills development week you will work on core skills and we will spend some time with you identifying development needs and what resources you may need in place for the residency week.

The ideas development week will be designed to support you to work on your own idea with overlap with the other artists for sharings and discussions. You will work with mentors or professionals who can help you to move your ideas forward, closer to realising a finished work (though a finished work is not the goal of this project).

Costs and commitments

There are no costs for the individual. We aim to cover all travel, accommodation and access costs that may be required. This is a development opportunity and as such there is no fee attached to cover time. Each artist has a budget allocated to them to pay for any resources we need to bring in – this could be people or materials. We will discuss this with each artist so you understand and are involved in how your budget is being spent.

The overall project budget will be spent on bringing in external people, materials, equipment, catering, travel, accommodation and access costs.

Who can apply to take part?

This opportunity is open to disabled artists across all artforms, with an idea for a new performance work (including theatre, music, sound, movement, film, storytelling, spoken word etc). We are looking to support bold and vital performance ideas that will move forward your practice and career.

To be eligible to apply you must be:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • identify as a D/deaf, disabled or having a long term health condition
  • aspire to a professional career in the arts
  • have a quality idea to develop or a skills development need that can be addressed in the development time
  • want to work on a performance based project, even if your past work has not been performance based (eg painters or writers)
  • be able to demonstrate that you’ve undertaken a relevant artistic project (outwith formal studies) to demonstrate career readiness
  • be based in Scotland

You must not:

  • be in full time education
  • have already been selected for a residency on National Theatre of Scotland’s Starter programme (those that took part in Starter for Ten or flip Artists can apply)
  • submit more than one proposal

What does it mean to identify as disabled?

In our eligibility list we talk about identifying as disabled. Here are some ways of thinking about disability that may help.

What does BOP mean when it uses disabled? BOP uses the term disabled people or artists to refer to anyone who self-identifies as disabled. This can include D/deaf people if they identify as disabled as well as others living with impairments (physical, sensory, learning, cognitive, mental health, etc) that identify as disabled. BOP uses the Social Model of Disability and recognises that some people experience disabling barriers.

BOP recognises that some D/deaf people may not identify as disabled. There are three predominant terms are used with regards to deafness – ‘Deaf’, ‘deaf’ and ‘D/deaf’. To be deaf (small d) means you have a hearing loss but you do not identify as part of the Deaf Community. Generally deaf people use oral communication. They may have some knowledge of SSE (sign supported English) but this does not make them culturally deaf. Deaf – with a capital “D” – is used to refer to people who are culturally Deaf. These people actively use British Sign Language or Scottish Sign Language; they see themselves as being culturally Deaf and part of the Deaf community. D/deaf is used to refer to both groups of people and on occasion BOP use it distinctly from disabled. However, in most of our work when we use the term disabled we are also thinking about D/deaf people.

The legal definition of disability is defined by the Equality Act. You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

What are you looking for in applications?

In assessing the application based on the criteria the panels will be asking themselves the sort of questions that are listed below. Use these to help you write your application.

How exciting the panels find the idea the artist has proposed

  • Does the idea feel innovative and fresh?
  • What is surprising or unique about the idea?
  • Does the scale of the project feel appropriate?
  • Is there enough potential to sustain the development week?
  • What might the development week produce?
  • Does the idea feel current and relevant?
  • Does it have the potential to excite other people?

How beneficial being involved in the residency will be to the artist’s career

  • To what extent will the opportunity impact on you or your career?
  • What barriers have you faced in that past and how will this opportunity help you?
  • Are you passionate about your idea and its development?
  • Are you passionate and committed to your skills development?
  • Do you demonstrate an ongoing commitment to working in the arts?

How do I apply to take part?

To apply you will complete an application form and supply us with evidence of your work and idea. We want to make the application process as accessible as possible and we are happy to support you with completing the application in a way that is accessible for you. However, we cannot help with developing ideas and content for your application. This is because this opportunity is for people who already have experience of making work, developing ideas or working as an independent artist. The opportunity is for emerging or establishing artists and not those just starting out. While we are happy to mitigate barriers that make it challenging to apply to opportunities such as this your idea should be formed and evidence of your ability to make work evident.

You can complete the form and answer our questions in a variety of ways:

  • Online via this form
  • Using a paper form – email for a copy
  • Over the phone – 0141 552 1725 – we can talk to you and fill in the form
  • In person can be arranged if you require a scribe to work with you

I need help applying

Please refer to the information above. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions at any stage. We will be clear about what we can and cannot do and if we feel this is not the correct opportunity for you.

What is the deadline?

Friday 26th May at 5pm

When are the interviews?

Interviews will take place Thursday 8th June at Rockvilla or remotely via Skype or similar.

Who will be selecting the artists?

BOP and NTS will have representatives selecting the shortlist and staff on the interview panel.

Shortlist Panel: Garry Robson, Artistic Director, BOP
Mairi Taylor, Executive Producer, BOP (Project Lead)
Callum Madge, Projects Officer, BOP (Project Coordinator)
Caroline Newall, Head of Artistic Development, National Theatre of Scotland
External disabled composer – Amble Skuse
Interview Panel: Robert Gale, Artistic Director, BOP
Mairi Taylor, Executive Producer, BOP
Anna Hodgart, Artistic Development Producer, National Theatre of Scotland (Project Partner Lead)

I do not meet the criteria but need help - what can you do for me?

We would still be very happy to hear from you and offer you advice. We may have some ideas about what you could do or who you could talk to.

I do not need the support of this residency but as a disabled artist would like to get involved

Please get in touch – we may be able to involve you in the selection process or you may be able to mentor or be involved during the residencies.

How is it funded?

BOP and National Theatre of Scotland are using core funds to run this residency. You can find out more about about the companies here on this website and on National Theatre of Scotland’s website