BOP Young Artists (2021)

Birds of Paradise is seeking young disabled people from mixed heritage backgrounds and/or who could identify as a person of colour.


The silhouette of a house with many windows, set against a white backdrop, with a light shining through. Emily is kneeling on the ground, holding up the house- demonstrating some shadow puppetry to a group.

BOP Young Artists is an artist development opportunity which provides a space where young disabled people with a passion for the performing arts can learn skills and develop their own creative practice, so they are better able to apply and take part in future creative opportunities they may previously have felt excluded from.

We have so far worked closely with 2 cohorts of 12 young artists – making creative work, developing skills and making connections within the Scottish arts industry.  Our first cohort of artists (2019) has been instrumental in the development of our digital project Locked World and our second cohort (2020) was focussed on working with young people who required remote access to opportunities (regardless of pandemic restrictions) and therefore experienced even greater barriers in finding opportunities for artistic development.  

BOP Young Artists 2021 is focused on reaching people who are under-represented at BOP – this call-out is specifically for young disabled people who are from a mixed heritage background and/or identify as a person of colour.

Applications for BOP Young Artists 2021 will stay open, and we are happy to have more young artists join us throughout 2021 and 2022.

This opportunity is free to participate and reasonable travel expenses will be covered by BOP

“I think the biggest opportunity has been getting to be around other young disabled artists and to begin navigating the industry together… Having that shared sense of community, that shared language, that shared experience is so valuable.”
Emily, BOP Young Artists

“The workshops have been so interesting and insightful and I feel like it’s given me such a good foundation to help me develop my own writing abilities. I am just so impressed with everything we’ve been able to do, the way they’ve been able to support me and all the other artists, and I’ve just enjoyed all of my time with them, honestly.”
Rebecca, BOP Young Artists (Digital)


In the following video, BOP Young Artist Mariam Chaudhry speaks to Morna McGeoch (BOP Development Officer) to find out more about BOP Young Artists (2021). Clipped excerpts of this video are also included in the FAQs below. If you would like to jump to specific sections within the full length video the time codes are as follows:

Video Time Codes

01:32The Project
04:52Creative Experience
06:20Memorable Moments
08:35How to Apply


Who is BOP Young Artists (2021) for?

BOP know that disabled people experience ongoing barriers and often times discrimination, in going about their day to day lives – before even thinking about accessing opportunities within the arts sector.

Barriers and discrimination are often compounded when a disabled person experiences additional barriers or discrimination for others aspects of themselves – for instance, their gender, race or sexuality. 

This is commonly known as intersectional discrimination and BOP wants to be proactive in removing barriers for disabled people who experience this. We want to learn more about the barriers young people are facing and to use our learning to improve access to the sector. 

For BOP Young Artists (2021) the aim is to focus on removing barriers for people who identify as disabled and as someone with a mixed heritage background and/or who could identify as a person of colour.

Please see below to find out more about the full specifications in our selection criteria.

Selection Criteria: Disability

To be able to apply for BOP Young Artists (2021) you must identify as Disabled.

BOP uses the term ‘disabled people’ or ‘disabled artists’ to refer to anyone who self-identifies as disabled. This includes people who are D/deaf, have a mental health condition or have a long term illness. To see the full definition we use, please follow this link.

Being disabled can include lots of different conditions, impairments and differences. This can include being: D/deaf, blind or visually impaired, Neurodivergent (Autistic, Dyspraxic) or learning disabled (maybe you have Dyslexia, Down’s Syndrome or Global Developmental Delay); or having complex mental health condition(s) (like Bipolar disorder, Depression), long term health conditions (like Arthritis or Crohn’s Disease), and genetic conditions (like Cystic Fibrosis or Cerebral Palsy).

Selection Criteria: Race

For this cohort of BOP Young Artists, we are looking to work specifically with people who have a mixed heritage background and/or who could identify as a person of colour.

We have made this decsion because we are aware we need to be more proactive in our diversity. We understand people with the intersectional identities of being disabled and of a mixed heritage background may experience more barriers in accessing opportunities.

  • Language support for English as an additional language will be available if required.

If you are not from a mixed heritage background but are disabled and interested in taking part in BOP Young Artists, you can register your interest in future cohorts here.

Selection Criteria: Location

To be able to apply for BOP Young Artists (2021) you must have a home base in Scotland.

See below for more information about where the activity will take place.

Selection Criteria: Age

BOP understands that many disabled people face increased barriers well into their 20s, so we allow anybody aged 16 up to and including the age of 30 in our projects for young people.

Selection Criteria: Artform

To be able to apply for BOP Young Artists (2021) you should be interested in an artform that is related to the performing arts. This could include: writing; dancing; directing; costume design; video design.

What will happen at BOP Young Artists (2021)?

What will happen at BOP Young Artists?

We don’t know all the details yet because we haven’t met you yet!

The selected group of young people will have individual meetings with our Development Officer – Morna McGeoch (see BOP staff) – they will work with you to find what you are interested in learning / gaining from being part of BOP-YA (2021). 

Together, you will decide on some goals, and the BOP team will support you to move towards those goals. There will also be training and resources designed to support your creative development.

Throughout the project the group will work creatively with theatre-maker Niloo-Far Khan (you can find out more about Niloo’s work here), as well as group workshops / events with a number of other artists of colour and disabled artists of colour.

Some ideas of what these workshops could focus on are: playwriting; movement; using music onstage; making art accessible; design for theatre. These are just ideas – we are very open to exploring any fields of interest that have a connection to the performing arts.

There will be opportunities to share the ideas you have been working on – this mights be a short film, a rehearsed reading of your writing, or a digital artwork, shared via our website or as a live performance (depending on social distancing measures at the time).

Do I need to have any previous experience?

We understand that some disabled people experience barriers preventing them from taking part in creative opportunities, so because of this we do not expect you to have taken part in previous creative opportunities. 

However, we do expect you to have a passion for creating performance – perhaps you love creating short films, or maybe you enjoy writing, or taking photographs, or dancing – all we are looking for are young disabled people who have an interest in making creative work.

What will I gain from taking part?

BOP Young Artists provides space for building a community of disabled young artists where they can connect, develop and grow through creative activity and collaboration.

You will:

  • Gain skills and knowledge around disability equality
  • Gain skills and knowledge in multiple creative areas – for example movement and music
  • Create your own access statement – thinking about the barriers you experience and what you need to be able to do your best creative work
  • Increase your knowledge about the arts sector in Scotland
  • Develop networks across the Scottish creative industry 

We aim to work with each young artist for at least one year, before supporting them in taking their next steps creatively.

You can read about the individuals who are part of BOP Young Artists here.

When and where will it happen?


Starting in September, for BOP Young Artists 2021 we will meet every 2-4 weeks either online (via internet-based video calls) or in-person.

As well as group workshops / training sessions, you will also have individual meetings with the Development Officer, Morna, where you will set yourself goals for your individual artistic development.


BOP is a Glasgow based theatre company and traditionally our in person workshops take place in Glasgow.  We imagine that we will be operating a mix of in person and remote sessions for this cohort.

If you are not in Glasgow or are able to get to Glasgow easily please do not let this stop you from applying because we are sure we will be exploring hybrid models of participation and we do not want geography to be a barrier to your participation. 

Once the cohort is selected we will collectively work out ways of working that suit everyone.

How much does it cost?

BOP Young Artists is free for all people to take part. 

BOP will pay for reasonable transport costs. We may book travel tickets for you, or we may ask for you to pay for your own travel and then reimburse your expenses.

What if I have access requirements?

BOP will always work to whatever your access requirements are and we have a specific budget set aside to overcome any barriers that may have an associated cost – we do not want an individual’s access requirements to be a barrier that prevents them from taking part in BOP Young Artists.

The application form (link below) has space where you can detail any communication requirements you might have that would be important for us to know about during the selection process. People who are successful in applying will then be asked in more detail about any access requirements they have.

We will work together with you to decide on how we can support you to take part. 


To apply, fill out an online application form by clicking here. Scroll down to watch a video explainer of the application process.

If this form is not accessible to you, some other options to complete the form are:

  • As a Word of PDF document
  • As a spoken or BSL video
  • Via telephone or video call – we can talk to you and fill out the form

To arrange any of these alternative formats, please email or call 0141 552 1725

NO DEADLINE: Apply anytime in 2021 or 2022

If you have any further questions, please contact Morna at

BOP Young Artists is supported by: