up to £10,000

(a maximum of 1 award in Round 1)

Over the years, Unlimited made increasingly ambitious projects in collaboration with multiple partners across many sectors. As just one example…

…Future Bodies (2018) was a creative collaboration with RashDash that was co-produced by HOME and supported by the Wellcome Trust as well as Arts Council England. As well as a regular team of incredible stage, lighting and video designers (including Rhys Jarman, Joshua Pharo and Sarah Readman) we worked with deaf performers and creatives to incorporate BSL and ‘creative captioning’. Research partners included psychologist Professor Barbara Sahakian from the University of Cambridge, Dr Tim Constandinou from Imperial College London’s Next Generation Neural Interfaces Lab and Dr Anders Sandberg from Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford Unversity. Among MANY others.

One of the reasons we were able to make new work at this scale was because, as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, we were able to bring a level of ‘in kind’ support and cash  that unlocked support from other (often bigger) partners.

This award is for mid-career artists working within an arts producing organisation (that is not an NPO) to unLock further support and/or enhance an ambitious project that is ready for final production.

Please do not apply for support for projects that are in the early stages of a development process or do not have any other confirmed co-producing partners.

For this first unLock award, in honour of Unlimited’s long standing work in sci-art collaborations, we will be prioritising consideration of projects that have scientific institutions or researchers as core creative partners.

“Unlimited have been pioneers in combining theatre and science, fearlessly going where few other companies have gone before in exploring the metaphysical and everyday impact of scientific advances on our lives” Lyn Gardner in The Guardian

The 2024 recipients of the unLock award are Ransack Theatre.

Ransack Theatre are an awardwinning, Manchesterbased company formed in 2014 by friends who graduated together. They make theatre that is storyled, physically dynamic, and curious about space. They work in close collaboration with a rotating team of creative professionals to originate artistically bold and technically inventive theatre, treading the line between art and entertainment. Our core team has always involved company founders Ali Michael (performer/producer), Piers Black (director/writer) and, since 2017, ChiSan Howard (movement director and Resident Associate Artist).
They started life by making siteresponsive work in abandoned buildings in Manchester. Nearly ten years later, Ransack has devised, written, reworked, and dramaturged numerous projects, and while they have left the abandoned buildings behind, some of that immersive spirit lives on in their desire to put the audience at the centre of an experience, and a continued commitment to bring nontraditional theatre audiences to their work.
Much inspires them, including the state of the nation, live music, our families and cinema the last being a form we find ourselves frequently referencing in rehearsal and production. Theyre motivated by the power of theatres collective live experience, but are also interested in cinematic language and genre tropes, which have the ability to engage nontraditional audiences in contemporary theatre in a familiar way.

They are creating a scifi theatre production which will explore the intersection between the climate crisis and space exploration. Inspired by recent astronomical research into exoplanets and planetary systems other than our own, the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe, and the ethical questions thereby raised, Life Out There will encourage gentle reflection on human legacy in the context of the climate breakdown and inspire interest in scientific endeavour and discovery in space.

Future unLock awards will recognise other areas of Unlimited’s historical work and passions by supporting:
• a project that is led by and for LGBTQ+ artists/audiences
• a project to significantly enhance its creative approach to access for Deaf/disabled audiences

– this award is to support ‘creation’ costs only i.e. production and rehearsal costs. Please do not include any touring costs in your submitted budget.
– the amount applied for from the unLock fund should not make up more than 25% of the total ‘creation’ costs of your project budget: if you are applying for the full £10,000 then the total project expenditure for rehearsals and initial production should be a minimum of £40,000.

The deadline to submit an application is midnight 31 January 2024. Successful awards must be spent and accounted for by 31 March 2025.

Please read our Applicant Guidance (audio version coming soon) before submitting your application. This includes our eligibility criteria and a copy of the application questions.

Applicant Guidance

Recording of the Guidance for unAwards:

Frequently Asked Questions – updated 19 Jan 2024

unLock Application Form