Reinvent Performing Arts: FAQs

Graeae Theatre Company

1. What’s the purpose of this funding?

We hope that this support will accelerate existing plans that grantees have in place for re-opening over the next 12-18 months, and deepen the long-term impact of the work that is carried out. We will prioritise work that not only helps organisations get back on their feet, but also tests out newly developed models and ways of working. Through our support for this work, we want to inspire the wider sector with examples of what is possible, and enable it to adapt and thrive in a changing environment.

We are open to supporting a wide variety of plans. However, the work must give support to freelancers and/or fulfil commitments around diversity, equity and inclusion.

2. Submitting a request for funding

2.1 What costs will be considered?

We are flexible on what costs are covered. We are open to supporting:

  • Programme costs that test new models or new ways of working or expand those that have already been tested (including digital, outdoor, underwriting smaller audiences etc)
  • Underpinning essential staff or bringing necessary staff back from furlough
  • Ancillary capital costs e.g. for digital infrastructure or expertise can be a part of the request

We will not support:

  • Contributions to re-building reserves
  • General appeals for funding
2.2 What information does Esmée want in the request?

Those invited to apply will need to answer the three questions below. The whole proposal should be up to 1,000 words (or two sides of A4), but there is not a strict word count, so please don’t spend lots of time editing your text. If it saves time, you are welcome to answer the questions by re-using text from other documents you’ve written such as recent strategic plans or funding bids (e.g. Culture Recovery Fund).

Q1 What will our support help you do?
  • Please briefly describe the main activities you will undertake, any partners you are working with, and when this work will take place.
  • How will this work address the position of freelancers (both artistic and technical) and/or support your commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Q2 The budget for the work
  • How much are you requesting and how will this be spent (e.g. core costs, programme costs etc)?
  • Do you have match funding to allocate to this work (e.g. your own core funds or from another funder) and if so how much?
Q3 What is the background and ambition for the work?
  • How has what you have learned through the impact of the pandemic informed this work?
  • How could this approach have a lasting impact on how you work?
2.3 Can requests be used as match funding?

Yes, with the maximum request being £60k.

2.4 Will Esmée accept bids from two or more organisations working in partnership?

Yes, though the maximum request remains £60k.

2.5 Does this affect current grants/applications?

No, this fund is entirely separate from other funding or any new application to us, so you do not need to discuss the application with your Funding Manager.

2.6 Will Esmée ask for a separate report on this funding?

There will not be any formal reporting requirements for this funding but we do want to learn about the impact of the work through your regular grant reporting. We may also send out a short survey once the work has been completed.

2.7 What is the deadline for applications?

Requests must be submitted by the end of the day (11.59pm) on 17 May 2021.

2.8 When will decisions be made?

Decisions will be made by 30 June 2021.

3. I have not received an invitation letter, could I still apply?

If we have supported you in the past year and your plans to re-open meet the criteria above, please get in touch by 4 May by email to: with 'Reinvent Performing Arts funding' in the subject title.

4. How will Esmée make decisions?

Our decisions will be based on your answers to the three questions above, weighed against our criteria for support. We will not come back to you for further information about the proposal and we don’t need to ask for any further financial information about your organisation.

Decisions for grants up to £60,000 are made by Esmée staff. For Reinvent Performing Arts funding, we will also have input from our Involving Young People Collective.

5. How will the wider sector learn from this funding?

We want to influence longer term practice in the sector, so we will be looking for ways to share ideas and approaches that offer useful insights and learning to other organisations. We will be open to ideas and feedback on the best ways to do this. We will only share learning about the work externally with the knowledge and permission of the funded organisation.

6. Is there any other support available?

In addition to our regular funding, current grantees can apply for Funding Plus support, which is designed to help organisations make the most of opportunities and enable the work we support to have greater impact. The range of support organisations can apply for include training, tech & digital, strategic support and communications.

7. Will you be making more funding available for arts organisations?

Our regular funding remains open to applications from organisations – including those working in the arts – who share our goals. We will also continue to listen and explore ways we can provide extra help.

8. What else are you doing in response to COVID? Are you planning to do anything else?

Last year, when the pandemic began, we made £16m available in emergency response funding. This included £14m in Fast Response Grants to 545 organisations in our portfolio as well as £2m in contributions to COVID pooled funds aimed at smaller organisations that our funding doesn’t normally reach. Earlier this year, we also offered £2m in additional funding to organisations in our portfolio that are led by and for racialised communities. You can learn more about these in the following:

We are also offering additional flexibility on our strategy, applications and on reporting. You can learn more about this here. As mentioned above, we continue to listen and explore ways we can provide extra help.

We’re always grateful for feedback so if you’d like to get in touch about our processes and plans, please email If you’d like to get in touch about your current grant with us, please contact your funding manager.

9. I still have a question, who can I contact?

Please get in touch by emailing