Our Industry

Zoonation ‘Some Like it Hip-Hop’ Image credit: Dave Morgan

We are a community of peers spread across the UK working in drama, dance, opera and musical theatre, mime and physical theatre, circus, puppetry, street arts and mixed media. Check out ITC’s latest events, campaigns, blog and upload your events by logging in and selecting ‘My Membership’.


ITC Events

Professional Development and Networking Gathering: Cardiff
14:00 – 16:00
This event will be facilitated and led by ITC CEO Charlotte Jones and Hijinx   Topics for discussion and learning:  
  • Use of ITC/Union Agreements
  • Engagement of freelancers and employees (Good practice, rights and responsibilities)
  • Dignity at work
  • Making use of ITC support
  • Venue and company relationships, touring and workable contracts
  • Project funding and sector financial support.
    Date and Time 1st July, 14:00 – 16:00   Prices and How to Book This is a free event for ITC members, venues and companies, freelancers and independent artists, however, booking is essential.   Location Cabaret, Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5AL   If you have access needs, please get in touch with admin@itc-arts.org to speak about reasonable adjustments.

Professional Development and Networking Gathering: Cardiff


Buy Now
Leadership Support Programme
10:00 – 15:00
In small arts organisations leadership roles are challenging, exposed and isolated. During and following the pandemic ITC has advised on an increased number of work-based disputes (complaints, grievances, disciplinaries, project and contract breakdowns, company splits and closures). Add to this the stress caused by loss of funding, cost of living increases and a growing recruitment crisis in many crucial roles – it has never been harder to lead and manage a company in this sector. In response to tough times, ITC has devised a pilot project to facilitate leaders within our companies to support and mentor each other. ITC has a uniquely committed and skilled community of leaders within the membership. This project aims to promote connection and sharing between sector leaders using the skills and principles of action learning (peer coaching).   Elements of the Project:  Action-Learning is a form of peer coaching that uses the process of active listening, open questions and non-judgemental reflection to create a safe space to solve problems and build strategies. It relies on the principles of respect, confidentiality and not giving advice unless actively requested. Essentially participants solve their own problems with peer support. This project aims to use the processes of group Action-Learning within one-to-one mutual mentoring pairings. Participants will begin with an online facilitated Action-Learning group session (up to 8 participants) – introducing the skills and processes of peer coaching and enabling problem-solving presentations. Following the initial session participants will receive guidance for one-to-one peer coaching and be paired with a colleague in the sector. ITC will manage the peer matching process and provide ongoing support to participants throughout the project. Participants will agree to meet 3-4 times over the course of a year (live or on Zoom) for one-to-one peer problem-solving sessions (lasting 2-3 hours). At the end of the year, participants will take part in a facilitated evaluation session. It is hoped that peer pairs will continue to meet for peer problem-solving in ongoing relationships and ITC will facilitate swaps and rematches as required. The cost of participation in the project is a one-off registration fee of £150+vat. We will aim to programme initial Action-Learning sessions online to enable participation from members throughout the UK to enable ease of access. ITC will create additional starter sessions in response to demand.   This programme is suitable for
  • Artistic Directors
  • Executive Directors
  • Executive Producers
  • CEOs
  • General Managers
  • Chairs of Boards
  • Senior Staff
Action Learning Intro Sessions: We will aim to programme future Action-Learning days in different locations throughout the UK to enable ease of access for all members.  This flexibility means you can plan this year of senior leadership development around your schedule. The cost of participation in the project is a one-off registration fee of £150+vat (per person). Open to ITC members only.    

Leadership Support Programme


Buy Now

Members’ Events

Out There Queer Fest 2024 – Registration
J O Theatre
See Registration

Out There Queer Fest

Get ready for a vibrant explosion of creativity, community, and celebration at Out There Queer Fest! This exciting 14-day festival happening from September 23rd to October 6th, 2024, promises an unforgettable experience.

Out There Exeter are excited to deliver a festival of queer culture, an explosion of creative arts, society groups, and advocacy for LGBTQIA+ people and friends. We envision Out There Queer Fest as an annual national event, making Exeter a cultural hub akin to Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

We want to introduce a varied and wide-reaching programme, building on Exeter’s strong queer community, society groups, and arts scene. This year’s festival and events are supported by core Exeter’s flagship cultural venues: Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Northcott Theatre, Barnfield Theatre, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, and Exeter Library.

Out There Exeter, the organisation behind this event, is dedicated to uplifting and celebrating the vibrancy of the LGBTQIA+ community. Out There Queer Fest is a step further: it’s a platform for arts, culture, society groups, and advocacy.

Expect a dynamic programme featuring creative expression through artistic performances, cultural events, and sporting activities; fostering a spirit of inclusion and empowerment. The festival also highlights advocacy efforts, providing a platform to champion equality and challenge discrimination.

Registration Guidance

People can register their interest for putting on a show or an event at Out There Queer Fest. This registration does not serve as the final agreement or contract. Out There Exeter Website Out There Queer Fest Registration Form

If your show is selected, Out There Exeter will feature it at one of our partner venues – free of charge! However, you’re also welcome to make arrangements to choose an alternative venue.

Out There Queer Fest 2024 – Registration by J O Theatre

Devoted and Disgruntled 19: what are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts?

An invitation from Improbable’s Associate Director, Matilda Leyser;

Devoted and Disgruntled: What are we going to do about Theatre and the Performing Arts?

That’s a genuine question.
And this is a real invitation, to come and work on that question – and any others you are holding – and to explore a myriad of answers, together with us, in Leeds, in March this year, at our annual Open Space event.
We ran our first Devoted and Disgruntled event in 2006- 18 years ago. Since then we have used Open Space to run our company, make our shows, birth some children (true story). But through all the years, we’ve continued to come back to the beginning – to this core annual event – the one we are inviting you to be a part of in 2024.
And it starts now.
Because the beginning of this event – the very first thing that happens – is that we write an invitation.
Writing an invitation is something of art.
Like any art, it’s a kind of practice.
Which is to say, we are still practicing it – still finding out how to do it.
But also, as with any practice you keep at for a while, you start to form habits.
So, over the years, we have tended to use our annual D&D invite to reflect on the current state of the performing arts, of the country, of the world, and then to use that as a sort of motivator to encourage you to come along and do something meaningful, instead of moaning.
The problem with this formula is that the state of the arts/ country/ world keeps on getting worse, so the invites sound increasingly bleak. Or maybe it’s just that we keep on getting older. Or maybe a bit of both. Either way, when we tried to follow the formula this year, it came out like bitter old actor’s version of the queen’s speech (she did 70 of them – we are far behind!). We felt a little desperate. We tried AI, which, to be honest, did a fair job of turning the bitterness around into something more positive.
But because I cannot think of a single, fricking event better than D&D at connecting us back to our ‘HI’ – our deep, natural, human intelligence and creativity (yes, I believe we have this- that’s where theatre comes from) – as opposed to the heart-breaking individual and collective stupidity we witness every day on the news – I want a person, not a software programme, to write the invite: so here I am writing this to you.
The definition of a true invitation is that you can say ‘no’ to it. It invites you to check in with yourself, and what you want, because it comes from someone who is checking in with themselves:
Right now, I am feeling cold, but also naively glad that it can still get this cold. I just reassured my neurodivergent son that we are safe and am wondering if we truly are. I am thinking of the aerial-theatre-storytelling-impro show I want to start to make this year, and how the heck I am going to do it, amidst everything else I am holding. I am thinking of you, reading this, wondering what you are feeling, what you are bothered by, excited by, devoted to, disgruntled about.
I am inviting you to check in with yourself and see what you need right now, whether that’s time out on your own in the rain and wind, or whether that’s time in a circle, connecting with your community. Or whether you don’t have a sense of community and you’d quite like to find one – that was Phelim, 18 years ago, when he wrote the first invite.
And maybe you were at that first 2006 D&D, or you’ve been to some others.
Maybe you meant to get along one year but you haven’t yet quite managed it.
Maybe you have never even heard about us, and you thought ‘D&D’ was a fantasy tabletop game (it is – ask my son if you decide to come to our version of ‘D&D’).
All of the above options are exciting to me. And any of them could mean that you are one of the right people to show up in the room this year. I don’t know – you do.
I also don’t know what’s going to happen once we are in the room, because every year is different, but here’s some things that have happened other years, and which might happen again. You might:
Have an inspiring conversation.
Get a whole lot of work done.
Find a partner – work-related or romantic (both have precedents).
Find a job, or a place to live.
Start a company, or a campaign.
Get support for your project.
Have a laugh. Or a cry.
Sit and daydream for the first time in many months.
Drink a lot of free tea and eat some biscuits.
Have the best idea of your career to date.
Find some hope- a sense of renewal.
So come and join us, and find out what this year holds. Come as you are. Come…..
If you were barley born, back in 2006.
If you are old and bitter.
If you are middle aged and feeling middle-ish about everything.
If you are of the global majority.
If you are queer as they come.
If you have a disability.
If you are neurodivergent.
And if you are white, straight, cis-gendered, and neurotypical – you can come too.
Come along with a project, or a question, or a niggle, or a feeling of fury, grief, despair, or mild curiosity.
Come alone, or bring a friend, colleague, partner, your children. Come if you are lost, lonely, or painfully shy.
What I am trying to say is simply this:
Come if you want to be there.
That’s it.
This is an invitation to you, from me, and the rest of Improbable, to come to Devoted and Disgruntled, in Leeds, March 2024, if something in you, reading this, says ‘yes.

Devoted and Disgruntled 19: what are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts? by Improbable

The Optimists Summer 2024
China Plate Theatre Limited
See application guidelines

This year’s Optimist Summer 2024 course is suitable for emerging producers, artists, and creative practitioners, based in the West Midlands, who are hoping to develop their skills as professional producers, or as a producer of their own work, in the subsidised arts sector.

Drawing on China Plate’s extensive experience and real examples in theatre producing, the Optimists provides knowledge and insight on the practicalities of making, funding, touring, and promoting your work. The Optimists course is led by China Plate, with the support of guest industry experts and speakers.

The course is open to those working across different art forms (e.g., dance, live art, spoken word, etc) but has a particular focus on producing and touring live work in the theatre industry.

Sessions: 10 in-person sessions taking place over 7 weeks
Dates: Between Saturday 15th June and Saturday 3rd August
Location: Venues across the West Midlands
Spaces: For up to 20 participants


For freelancers/individuals: £480 per person (inclusive of VAT)
For organisations:  £660 per person (inclusive of VAT)

Bursaries covering the full cost of the course are available to those who have faced racism, discrimination and/or cultural barriers due to their ethnicity, disability, D/deafness, gender identity or socio-economic background – please refer to the application guidelines for more information.

We are hosting two online information sessions on Wednesday 8th May and Wednesday 15th May – these will provide an opportunity to find out more about the course and ask any additional questions that you may have. If this is something you feel you would find useful, please sign up to attend: https://bit.ly/OP24Info

Deadline for applications will be 12pm (midday) on Friday 24th May

Please visit our website for more information about the course, including application guidelines and details on how to apply. Accessible formats are available, including BSL & captioned and audio introductions about the course, alongside large print formats.

If you have any questions, please contact our Training & Development Producer Kristina on optimists@chinaplatetheatre.com

The Optimists Summer 2024 by China Plate Theatre Limited

Campaigns & Partnerships

ITC Membership Covid-19 Impact Report

Introduction & Aims of the Survey

The Chancellor’s announcement of £1.57 billion to tackle the crisis facing the arts is welcome both in its recognition of the importance of this industry and its potential to help a recovery. However, we want to ensure that the independent theatre sector is considered in these decisions, both the challenges facing the sector as well as the important creative contribution. The independent sector has the potential to start making work soon and are able to reach communities throughout the country. This survey aimed to explore that potential and assess what support would be needed to enable it.

Survey Report

The report of the survey can be viewed here

Statement from ITC CEO Charlotte Jones

Thank you to the ITC members from throughout the UK and across the broad diversity of our membership who have responded to this survey. It has given us an illuminating snapshot of the sector at this extraordinary time and provided us with vital intelligence to inform our advocacy and strengthen our practical support for the sector. We have chosen to make the many of the detailed responses available in this summary report because our members have so powerfully articulated their position and statistics don’t always convey the picture so strongly.

Some of the standout statistics for us are that only 34% of respondents received emergency funding. Over half of the workers in this sector are currently furloughed and 42% of organisations expect to be making job cuts when that scheme comes to an end this Autumn.

Interestingly over half of respondents have continued to make and disseminate work either digitally or outdoors. 79% of respondents have increased their reach by this means. Most however have been providing this work for free and it is obviously not sustainable long term.

Touring is the life-blood of this sector. It has been described by many as an already broken infrastructure and there are serious concerns about how it will revive in the future. Shared risk-taking by venues will be vital to its revival.

This sector has suffered from a steep decline in core-funding for many years and a continuing reduction in project funds available. It has worked hard to generate more earned income over the past years and obviously the pandemic has brought this to a sharp standstill. This sector has the potential to revitalise its communities, is already doing important work and will require significant support to mitigate the losses it has suffered. That support will go a long way though if targeted strategically at theatre makers and artists.
The independent sector offers energy, imagination, value for money and hope for the future if properly recognised and supported. We would strongly welcome further responses to this survey. I hope you find it interesting reading.

Charlotte Jones, ITC CEO

Statement from The Chair of the ITC Board, Ali King

“Thanks to all the ITC members that were able to fill out the survey, it has shown a very interesting snapshot of the problems our sector face as a result of COVID. It clearly shows what support and help we need.

I am constantly impressed by the ongoing resilience and inventiveness of our sector and the care and consideration we show to one another.

This survey will be really useful for the team at ITC to disseminate and use to help the sector. To target areas for improvement and carry on co-ordinating a voice supporting the sectors needs and concerns. I know it has been awhile since we have all been able to come together but ITC remains as always here to help, advise and listen to its members”

Ali King, Chair of ITC

Artistic Directors Leadership Programme

Artistic Directors Leadership Programme

“Who is curating the culture? Predominantly it is white, middle-class men.” David Oyelowo  

How many people of colour are running publicly funded theatre organisations in England?  Not many.  It’s time for a change.  

tiata fahodzi have brought together companies whose collective missions represent a rich, multicultural and modern Britain – Freedom Studios, Talawa Theatre Company and 20 Stories High – to stage an intervention and lead the change.  

Supported by the Arts Council England’s Sustained Theatre programme, Artistic Director Leadership Programme is a unique training opportunity for future theatre leaders. The programme comprises two initiatives: 

  • Trainee Artistic Director  
  • Leaders of Tomorrow 

Trainee Artistic Director programme provides four paid, two year, full-time traineeships for experienced theatre directors. Trainees are resident at one of the partner theatres, working closely with the artistic director of their host organisation.  Participants will gain an exceptional opportunity to take part in and contribute to the daily life of running a theatre company.   

Leaders of Tomorrow is both a bespoke leadership development programme and a collective of theatre practitioners of colour.  Not just for directors, this opportunity is for anyone who wants to lead a theatre company or building; this could be theatre makers, writers, producers, actors, administrators, designers, dramaturgical or literary practitioners or movement directors. Leaders of Tomorrow includes a wide range of free training opportunities that will take place in two hubs based in Manchester and Watford.  

Natalie Ibu, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of tiata fahodzi said, “we believe that the future of theatre leadership should look and feel different, that is why, with our partners, we delighted to announce the launch of this ground-breaking programme.” 

ITC are proud to be running the training sessions for this important initiative, spearheaded by four of our members tiata fahodziFreedom StudiosTalawa Theatre Company and 20 Stories High and supported by Regional Theatres Young Directors Scheme.

For further information and to apply for Artistic Director Leadership Programme go to www.adleadership.co.uk 

What Next

ITC is actively involved in What Next? – a movement bringing together arts and cultural organisations from across the UK to articulate and strengthen the role of culture in our society. We want to engage the public in new and different conversations about how and why the arts are important, and become a catalyst for fresh thinking and new policy ideas.

A growing number of locally based What Next? groups are forming across the UK. Click here to find out more

Culture Declares Emergency

We, The Independent Theatre Council declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency
We pledge to work with and support our community and local government in tackling this Emergency, and we call on others to do the same.
These are our intentions:

1. We will tell the Truth
Governments, and their public broadcasters and cultural agencies, must tell the truth about the Climate and Ecological Emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and communicate the urgency for far-reaching systemic change.
We will communicate with citizens and support them to discover the truth about the Emergency and the changes that are needed.

2. We will take Action
Governments must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
We pledge to work towards reducing our emissions to net zero* by 2025.
We will challenge policies and actions of local and national governments and their agencies, where we interact with them, that do not help to reduce emissions or consumption levels.
We will actively work to imagine and model ways that my practice / our organisation can regenerate the planet’s resources.

3. We are committed to Justice
The emergency has arisen from deeply systemic injustices. Arts and Culture can imagine and forge shifts in the ways we relate to one another and the world, in our values and behaviours.
We will do what is possible to enable dialogue and expression amidst our communities about how the Emergency will affect them and the changes that are needed.
We will support demands for more democracy within our civic institutions and government.
We believe that all truth-telling, action and democratic work must be underpinned by a commitment to justice based on intersectional principles*, led by and for marginalised people.

Culture declares emergency toolkit

Family Arts Campaign

The Family Arts Campaign is a large scale, national collaborative programme led by ITC and a number of other partner organisations. It provides training, resources and marketing opportunities for the performing and visual arts sectors, in order to increase levels of arts engagement by families.

During its first three years the Campaign has provided training to over 1,000 arts professionals, reached over 1 million families through its annual Family Arts Festival, and enabled 350 arts organisations to highlight their commitment to families through its Family Arts Standards quality mark.

To see how the campaign can help you visit familyarts.co.uk

Blog and News

ITC at 50
AGM 24: Out-Going Chair, Gareth Nicholls’ Introduction Speech

In my AGM introduction last year, I talked about how our precious sector was facing some unprecedented challenges. Now, I’m becoming more and more suspicious of the word ‘unprecedented’. As soon as you utter it, something else comes along that’s far more unprecedented than the unprecedented thing you were going through before. I really should […]

Independent Theatre Council elects new Co-Chairs and Scotland-based Vice Chair

(Left to right: Ria Parry, Dougie Irvine, Keisha Thompson) The Independent Theatre Council (Management Association and Representative body for 500 Independent and smaller scale Performing Arts organizations and practitioners) at its AGM today announced new Co-Chairs and a new Scotland-based Vice Chair. The ITC Board is made up of 15 arts leaders of ITC member […]

ITC / Equity Agreement

ITC and Equity completed their negotiations last month and Equity members balloted to accept the agreement last week. ITC has made a 3-year agreement with Equity which provides for a 5% increase on all financial terms (salary and allowances) year on year for 3 years starting in April 2024. Hopefully, this will enable easier budgeting […]

ITC Advice Service – A Year of Problem Prevention & Solving

ITC’s advice service has been very well-used over the past year and we have been logging the calls more closely to get a sense of what is happening in the sector. Obviously, our service is completely confidential but we thought it might be helpful for members to know some of the issues and trends we […]

Ex-ITC Chair Becomes Honorary Doctor

ITC’s Chair between 2017-2022, was recently awarded a Degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa upon Alison King She was asked to address the graduating students and this is what she said: Acceptance speech for my Honorary Doctorate Hello everyone, First of all, I would like to thank Sally Ann Gritton for the wonderful introduction […]

November Members Highlights

On Wednesday 22nd November, ITC hosted a members forum with Hannah Lake, Director of Touring at Arts Council England. Members were invited to ask questions about the current state of mid and small-scale touring, and highlight the challenges they’re facing. As the guidance has recently been refreshed by ACE on how projects can be funded, […]

ITC Peer Problem-Solving Pilot Project

Leadership support – Learning through Listening Context:  In small arts organisations leadership roles (eg: Artistic Director, Executive Director, CEO, General Manager, Chair) are challenging, exposed and isolated.  During and following the pandemic ITC has advised on an increased number of work-based disputes (complaints, grievances, disciplinaries, project and contract breakdowns, company splits and closures). Add to […]

September Members Highlights

ITC Professional Development & Networking Event – 6th September, Oxford On 6th September ITC held a very well-attended live members’ meeting in Oxford hosted by Hub Member North Wall. It was great to meet our Oxfordshire-based members and equally brilliant to have so many members travel to the event from other parts of the country […]

Guest Blog: Thoughts on Leadership

By Ria Parry As I move into my 5th year as Co-Director of The North Wall Arts Centre, and my 1st as Vice-Chair of ITC, I observe the shifts in leadership amongst my peers, and across the UK – and I find myself increasingly thoughtful about what it means, and what it takes, to lead […]

To access this post, you must first become a member.

ITC is a community of over 450 performing arts companies and producers. Join us to take advantage of the considerable benefits that we offer our members.

Join us