Developing the theatre makers of tomorrow…

The Optimists

The Optimists is China Plate's unique development opportunity for emerging, professional theatre makers and producers. 


The Optimists is a unique training programme for theatre makers and producers.

Bridging the gap between training and the industry, The Optimists supports the artistic careers of the future. The programme offers artistic inspiration and practical support. China Plate runs a series of structured sessions focussing on collaboration, developing artistic practice and the practicalities of making, funding and marketing work.

The legacy of each programme is a new self-supporting network of theatre makers with their own identities.

In autumn 2014 China Plate worked with 6 venues to deliver The Optimists producer-training programme in the Midlands region. Over 6 day-long sessions (each hosted by a different venue) 15 emerging artists attended a series of workshops focusing on developing artistic practice, the practicalities of making, funding, touring and marketing work (emphasising opportunities available in the region) and begin interacting with established regional networks.

Since then China Plate have adapted the course to work as a 10 week evening course for aspiring producers (see Optimists 2017) that runs twice a year in London and they have just launched their Enhanced Optimists programme (see below) to tackle the last of diversity in the producing sector. 

The Optimist programme aims to:

  • Galvanise the inspiration of a new generation of theatre makers and emerging producers
  • Offer a crash course in producing new work
  • Encourage artistic practice – particularly collaboration
  • Establish a new network / scene of emerging theatre makers
  • Introduce participants to existing regional and London theatre networks/development opportunities

China Plate also delivers the Optimists training programme at East 15 and Rose Bruford Univeristies, providing structured and detailed training for drama students at both schools.

Recent graduates have gone on to win Herald Angel Awards, Ideas Tap Awards and National Student Drama Festival Awards. Graduates in previous years have gone on to create award-winning productions including Bitch Boxer by Charlotte Josephine (Soho Young Writers Award) and Bound by Bare Trap (Fringe First Award, Herald Angel Award, Adelaide Critics Circle Award, Off West End Award and many more).

Enhanced Optimists

For our autumn 2016 course, we're very excited to have launched our Enhanced Optimists producer training course that aims to tackle the lack of diversity amongst theatre-makers and producers in the independent theatre sector. 

We're working with some amazing partners to change the landscape of future arts leaders by targeting emerging BAME and deaf / disabled producers / theatre makers.

Thank you to The LowrySoho TheatreOvalhouseNational Theatre LondonBirds of Paradise TheatreBattersea Arts Centre - BAC & Talawa Presents for sponsoring candidates and Arts Council England for their support.

For more information contact