Three people surround a person standing on a chair, each holding their hand up towards the person on the chair as if they are holding a microphone.

China Plate work with a network of 65+ venues to tour, commission and co-produce work.

We also have a number of close relationships with a wide range of partner organisations including venues, funders, development organisations, festivals and producers to deliver strategic national projects. Chief among these is Warwick Arts Centre, where China Plate have been resident Associate Producers for over 10 years. We work with Warwick Arts Centre to develop and commission new work and to support the continued growth of the independent theatre sector in the Midlands.

This includes triggered@warwick – an artist development programme, supporting artists with time, space, producing support, a commissioning fee, and an audience to reflect on their work. A recent example is BREACH; a devised theatre company founded by theatre-makers Billy Barrett and Ellice Stevens with filmmaker Dorothy Allen-Pickard; whose show After the Act was commissioned through triggered.

After the Act by BREACH | Photo © Alex Brenner

Current partnerships

A group of people on stage posing together.
To The Streets: effective interventions in the community arts ecology of the West Midlands

As part of an AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD opportunity, supervised jointly by the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick, China Plate is giving unprecedented access to our work to investigate how new modes of practice enable creative communities to work together to make positive change.

The AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. M4C is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.

The research will be rooted in tracking the development and results of forthcoming projects which may include: To The Streets! by Tim Sutton & Roy Williams, exploring the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott; Please Do Not Touch by Casey Bailey, a new piece for the theatre and heritage sectors about the legacy of colonialism; Trash by Urielle Klein-Mekongo, a grime musical about ‘sugar’ relationships; training programmes The Optimists and People-Focused Producing.

We are delighted to announce that Josie Lena Davies will join us from October 2024 to begin their PhD. You can find out a bit more about them here. Until Josie starts in October, please contact our Co-Artistic Director Ed Collier (PhD Co-Supervisor) if you have any questions regarding the PhD on [email protected]

To The Streets!
Photo © Iona Firouzabadi

A group of nine men and women standing together in a group, looking directly at the camera.

Musical Theatre Darkroom

Presented by China Plate, Birmingham Hippodrome, Musical Theatre Network, Mercury Musical Developments and Royal & Derngate, Northampton, the Musical Theatre Darkroom is an artist development programme that supports the generation of original British musical theatre productions.

The project brings together experienced musical theatre practitioners and writing teams / artists to collaboratively interrogate traditions, models, and approaches to making musical theatre.

For more information, please visit our Musical Theatre Darkroom page here.

Musical Theatre Darkroom Participants 2019
Photo © Royal & Derngate

Two men in costume pretending to play fight with another man sat down, while two women look on laughing.

Derby CAN

The Derby Creative Arts Network (CAN) was a project funded by Arts Council England’s (ACE) Producing Hubs pilot.

Derby CAN consisted of the following partners: Derby Theatre, Déda, Baby People and QUAD (Derby-based National Portfolio Organisations), China Plate, Crying Out Loud and In Good Company (Strategic National Partners), Milk Presents, Not Too Tame, Maison Foo and Wild Rumpus (Independent theatre and production companies) and University of Derby, Derby County Community Trust and Derby City Council (Other local partners).

Derby CAN was one of two venues selected to receive ACE funding, coming from the National Lottery, and was awarded £1.5 million over three years to become a Producing Hub. The pilots were intended to test the potential of Producing Hubs to respond to the 2016 Analysis of Theatre in England report, which identified a gap in such support for performing arts organisations outside of London.

As a network it programmed work in community settings across the city; produced new small-scale productions that toured into communities and beyond; new mid-scale work which played on the Derby Theatre main stage and outdoor work which played at festivals like Festé and across the city. It also provided artists with opportunities to work on research and development together and deliver community and artist development opportunities.

Derby CAN was recently shortlisted for a Charity Award 2024 in the Arts, Culture & Heritage category.

For more information visit Derby Theatre’s website.

Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out by Not Too Tame
Photo © Chris Webb

Three women jumping in the air and holding dance poses.

Rural Touring Dance Initiative

In March 2015, Arts Council England’s ‘Rural evidence and data review’ found that only 2% of NPO funded dance companies toured to rural areas in 2012/13.

From March 2015 – December 2021, China Plate joined forces with the National Rural Touring ForumThe Place and Take Art to launch an innovative initiative for making and touring dance performances to rural areas. The aim of the project was to seek out great dance companies that were excited to tour rurally, and to support rural promoters and schemes to build audiences for dance in rural spaces. Originally a 3-year project, the Rural Touring Dance Initiative has been extended until 2026, receiving funding from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Arts Council England.

It’s current partners (The Place, Highlights, NRTF, Sonia Sabri Company, Take Art) will aim to support 10 new associate venues to programme dance in rural areas and market towns, many of them in Levelling Up for Culture places, the funding will also enable RTDI to support eight dance artists and companies per year to tour their work to rural areas, with over 200 performances and 90 workshops expected between autumn 2023 and summer 2026.

For more information visit National Rural Touring Forum website.

6 Feet 3 Shoes by Slanjayvah Danza
Photo © Boneshaker Photography

Find out more...

People-Focused Producing

An ongoing programme of free, one-off training sessions for creatives and producers, each looking at a specific aspect of making creative projects happen. It’s for anyone that is interested in developing a sustainable producing practice by learning new skills, refining prior skillsets, or up-skilling.

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Rural Touring Dance Initiative

Helping to increase the quality, quantity and diversity of dance promoted by Rural Touring schemes all over the country.

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Musical Theatre Darkroom

Musical Theatre Darkroom is a groundbreaking laboratory programme launched to develop and commission original new musicals for mid-scale touring.

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