A man and woman sit on the floor embracing and looking at one another.

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 [email protected] – an artist development programme, supporting artists with time, space, producing support, a commissioning fee and an audience to reflect on their work. One such artist is Nikki Rummer; of Nikki & JD; whose new show Pass has been commissioned through triggered, having previously programmed Knot across a number of initiatives.

Knot by Nikki & JD | Photo © Fabio Affuso


Current partnerships

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

Musical Theatre Development Consortium

Royal & Derngate, along with a consortium including China Plate, Improbable, Mercury Musical Developments, Musical Theatre Network, Perfect Pitch and Scottish Opera, successfully applied for an Arts Council England Ambition for Excellence grant to create a step-change in the way new musical theatre and opera is developed for mid-scale touring.

Over three years, Royal & Derngate will lead this consortium to help encourage a diverse range of at least 150 writers, composers and theatre makers to create original new work suitable for mid-scale touring.

This will include at least four new theatre productions, a national showcase of new musical theatre (BEAM), a national symposium focusing upon musical theatre and a variety of artist development programmes, including The Musical Theatre Darkroom.

Find out more information visit Royal & Derngate’s website.

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) is a new project funded by Arts Council England’s (ACE) Producing Hubs pilot.

Derby CAN consists 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 is one of two venues selected to receive ACE funding, coming from the National Lottery, and has been awarded £1.5 million over three years to become a Producing Hub. The pilots are 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 will programme work in community settings across the city; produce new small-scale productions that will tour into communities and beyond; new mid-scale work which will play on the Derby Theatre main stage and outdoor work which will play at festivals like Festé and across the city. It will also provide artists with opportunities to work on research and development together and deliver community and artist development opportunities.

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 Forum, The Place and Take Art to launch an innovative initiative for making and touring dance performances to rural areas.

Originally a 3 year project, the Rural Touring Dance Initiative has been extended for a further 3 years making the project live until Summer 2021. The aims of the project are to seek out great dance companies that are excited to tour rurally, and to support rural promoters and schemes to build audiences for dance in rural spaces.

For more information visit National Rural Touring Forum website.

6 Feet 3 Shoes by Slanjayvah Danza
Photo © Boneshaker Photography

Grey background with the letters 'FTF' in orange, purple and pink.

Freelance Task Force

China Plate is one of 138 organisations across the theatre and live performance sector that sponsored a freelancer to be part of the Freelance Task Force; which was initiated by Fuel Theatre in response to the current Covid -19 pandemic and its impact on freelancers with the Theatre/Live Arts industry.

Central to China Plate’s mission is supporting the continued development of the independent sector in the Midlands. It was therefore essential for us that we sponsored a freelancer based in the Midlands, and we were delighted to appoint independent theatre producer Rafia Hussain.

You can read more about the formation of the Freelance Task Force in An Open Letter to Theatre and Performance Makers on our blog here, alongside more information about how we chose our appointment, and representation within the group.

Logo Design © Emily Alden

Find out more...

Freelance Task Force Reflections

27th October 2020

Rafia Hussain shares with us, her thoughts and experiences; having been part of the Freelance Task Force, sponsored by China…

Written by Rafia Hussain

Rural Touring Dance Initiative

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

Read more

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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