First Bite/Bite Size

An image of man sitting on a chair, under a spotlight, holding a microphone, audience members face him with their back to the camera.

Bite Size and its sister festival First Bite support, commission and showcase new work from the Midlands. The activity runs biennially across four public events and includes a fully supported commissioning process for three regional theatre makers.

The First Bite Festival is an eclectic mix of extracts and ideas from some of the Midland’s most exciting theatre makers. It provides a platform for new work in progress from theatre makers based in the Midlands, and is an exciting and unique opportunity for artists/companies across the region to develop new ideas and perform work in front of an audience of theatregoers and national venues/industry professionals.

Three of the programmed companies go on to receive a commission to develop the work and to present it at its next stage, alongside a showcase of new performance work, during Bite Size.


A young woman singing into a microphone, she is wearing a bow in her hair and her top says 'Actor'

Bite Size is a day-long festival offering a vibrant snapshot of the exciting, inventive and diverse theatre-making culture of the Midlands. 

Serving up an eclectic, jam packed taster menu of theatre from the region – Bite Size includes excerpts of brand-new work, full-length shows and pieces still in development. All presented by home-grown artists – from critically acclaimed, award-winning companies to fresh faced, emerging theatre-makers.

‘Since Bite Size, our show has been programmed in multiple venues which is super exciting!’Georgie Jones (Bite Size 2019 commissioned artist)

For more information, please contact Rosie Kelly.

We’ve Got Each Other by Paul O’Donnell [Top]
Bright Places by Rachael Mainwaring [Bottom]
Photos © Arnim Friess

Bite Size 2020

An image of a person sticking their arms and legs through some hanging gold streamers.

Bite Size 2020 took place at Warwick Arts Centre in January 2020, and presented an eclectic mix of new shows from across the Midlands, as well as two shows presented by our partner venue Camden People’s Theatre.

Bite Size 2020 line up:

Adam Carver | KATH
Quick Duck Theatre | Yours Sincerely
B Team | Slow Violence
Korupt Kabuki | BOXTICKERS (work in progress)
Hannah Maxwell | I, Amdram
Rachael Mainwaring | Bright Places
Turkey and Cranberry Sauce | On This Day
Boysclub | Petticoat Council
An Evening with Verse Writer
Milk Presents present Milk Presents
Phoebe Frances Brown | The Glad Game (work in progress)
Sophia Griffin | Fathers, Families and F*ckboys
Georgie Jones | ish…
Lewis Doherty | BOAR
Caroline Horton | All of Me (the possibility of future splendour)

‘It was great to meet other artists performing during the day and to see their work. It felt like a really exciting line up to be part of. The platform felt like a great space to showcase an extract of our work.’Laura Ryder, B Team (Bite Size 2019 commissioned artist)

‘It was great for us – we saw maybe 6 shows we will follow up which is a better strike rate than Edinburgh, and all in one day.’Charles and Barbara Pugh (The Tolmen Centre, Cornwall)

‘Such a special day celebrating midland theatre makers. Watching extracts of work as well as full performances by so many talented artists was really inspiring.’Audience member

2019/2020 First Bite and Bite Size Festivals, Presented by China Plate and Warwick Arts Centre.  In partnership with Midlands Arts Centre, Attenborough Arts Centre and In Good Company.  Supported by Derby Theatre and Camden People’s Theatre.

Warwick Arts Centre logo     

Milk Presents presents Milk Presents
Photo © Holly Revell 

First Bite 2019

A young woman looking towards the audience, holding her hands out in front of her.

The 2019 First Bite took place across three venues – Midlands Arts Centre, Derby Theatre and Attenborough Arts Centre in March and April 2019 – and showcased work in progress material from seventeen regional theatre companies.

In 2019, we piloted a new project to enable young companies to perform new work alongside the First Bite artists as part of Take A Bite – a new China Plate initiative providing Midlands based 16-21 year olds with professional development opportunities within the UK arts scene. For more information please contact Andrea Pieri Gonzalez.

The 2019 First Bite commissioned companies were:

Georgie Jones – Ish…

Georgie Jones is 26 and has finally cracked what it means to be a woman. Just kidding. She’s haphazardly stumbling through adulthood trying to figure out the things she should know by now. Things like what shape your eyebrows should be and how long heartbreak lasts and whether putting a tampon in can kill you. In this debut hour, Georgie sets spoken word, stand up and storytelling to a soundtrack of nostalgic 90’s bangers in celebration of the simultaneously grotesque and glorious experience that is womanhood.

B Team – Slow Violence

Slow Violence looks at climate change in a new light – as something violent. Confronting our disconnect between freak weather and melting ice caps and the way our lifestyles are set up, this show asks the important question – what will we do when the violence reaches closer to home?

Mika Johnson – Before the Flagz

X has been longing to find their people, they have been searching for connection and belonging. Before The Flagz imagines a time before colonisation, before gender binaries existed and the British planted their flags on stolen land.

2019 First Bite festival line up:


Lucy C Hayward | Bordering on Chaos
BoysClub | Petticoat Council
Tilly Branson | Aunting
Enter Edem | Un dia
Open Theatre Company | Juke and Lake – A box of tricks
Laura Ryder & Co | Slow Violence
Carbon Theatre | When We Died
INFLUENCING MACHINE | The Future History of the British Isles
Maisarra Margubul | Hidden in Plain Sight
Sidney Stringer Academy* | The Silence Breakers


Open Sky | The Disappearing Act
Georgie Jones | ish…
Rinkoo Barpaga | Chocolat
Quick Duck Theatre | Fashion Spies
Derby Theatre Theatre Makers* | Theatre Makers


Fish House Theatre | Ruby and Cedar
Mika Johnson | SHUV IT
TCU | BAE – Put a Ring on It
Jane English | Plaisteach
Turkey and Cranberry Sauce* | More Than just a Number

*Take A Bite company

2019/2020 First Bite and Bite Size Festivals, Presented by China Plate and Warwick Arts Centre.  In partnership with Midlands Arts Centre, Attenborough Arts Centre and In Good Company.  Supported by Derby Theatre and Camden People’s Theatre.

Warwick Arts Centre logo     

ish… by Georgie Jones
Photo © Arnim Friess

Take a Bite...

First Bite Festival 2019: Take a Bite

17th May 2019

We caught up with Derby Theatre - Theatre Makers, who performed their piece Generation Gap.

Written by Andrea

First Bite Festival 2019: Take a Bite

23rd April 2019

We caught up with Turkey & Cranberry Sauce, who performed their piece On This Day.

Written by Andrea

First Bite Festival 2019: Take a Bite

14th March 2019

We chat to Sidney Stringer Academy about their performance & how they found the experience.

Written by Andrea