A group of people dancing under a UV light, the woman at the front is reading from a piece of paper, a heart of lights can be seen behind them.

The Darkroom is a unique artist and sector development opportunity that offers artists space, time and money to experiment, consider and ultimately challenge their work and creative practice.

In previous years, a number of companies have been invited to spend paid time working in a retreat/laboratory environment in collaboration with a writer. It’s a place to play, to try out new ways of working and to interrogate old ones without having to submit a funding application or create a marketing pack before you’ve made the work.

Above all it’s a place to experiment, an opportunity to try things that you thought might never work with collaborators you never dreamt of working with – all without the demand to generate a show.

Girl Meets Boy by Blink Dance Theatre
Photo © Charles Oni 

A person dressed up as a tiger mascot holding a popcorn box, chucking red confetti.
“(The Darkroom) quite simply offers the highest quality structured residential programme in British theatre. Endlessly iterative, it has had a profound effect on a generation of theatre makers and their practice, and continues to provide an unquestionably important creative support structure for independent theatre in this country.”

– David Micklem – Independent Producer and Consultant

Hoke’s Bluff by Action Hero
Photo © Paul Blakemore 

How to enter the Darkroom?

Two women face one another across a table, which has two glasses of wine on it. The woman facing the camera is wearing some goggles, she holds her hand out to the other woman.

Currently The Darkroom can be entered by invitation only.

The past few years have seen some of the most exciting emerging and established companies take part in The Darkroom and it will be opening its doors again soon…

“The experience of the dark room was quite unlike anything else I have been a part of, the opportunity to play, create and experiment without the pressure of a final product allowed me to take risks and suggest/try ideas I wouldn’t have usually put forward. This lead to a richer and more layered and artistically interesting process.” – Blink Dance Theatre

‘The programme always felt practical – never too naval gazey. I was lucky to be given loads of resources – casts, directors, etc – all of which kept my focus on doing, not just talking…I was given permission to test.” – Selina Thompson

“It is going to change the way that we work forever. We knew it was going to be useful but not how profound an effect it would have on our process.” – Action Hero

“The Darkroom felt like many Christmases in one go. I can’t say enough how much I needed to be here… it awakened the hunger in me. So much care has been taken to maximise its potential as a force for change and development. I’ve never felt so looked after or valued in any process.” – Annie Siddons (Darkroom collaborator)


Blink Dance Theatre
Jane Gauntlett
Katherine Araniello
Caroline Horton
Selina Thompson
Duncan Speakman
Action Hero
Blind Summit Theatre
Cartoon de Salvo
Inspector Sands
Kiln (formerly Kindle)
New International Encounter (NIE)
Talking Birds
The Other Way Works
Uninvited Guests

Photo © Prizum