Next Stages

Supporting the development, production and touring of new mid-scale theatre.


About Next Stages

In 2018 we launched Next Stages, a programme offering bespoke development packages for theatre makers seeking to transition to the midscale (400-800 seats).

There are considerable challenges facing the mid-scale touring circuit. Next Stages seeks to address this complex set of challenges – satisfying demand from midscale venues, puncturing a glass ceiling for a generation of talented theatre makers and reinvigorating the midscale for audiences.

A preliminary research phase looking at the traditions, methodologies and models for making successful midscale shows culminated in two Open House Events in Spring 2018 – see below.

Since then, we have been working with our brilliant consortium of venue partners to identify our first cohort of artists successfully making live performance at other scales who are interested in connecting with larger audiences through developing popular touring work.

We are currently in the process of setting up a support network for producers looking to move into the mid-scale. Keep an eye out for details!

Artists currently supported by Next Stages

Inspector Sands

Milk Presents

Rachel Bagshaw

Rhum and Clay

Lost Dog

Excitingly, two of these companies will be touring their first midscale shows in 2020:

Emily Brontë’s
Wuthering Heights

Created by Inspector Sands
Conceived by Lucinka Eisler and Ben Lewis
Written by Ben Lewis
Director Lucinka Eisler

A China Plate, Inspector Sands, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Royal & Derngate, Northampton
co-production in association with Oxford Playhouse

The 2020 Wuthering Heights tour has been postponed until 2021 due to Covid-19. Do check back for updates on future touring soon.

To get in touch, or for more information please contact: |


Also touring...

The War of the Worlds

Created by Rhum and Clay
Written with Isley Lynn. 
Directed by Hamish MacDougall and Julian Spooner 
Movement by Matthew Wells 
Design by Bethany Wells 
Sound Design by Ben Grant 
Lighting Design by Nick Flintoff and Pete Maxey 
Video Design by Iain Syme 

Co-produced by Brighton Festival, HOME Manchester, New Theatre Royal Portsmouth and Nuffield Southampton Theatres.


The UK Spring/Summer tour is being re-scheduled for Autumn 2020 & Spring 2021

International Bookings: Autumn 2021 onward

To get in touch, or for more information please contact Sally Cowling:


Open House Events 2018

The Open House Events took place in 2018 at the Arts at the Old Fire Station in Oxford and at HOME in Manchester.

They offered an opportunity for the wider arts sector to engage with the conversation around midscale. Each event featured keynote speeches from theatre makers and artists, a chance to find out more about the project and an opportunity to tackle some of our key questions together.


Open House Findings

A huge thank you to all the artists and venues that have taken part in our interviews or who attended one of our Open House events - together you have provided loads of invaluable information and some really important incites.

Given the demand for places at our Open House events we have posted the speeches and some of the notes gathered on the day - unedited - so people can take a look now.

You can listen to all the talks from our speakers at both Oxford and Manchester HERE. We've also collated the notes from the group discussions, which you can browse through below. Please do get in touch via if you require these in an alternative format.

Please keep an eye on this page and our social media channels for updates about how you can continue to be involved.