We ran the SPILL OPEN at the 2018 SPILL Festival. To help artists with their applications, we created a Toolkit that covers project planning, creating a budget and tips for writing a strong application.

Download the SPILL OPEN Toolkit

Read on to find out more information about the SPILL OPEN.

The 2018 callout for the SPILL OPEN is now closed. We have received 663 applications from all around the world and have now started the selection process. If you have applied, thank you. We fully respect that every application we received represents significant time and emotional investment from each applicant.

All applications are now being read and discussed. This process is in three stages and involves some other artists we have invited in to lend a view too. We estimate this process to last until late-May. Every applicant will then receive an email advising them of the status of their application. Due to the very high number of applicants we are unlikely to be able to provide detailed feedback on applications.

Thank you again for your time and engagement with the festival – we can’t wait to learn more about you all.

Best wishes,


Large print and Audio versions of this page are available here

New for 2018, the SPILL OPEN is aimed at early makers and artists whose practices may have been overlooked, regardless of age, working in between or across forms, and with something meaningful to say. It offers 20 opportunities for exceptional artists or groups to present work as part of SPILL Festival this Autumn. We aim to support makers whose work is grounded in generosity – to audiences, peers and cultural dialogues.

The SPILL OPEN replaces the SPILL National Platform, which ran from 2009 to 2016 in London and Ipswich. When we created the SPILL National Platform it was a deliberate opening up of politicised, high-visibility space for artists creating new performance at a time when artist-led contextualised opportunities for live art were seriously limited across the country. During the years it ran the National Platform supported 148 artists and groups, to audiences of thousands.

Now, just a decade on, everything has changed. A new generation of artists are active within the field of performance who were kids when SPILL started. Some have studied live art at college or university before becoming makers, producers and commentators. Coupled with the widespread integration of social media, we observe a significant shift in what live art is and where it gets created. And Brexit has prompted us to re-question notions of nationhood and national provision.

We also observe huge potential in the hybrid results artists are achieving by deliberately working across forms, blending concerns and disciplines in new and exciting ways. As a result, we have taken the learning from a decade of making the SPILL National Platform and built the SPILL OPEN in its place.

The SPILL OPEN is open to artists of any age, based anywhere, undertaking considered formal experimentation and / or investigation through research, that seek to offer some new ways of looking or thinking about the world and how we are in it together. It will support work which is considered and meaningful. We are also keen to hear from people specifically developing new forms tailored to the needs of kids or teenagers.

Applications are welcome from people working with, across or in between:

  • Activist Actions
  • Cabaret + Club Arts
  • Craft + Folk Methods
  • Digital
  • Experimental Theatre
  • Film + Video
  • Heritage + Place
  • Installation
  • Live Art + Performance
  • Museum Collections
  • New Dance
  • Science + Social Sciences
  • Sound + Music
  • Spoken Word
  • Street Art
  • Text
  • Visual Art
  • Walking


Each artist or company selected for the SPILL OPEN will receive support totalling £2000

• A fee of £750

• A contribution towards travel

• Accommodation at the festival

• Per diems

• A package of producing, technical and marketing support

• High quality photographic and video documentation plus inclusion in SPILL TV

SPILL 2018 will take place between Thursday 25th October and Sunday 4th November at venues and sites across Ipswich, England. The SPILL OPEN will be within these dates.

For more information and how to apply, check out the guidelines below


    1. Please read SPILL OPEN – Guidelines for Applicants 2018 before completing your application form
    2. SPILL OPEN applicants may find the SPILL OPEN toolkit a useful resource – be sure to read it before applying.