Cultivating Performance at The Horton

Open call for applications

Epsom’s new arts venue The Horton has launched a pilot scheme offering free research and development space to ‘early career’ performing artists, giving the opportunity to trial new work in front of a live audience at a promoted scratch night at the venue later this year.


The Horton in Epsom, Surrey is a new cultural venue championing the creative and performing arts through the lens of the building’s history as chapel to the former Horton Asylum.

At the heart of our vision is the desire to create opportunities and remove barriers to innovation.

Our new programme CULTIVATE is supported by The D’Oyly Carte Trust, and will allow selected artists, at the beginning of their careers, to develop and test new work in a unique space.

The offer

We are offering four performing arts companies/collaborators 16 hours of free space each, in either the Performance Space or the Mezzanine at The Horton, to develop new or existing work. This must be used in the next three months.

The offer is open to performing arts companies and groups where the majority of members are in the first five years of their career.

The selected artists will also be programmed into a scratch night in early summer, promoted by the venue. Photographs and footage will be made freely available to performers to promote their work.


The Horton is an inspiring building with high ceilings, and dramatic architectural features.

It has a unique history as part of the largest Victorian psychiatric hospital cluster in the world, and Europe’s first centre for music therapy from the 1950s; a permanent exhibition tells some of the stories of the people who lived and worked there.

What we are looking for

·      Artists and performers that would most benefit from use of the space.

·      Proposals that could draw inspiration from The Horton’s spaces, history and features. These could be site-specific but do not have to be.

·      Vision of an end result of around 30 minutes that can be tested at a scratch night. It doesn’t need to be a complete piece.

·      Artists and performers who we can build on-going relationships with.

We want to know why this opportunity is important for your career at this point. Help us to understand what you are trying to achieve in the short and long-term.


Applicants must:

·      be aged 18+

·      be a UK citizen, legal resident, or refugee.

·      identify as early-career/emerging artists.

·      already have an active career in the performing arts and be able to demonstrate work to date. (This could be as individuals who are coming together for a new collaboration.)

Please note:

Applicants can apply for work in any performing arts genre but there is no sprung dance floor at The Horton.

Individuals who currently are enrolled in a degree or certificate-granting performance programme may apply only if their pitch is not directly related to their education programme.

The application

Application is via this >> Google Form 

It should be completed by the main contact for your group/company.

The closing date is 25 February 2022.


Shortlisted applications will be reviewed by The Horton’s Epsom-based panel including:

 Janice Heyes, Deputy head of Company management, National Theatre

Yemisi Mokuolu, Producer and arts consultant, Hatch Ideas and trustee of The Horton

Howard Monk, Live music producer and educator, and senior lecturer, University for the Creative Arts Business School, Epsom

Maria Reeves, Co-founder and project manager, The Horton
Mike Sherman, senior Lecturer, University for the Creative Arts, (BA Hons. Acting and Performance)


We want to understand your performance career so far. Tell us in brief about your achievements, highlights and what you’re proud of. Remember to share links to any websites, or socials.

Applicants who have received repeated funding from the Arts Council or other funders are less likely to be selected.

Applicants can, if preferred, submit a video or audio application answering the questions on the form. We would recommend these should be around 3-5 minutes long and the link should be emailed to [email protected] before the closing date of 25 February 2022.

Images below: Companies in R&D at The Horton

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