An Invitation from Nathan Powell, Artistic Director at NSDF.


Since joining NSDF, I have been faced with the straightforward question of ‘How can we best support young theatre makers?’. The theatre industry has historically been a difficult industry to enter. It has long been an industry that expects extensive work for little or no pay in order to ‘cut your teeth’. It is an industry that has often ignored the ever-present class barriers, the ever present access barriers, but it is also the industry that we all know can not only revolutionise individual lives, but can revolutionise the way we and our communities see our world. We fight for the arts because we understand its importance.


For the arts to thrive and to continue to have an impact on our lives in the most meaningful way, we must support theatre makers to continue to develop their craft and view this industry as one in which they can have a sustainable career. A lot of theatre makers reading this that have been working in the industry for years or decades might have just laughed when I said, ‘sustainable career’, it often feels like that is something reserved for very few. The industry is currently experiencing a crisis in the availability of technical staff, it is seeing its creative talent drain away, finding available Stage Managers is like winning the lottery! Competition for funding feels higher than ever, the idea of ‘competition for funding’ feels greatly unhealthy anway. I regularly have conversations with artists about how they plan into their schedule their meltdown time after knowingly over working themselves to sustain.


We need to make a career in theatre, a sustainable career.


Resources are scarce, but our creativity and will to make this sector a stronger, healthier one is overflowing. So this is an invite to those young theatre makers that have the burning desire to make the work that will change our lives, but might not see a way that is viable right now. This is an invite to those who want to support the future of theatre making, to share ideas about how we can make the idea of a sustainable career in the arts not a joke or a wishful fantasy. If that is you, then please join us!

This conversation will be facilitated by Improbable, a theatre company who specialise in using a process called Open Space Technology (OST). OST is a simple way for groups of people to think, work and take action together around a shared concern. There is no set agenda and you decide what to discuss. You are free to move between conversations in a single session depending on what interests you.


NSDF is a week-long festival for students and those aged 16-26 across four venues in the UK and digital spaces across the world, that showcases the exciting new theatre created by 16-26-year olds. Alongside this, we offer workshops, discussions and events. NSDF is at the heart of developing the future of theatre. We platform, mentor and develop the artists of the future to make urgent work now.

Access information

This event takes place in a wheelchair-accessible space. We welcome neurodivergent participants - Open Space is always a 'relaxed' event. We can provide additional support for blind and partially sighted participants. We can book BSL interpreters with minimum 2 weeks notice. For any access requests, please email [email protected]

Booking for this event has now closed.