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Flourish (2021-2022)

Start: March 1, 2021
Duration: 2021-22

Flourish was a programme of artist development that offered networking, mentoring, training and opportunities to help keep performing artists connected and supported. It was originally funded by Arts Council England.

Training and Networking

We ran a wide programme of training and networking events for performing artists, including support with fundraising, Meet the Programmers, and practical advice

13th January 2022: What is Rural Touring?

27th January 2022: Application advice sessions

3rd February 2022: What is ‘Let’s Create’?

Thursday 24th February, 6-8pm: Meet the Programmers

Friday 11th March, 2-4pm: Diversity and Rural Touring

Thursday 17th March, 6-8pm: Working with Comunities (Panel Discussion)

Monday 28th February: How to Sell your Show

March 26th: Fundraising for Artists 

Flourish Newsletter

Even though our funded programme has completed (March 2022), our Flourish newsletter will keep you up to date with any future opportunities, such as networking events and scratch nights, as well as promote funding and development opportunities from other organisations.


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Flourish on Facebook

We’ve launched a new Facebook group called North Yorkshire Arts where you can network with other artists, find opportunities and share about your work.

Coffee and Chat sessions (online and in person)

Fancy getting to know our team, what we do and what we programme in a relaxed and informal way? Book one of our 30 minute ‘coffee at chat’ sessions, either in person at The Courthouse, or online!

Sessions will take place on the last Friday of the month. See upcoming sessions here.

Scratch Nights

Through Flourish, Rural Arts also hosted a scratch night (11th December 2021) to support four exciting new artists/companies.

Julie by Abbey Bradbury

A musical retelling of Julie D’Aubingy’s life, a 17th Century Opera Singer who was also famous for being an excellent swordswoman and being one of the first public figures to live openly as a bisexual woman. Through stand-up, scenes, and opera fused with pop & rock. The show will be a celebration of love and life and living unashamed of who you are.

How To Be a HOT MESS (How To Live In Your Twenties) by Joy Cruickshank

A mock manual guide exploring becoming an adult, finding your identity and tribe, and mental health concerns.

HOT MESS is an exciting, fast-paced show challenging traditional storytelling and gender norms. It blurs stand up, spoken word, drag artistry and theatre to not only challenge audience members understanding of gender but draw the queer community together finding parallels in each other’s experience.

Paper Theatre by Eve Sheridan

The story will take the form of a series of ‘vignettes’, following a young girl as she explores the world around her, and meets some unusual characters. Each character seems so free at first – birds swoop and soar, a mermaid twirls through the sea, a hero dashes about the forest slaying giants – but before long the girl realises how each one wishes they could be something else. Disenchanted with fairytales, the girl must find her own path.

Occupational Hazard by ACCA Dance

Meet Linda and Becky – two air hostesses that are going about their normal work day. We see them enjoying a cup of coffee before the flight, travelling to the gate, and greeting the customers. They perform the emergency demonstration and take to the air, whilst everything seems to be going just fine. The hostesses are smiling, they are nice, attentive, pretty cute… But slowly, some sort of rigidity takes over; a robotic discomfort dominates the movement making it harder and harder to keep smiling whilst doing their job.

Occupational Hazard is a journey that walks the fine line between suggestive and unsolicited.

Seed Commissions

To increase the diversity of performance work created for rural touring, we ran a seed commission process, to offer 4 £2,500 grants specifically to artists/companies with the following lived experience(s):

  • D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent
  • From the global majority*
  • From a low socio-economic background

*This includes people of Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian, East Asian, South East Asian, Middle Eastern, Arab, Latinx, Jewish, Romany and Irish Traveller heritage

Alongside a fee of £2,500, selected artists/companies received one week of free rehearsal space at The Courthouse, support and mentorship, and shared 20-30 minutes of their creation to date at The Courthouse in Thirsk on Saturday 22nd January 2022.

The selected artists/companies are:

ANTS Theatre: We Still Fax

With wholesome earnestness and fantastical thinking, ANTS bring to light important reflections from a pursuit of an unspoken utopia. 

The theatre they create transforms spaces, advocates analogue and challenges audiences. ANTS take that which may seem pointless and pursue it until it becomes poignant.

Maddie Morris

Maddie Morris is a contemporary folk musician who won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2019 and has been described by Jim Moray as “leading the next generation of socially conscious songwriters.”

Maddie’s music uses personal story telling to embody political ideas, and their music tackles issues ranging from LGBTQIA identities to poverty and sexual violence. Maddie’s music is heavily influenced by international vocal traditions and they have been described by Nancy Kerr as an “extremely accomplished young singer – not just the possessor of a haunting and delicately ornamented vocal style, but also a performer with serious insight into how to tell a story in song.”

Beeja Dance: Sparklers; Tak Tak Dom Dom 

Beeja performs classical Bharatanatyam, presenting it in a way that is fresh, rigorous and exciting. The company creates innovative work in collaboration with artists from wide ranging disciplines, connecting dance with the worlds of story telling, theatre, music, multi media, and more. Many of Beeja’s performances are site specific, involve the audience and encourage interactivity.

Beeja artists have performed throughout the UK and internationally, both as soloists and in ensembles in mainstream venues to appreciative audiences. Beeja has also performed extensively in non-conventional settings – Museums, hospitals, shopping malls, melas and even the London Undersgound.

leo and hyde: Pop Art

leo&hyde create modern musicals. They write pop songs and build electronic sound-worlds to tell stories about technology, modern life and future worlds. They always aim to portray the depth in the seemingly shallow and the relatability of the seemingly pretentious – all with wit, spectacle, and affection – to create live theatrical experiences that go beyond what you might expect from your average musical.

Their multi-award-winning work has been featured internationally, including on Sky News, USA Today, The Guardian, The i and The Sunday Times. They have performed at more than 30 theatres up and down the UK, including The Lowry, Birmingham Old Rep, Hope Mill Theatre, New Wimbledon Theatre and The Arcola.

Flourish FAQs

Any performing artists can join the programme.

Individual opportunities may have more specific requirements regarding the location of participants.

Flourish is open to artists of all experience levels. You might be just starting out, have significant experience as an artist – or be somewhere in between! Our opportunities will be tailored to suit a range of experience levels. Having a range of experience levels within Flourish will enable artists to meet new people, grow and develop, and hear new perspectives.

The programme has no upper age limit however, we can only accommodate those aged 16 and over.

Flourish supports artists based in any location, particularly through our online activities. There will be geographical restrictions for some opportunities, which reflects our vision of bringing creativity to every community in North Yorkshire.

We want our programme to be as inclusive as possible therefore much of our programme will be available both online and in person.

All of our Training and Networking sessions are currently online only. 

Flourish is tailor made to support live performing artists of any discipline – e.g., theatre, dance, music, circus, spoken word and more! We also support multi-disciplinary artists, but Flourish will only be able to do so form a performance perspective.

Flourish is tailor made to support artists of any discipline working primarily in live performance. Those working primarily in film and media are more than welcome to get involved, however some opportunities – e.g. our Scratch Nights – may be applicable solely for live performance.

There are many ways to get involved!

Join our Flourish newsletter.

Join our Flourish Facebook group.

Book onto a Coffee and Chat session (in person or online).

Find out about upcoming opportunities and events.

Whether it’s specific support you need, or a skill you could offer, we’d love to hear from you! Send your idea to Zoe Walker, Creative Producer (Performing Arts):

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For more information, email