Toolbox is a creative challenge to the young theatre makers of Nottingham, developed as part of a brand new theatre category for Nottingham’s Young Creative Awards 2018.

The challenge is simple: theatre makers across Nottingham will receive a box filled with a selection of materials, stimuli and ideas. Each group must use these tools as a stimulus to create their own, original 15 minute performance.  Whilst every group’s box will contain the same items, each resultant piece will be different.  There are three entry categories aligned to the Nottingham Young Creative Awards: 13-15 years; 16–18 years; 19-24 years.

All styles of theatre performance are welcome – scripted or devised – and the work can be performed in a style of your choosing, eg physical or object theatre. Most importantly it must be new, it must challenge you, it must engage your audiences, and it must tell a story inspired by the contents of your box.  All group leaders will participate in an introductory workshop led by Edward Boott, Artistic Director of Nonsuch, on Monday 12 February, 6-9pm, at Lakeside Arts.

How the process will work

To register your group’s interest, please email  yca@onenottingham.org.uk and put the Group Leaders’ introductory workshop into your diary for Monday 12 February, 6 – 9pm. At the end of the workshop each Group Leader will leave with their own Toolbox.

A panel will visit each of the participating groups to see their performances as a work in progress during the week commencing 26 March.  Following this each group will receive some feedback, and then a selection of no more than 4 shortlisted groups from each age category will be invited to show their finished work at the Toolbox festival in the Djanogly Theatre at Lakeside Arts from 3 – 6 May 2018.  The shortlisted groups will be selected on the basis of creativity and quality of performance in the opinion of the panel members.

From these performances a winner will be selected from each age category as part of Nottingham’s Young Creative Awards, and each category winner will be eligible for consideration under the title Young Creative of the Year.  The Young Creative Awards 2018 will be announced on Wednesday 23 May 2018 at Nottingham Playhouse.

Further information

This is a new programme supported by the University of Nottingham and delivered in partnership with Nonsuch and Lakeside Arts.  It is the first in a series of new Awards leading to an emerging new festival of original work created for and by young people which recognises the wealth of talent in our city.

Entries open on Monday 4 December 2017 and close Friday 9 February 2018.  Entries are welcomed from the following: youth theatres, schools, colleges, universities or community groups.

On sign-up, all group leaders must commit to the following:

  • attending an introductory 3 hour workshop at Lakeside Arts led by Edward Boott, Artistic Director of Nonsuch Theatre on Monday 12 February 6 – 9pm
  • agree to host a visit by the judging team from a shortlisting/feedback perspective the week commencing 26 March

Shortlisted groups will be invited to participate in a showcase event where final judging will take place at Lakeside Arts in the Djanogly Theatre:

  • 13-15 years Performance date Thursday 3 May
  • 16-18 years Performance date Friday 4 May
  • 19-24 years Performance date Saturday 5 May

Digital Recording Permissions

Please note that all performances at the Toolbox Festival will be recorded digitally for archiving purposes but also so that clips may be shown at the Awards Ceremony at Nottingham Playhouse.  It is therefore essential that appropriate permissions are sought and gained from participants.


All group members must live, work or study in Nottingham, and at least 50% of each age group category must fall within each of the prescribed age groups.

Entry is Free.

Further information or questions

If you have any questions, please email: rachel.feneley@nottingham.ac.uk

We look forward to hearing that you have registered your interest via email!


Perfect for: Young Theatre Makers of Nottingham. 

Age Group: 13-24

Locations: Across Nottingham

Get Involved

Toolbox is a partnership between Nonsuch, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, The University of Nottingham and Nottingham’s Young Creative Awards.