Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Fringe invite independent artists to develop and present a new performance work for 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Being able to create Colossus with the support of Take Over! was nothing less than brilliant. The commission allowed me to fulfil my dream to create a mass work for 50 dancers and the result has completely exceeded our expectations. I needed the backing of Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Fringe to help realise a work of this scale and ambition and they supported me 100%. The experience has been profound and I can't wait to see what Take Over! generates next.Stephanie Lake, Take Over! artist 2018

Arts Centre Melbourne is committed to providing pathways and opportunities for Australia’s leading independent artists – artists who create work at the forefront of contemporary practice and play a vital role within the overall arts ecology.

Melbourne Fringe is a celebration of cultural democracy and art for everyone. By embracing diversity and a spirit of independence, Fringe creates a unique space for artistic self-expression linked to the life of our great city. Adventure is at the heart of the Melbourne Fringe experience, and discovery comes by challenging assumptions, exploring new ideas and pushing participants beyond their expectations.

Take Over! is a unique partnership between Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Fringe that will enable an independent artist/company/collective to develop a creative idea throughout 2019 ready for presentation in the 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

The artists selected will have access to $30,000 of seed funding to develop their work. They will receive $30,000, rehearsal space, as well as a tailored program of support and mentorship in producing, marketing and fundraising.

Arts Centre Melbourne will support the company to identify a mentoring artist of national or international significance and broker this relationship for the company. ACM will allocate up to $5000 towards costs enabling the company to work with this mentoring artist.

The resulting work will run in the Fairfax Studio for one week of Melbourne Fringe Festival, 18 – 22 September 2019, to be paid for by Arts Centre Melbourne.

This project has been generously supported by Monica Lim and Konfir Kabo and Lorraine and John Bates.

What are we looking for?

  • An independent artist/company/collective to develop an ambitious new work that will extend their artistic practice
  • Artists who believe they are ready to take their work to wider audiences and make work for larger spaces
  • This is an opportunity for a mid-career/established artist and aims to support growing body of work from an artist with at least 8 years professional practice – applicants should be able to exhibit a strong track record of work
  • We invite all artists, including artists living with disability, who meet the criteria to apply
  • The selected project may be any live performance genre including theatre, cabaret, music, live art, performance art, circus, comedy, opera, musical theatre, puppetry, spoken word, cross-artform and/or dance
  • The project may have undertaken previous creative developments; however there should be a compelling reason as to why the work needs more development before going into presentation
  • This is primarily an opportunity for Australian based artists although international collaborations will be considered
  • Artists may submit a proposal that could result in the presentation of a season of work (ie. a double-bill) provided that we are satisfied that the budget is viable and there is a compelling curatorial rationale behind the proposal
  • The project must have a producer attached and their biography should be included in your application
  • Companies or organisations in receipt of multi-year State or Federal Arts organisation funding are not eligible for this particular initiative

What is the offer?

  • $30,000 seed funding to be paid directly to the artist/company/collective to develop the work during 2019* ready for final rehearsal and presentation week in Melbourne Fringe 2019
  • Rehearsal space (subject to development and rehearsal schedule and availability of spaces)
  • Marketing campaign including dedicated publicist
  • Up to $5000 towards artistic mentor costs with an artist of national or international significance
  • Producing support and mentoring: We will work with the selected team to identify what areas they need most support ie. touring opportunities, funding proposals, capacity building etc.
  • Venue: the 376-seat Fairfax Studio for 1 week of presentation
  • Production and technical support whilst in the venue**
  • Technical equipment based on the standard equipment provided in the Fairfax Studio
  • Please note that the backstage and onstage areas of the Fairfax Studio are accessible for wheelchair users
  • Dramaturgical/outside eye support as required and opportunities for critical feedback throughout the process
  • Opening Night function

*Arts Centre Melbourne will also pay for the presentation of the work for a week season (this presentation fee is additional to the $30,000 seed funding to develop the work) in the Fairfax Studio in the week 16 September – 22 September 2019. A viable and mutually agreed budget will be developed with ACM and the selected artists/company/collective within the financial parameters of the project. ACM will also support the artists/company/collective develop funding and philanthropic applications as required.

**Selected companies need to provide their own Production Manager, Stage Manager, Set, Lighting, Sound, AV Designers as relevant to the project

How to apply?

We want to keep the Expression of Interest process straightforward and not onerous. To apply, email with the following by midnight on Jan 18 2019. Unfortunately due to the large number of applications we receive for this project we are unable to provide specific feedback to applicants.

If there are access barriers to completing a written form, applications can also be submitted as a video or audio recording that addresses the application questions. We will only consider the content of the video with no regard to high production values.

If your project is shortlisted and you are invited to an interview and require an Auslan interpreter ACM will provide this and work with you to book your preferred interpreter.

Applicant name:
Project name:
Phone number:

What is your idea?
Maximum 500 words

How do you plan to develop this work throughout 2019 ready for presentation in September?
Please provide a draft timeline.
Maximum 500 words

Who are you?
Please provide bios for the project team
Maximum 200 words per bio

What is your previous work?
Please provide performance history; title of work, presentation season/s, venue, year
Maximum one page
Please provide links to website or Vimeo/YouTube links to previous work

How will this opportunity extend your practice?
Maximum 500 words

Who do you want your mentoring artist to be and why?
Maximum 250 words

What can you offer the artistic community through this opportunity?
Maximum 250 words

We want the selected artist/company to consider ways that it can engage with the Melbourne Fringe and wider artistic communities through this process. This could include facilitating masterclasses, open-rehearsals, secondments, panel discussions etc.

Arts Centre Melbourne will only accept one application per applicant
Arts Centre Melbourne will not accept late applications
Arts Centre Melbourne will not be able to offer feedback; and the decisions will be final
The final project will be selected by a panel that will consist of Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Fringe representatives

In considering the audience for this work, you should create a project for an adult audience who embrace creative risk, artistic ambition and different ways of viewing the world.

This opportunity is not for remounts however projects may have already undergone some creative development.

For questions about this program please email Daniel Clarke –


December 13: Applications open
January 18: Applications close midnight
January 24: Shortlisted applicants notified
January 30: Meetings with shortlisted applicants
January 31: Successful applicant notified

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