SEED - Call For New Commissioned Works


Job Description


Closing date:
Friday 25th August

Push the Boat Out (PTBO) are looking to support the germination of three new poetry-led performance pieces, responding to the prompt SEED.

In association with the National Theatre of Scotland, PTBO will award three Scotland-based artists working in poetry or a related language focused art form a £1,500 commission to each produce a new piece, to be performed at Push the Boat Out Festival in Edinburgh. The Festival, which features a heady mix of poetry, spoken word, rap, hip hop, art installations, discussion and performance, runs from 24th to 26th November 2023, with the commissions being presented on the 26th.

PTBO aspires to be a catalyst for new work and create space for creative adventures to begin. The festival gives poetry a new platform, creating an environment where all variations of this vital artform are encouraged to grow, evolve and collide. We encourage work that challenges the boundaries of poetry and explores intersections with other art forms.

This commission responds to feedback on a lack of opportunities to develop and platform longer poetry-led pieces that fit with these aspirations. Artists are asked to propose works of 15-20 minutes in length. These works should be ‘in conversation’ with another art form, and we actively encourage collaboration. It may be a work in progress, but it must be ready for presentation by the Festival, and able to be staged in the Dissection Room at Summerhall, Edinburgh.

As part of the commission, the National Theatre of Scotland will offer technical, dramaturgy and staging support and advice, as well as access to props or costume if required.

PTBO encourage divergence, exploration and experimentation when responding to SEED, both in terms of theme and form. We have left the prompt deliberately broad, recognising and welcoming different interpretations. Artists are invited to grow their idea in a direction that feels in keeping with their practice and speaks to their current intentions for their work.

Submissions should respond clearly to the theme and show an understanding of the Festival’s mission to challenge the boundaries of poetry. PTBO aims to commission a range of works which reflect a commitment to poetry in all its myriad forms.


  • Artists will be paid £1,500 for their commission including presentation of their work at PTBO Festival (24th-26th Nov).
  • The work must be 15-20 minutes in duration when performed.
  • The piece may be a work in progress, but it must be ready for presentation at PTBO Festival.
  • The piece must be in conversation with another art form.
  • Applications are welcome from artists living and working in Scotland.
  • Applications are welcomed for works in English, Scots, Doric, Gaelic and BSL.
  • Applications can be written or submitted via video. Applications can be made in BSL.
  • The panel will consist of representatives from PTBO’s programming committee and NTS.


  • Deadline for application: Friday 25th August.
  • Poets contacted: w/c 4th September.
  • First draft / Interim report due: Tuesday 24th October.
  • Final technical requirements due: Friday 10th November.
  • Performance: Sunday 26th November.

How to apply

Please send:

  • A proposal of max 1 page (written) or 5 minutes (video) detailing how you would intend to respond to the brief.
  • Up to 3 links to previous work
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • A simple provisional budget outlining how you would spend the £1,500. Please detail any access costs in addition to the £1,500, if applicable. You do not have to budget for travel and accommodation to attend the performance; reasonable travel and one night’s accommodation if required for those out with the central belt will be covered in addition to the £1,500.

Proposals should be sent to Martha Adonai, Programme Coordinator, PTBP:

Any questions or requests for informal conversations should be sent to Emma Collins, Director PTBO:

PTBO Festival is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, the William Grant Foundation, City of Edinburgh Council, the William Syson Foundation, Edinburgh Futures Institute and the Edwin Morgan Foundation.