Let the artists in!

We’ve had some fantastic news to start 2018 with. Thanks to generous support from Arts Council England and an exciting new partnership with The Writing Squad, we have been funded to deliver our big plans for the next phase of First Draft!

As a result, we’ll be doing things a bit differently for the next 18 months. We’ll be putting our regular events at the Castle Hotel on pause for the time being, in order to focus on a programme of special one-off cabaret nights in cultural venues. We’re also spreading our wings and venturing out across the North, with events in Newcastle as well as Manchester.


Venues for our events in 2018 and 2019


Chetham’s Library

Manchester Jewish Museum

The Portico Library


The Lit & Phil

Woodhorn Museum

Newcastle Castle

It’s fantastic to see a successful grass roots literature organisation like First Draft receiving funding through our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme to expand its reach across the north of England. Working in partnership with The Writing Squad, one of our National Portfolio Organisations, this project will help to connect museums, libraries, artists and audiences across two major northern cities and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

Jane Beardsworth, Director North, Arts Council England

“We are excited to be working in partnership with First Draft on their ambitious project: ‘Let the artists in!’. It’s an excellent opportunity for new writers to create and perform new work alongside more experienced and well known performers of all disciplines, and we can’t wait to see what they all come up with.”

Steve Dearden, The Writing Squad

We are beginning to programme the first of these events now, and each line up will consist of the usual First Draft mix of literature, comedy, drama, music, and other sorts of less categorisable performances. For each event, we will commission a mix of emerging and established artists to create brand new pieces of work inspired by the venues or a collection held there. We will also be commissioning some online pieces around each event, which will be published on our blog.

We won’t be doing open callouts for performers for these events, but if you’re a performer of any kind and would like to register your interest, you can get in touch with us here. We are particularly committed to programming diverse line ups of performers for all of these events, and to reaching new audiences in both cities who might not usually get involved with museums and libraries. If you’d like to chat to us about how we can do that, we’d love to hear from you.


Anjali Shah performing at our event at the John Rylands Library

We are so excited about working with all these fantastic partner organisations and some amazing creatives to explore these spaces and bring them to life.

The date of our first event will be announced very soon!

Abi & Harry

One response to “Let the artists in!

  1. Hi folks

    This sounds good! Well done on getting funding for doing shows in these great venues

    It’s Tony Baxter here. If you need different types of acts, and acts that can write to a suggested theme, I would certainly offer to do that in a unique way.

    Lately I have been doing comedy but am also known for spoken word. Add to that, music (I can write songs at the drop of a hat about anything) and now I have added drawing to the act, if there is a screen available.

    I have done First Draft before, at the Castle but have further developed the act along the above lines.

    I would say it was firstly comedy but utilising all sorts of different angles, not just normal stand-up. More like variety.

    If you’re not sure, if you give me a theme I will get back to you within a day or two with some ideas, and you can see if you like them. The actual theme can be something else, this is just to show you the type of act I can do.

    Many thanks and best wishes


    Sent from my iPhone


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