Invitation to Tender: Independent Evaluator for Platfform

1. About Theatr Iolo

Our mission is to put the child and young person at the heart of all we do.
We are an award-winning theatre company, which for over twenty-five years has delivered witty, bittersweet and powerfully magical performances for our audiences – babies, children and young people and families. We work in schools, nurseries, village halls, community centres, theatres, forests, streets and playgrounds and have even performed in a cowshed in Austria. Our work takes us all over Wales and the UK, and internationally across Europe, Russia and Korea. We have created over 80 productions, performed to 300,000 children and young people. In 2013/14, the company toured 8 productions which played to c.18,600 people in 307 performances. We represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow in 2014 and in August of this year presented Dylan Thomas’s Adventures in the Skin Trade at the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the British Council’s international celebration of the Dylan Thomas centenary, aswell as Out of the Blue, our highly successful co-production for early years with Director Sarah Argent.

The company’s core work is to produce work for young audiences, which we define as aged 26 and under. We are particularly known and respected for our work for early years (babies to under-5s) and have recently received acclaim for our work for young adults.  Each year, our main programme consists of our own productions, aswell as co-productions, collaborations and participatory activities such as workshops for young people and artists. We currently support a number of Associate Companies with space, advice, mentoring and marketing support.  The company also has a programming and curating strand, bringing the best of world theatre for young audiences into partner venues.

2. Platfform

2.1 Introduction to Platfform

Platfform is a three-year pilot programme jointly funded by Arts Council of Wales and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
It is an experimental, pilot programme that aims to define best practice in connecting producers, arts venues and audiences through the prism of developing artists.

It is an artist development programme specifically designed for emerging artists wishing to create work for young people or families. It brings together independent artists and organisations, arts venues, communities (including schools and community groups), hopefully leading to:
    •    An increase to the number of artists and organisations creating high quality work for young people and families;
    •    Local communities viewing their local venues as welcoming, family-friendly spaces and increasing their use of these spaces;
    •    A new form of of collaboration and joined-up thinking around creating work for young people from the genesis of the idea to final performance

2.2 How will it work?

A number of emerging theatre-makers and / or arts organisations will be supported over the life of the programme.

The first call-out (May – June 2015) was for three emerging artists / organisations, selected via an open recruitment process.  One of the criteria for the selected artists was that they are interested in making work for children, young people and their families, and importantly, engaging young people in the creation of this work.

Each successful artist will embed themselves in their partner venue from and the community and will work with local young people and community groups to create at least one piece of work (at research and development stage) suitable for young people and families.  At the point of re-tendering, initial meetings had taken place only. The three venue partners working with the first cohort of artists and organisations are Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, Parc & Dare in Treorchy and The Welfare in Ystradgynlais.

Theatr Iolo’s Associate Producer will manage each project.  Each artist will be based within the venue where they will receive space in which to develop their ideas. Artists will work with the Producer to develop a programme that will work for them and their venue. This could include research processes, venue takeover projects, scratch performances, or programming a strand of work for the venue.  From this funded programme artists will receive a bespoke package of research and development and mentoring from a team of professionals. This will include setting aims and challenges for the artists, and reflecting on those through project documentation and regular meetings with the producer.

As advertised in the call-out, residencies started from September 2015. We’re anticipating projects will last between 7 – 9 months however we are keen to work flexibly and responsively and will extend this if the projects need more time.

Platfform is a strategic pilot programme, responsive to need and demand in the sector for artists in the sector creating high quality theatre for young audiences. To this end the pattern of call-outs is likely to change over the three years, for example we may issue a call-out for 2 artists with a specific brief of creating work for early years, or one artist to develop a script for young adults working with young people to create something.  The call-outs are likely to overlap to enable cross-over and potential collaboration between the artists. The partner venues are likely to change to maximise the benefit and impact of the programme across Wales. Each call-out will be pre-planned with the steering group and independent evaluator as appropriate.

We also hope to run sector-wide workshop programmes and training opportunities.

2.3 What will be achieved?


Theatr Iolo is a revenue funded client of the Arts Council of Wales. In 2010 the council’s Investment Review changed the landscape for theatre for young audiences in Wales. Prior to the Review, eight companies were funded and operated within geographically-limited franchises providing theatre predominately to schools. Following the review five companies were funded with no geographical limitations and a focus on performing in venues with schools and family audiences encouraged to attend their local arts venue.

This change resulted in:
    •    Producers with little knowledge of the venue sector, required to adapt their business models very quickly;
    •    Venues with little knowledge of the TYA sector now needing to reach young and family audiences, with little knowledge of how to welcome these groups into their spaces;
    •    Audiences with limited track record of going to the theatre with the schools or as a family.

Theatr Iolo has adapted and now tours to venues across the UK and internationally, however the challenge for us is to develop our audiences and our venue network within Wales.

We have worked with emerging artists on a number of projects since our inception as a company and run a small Associate Artist scheme to support locally based artists however we have noticed there are only a small number of artists and theatre-makers creating work for young and family audiences.  A number of other companies that create theatre for children and young people exist in the sector in Wales and work with a mix of actors, writers and directors but non of these currently run any targeted programmes aimed at developing artists in this field. Interesting models elsewhere in the UK are the egg’s Incubator programme, Imaginate’s Associate Artist programme and Starcatcher’s Hup project.
The above background information has informed the following outcomes. These underpin the programme and will be evaluated as part of our funding agreements with and Arts Council Wales:
Outcome One:        To invigorate the sector through more artists making quality work for children, young people and families
        An increase in the number of new and emerging artists developing work of the highest quality for children, young people and families across a range of theatrical forms. This work will be informed by connecting with its intended audience.

Outcome Two:        Make audience in the area consider going to the theatre an intrinsic part of their cultural life and feel welcomed there
For audiences to feel connected to their local cultural organisations and to the process of making art, for audiences to feel comfortable attending the venues regularly and using the spaces socially.  The venues will have a welcoming offer, able to deal effectively with the needs of young and family audiences.
Outcome Three:      A new model of collaboration between producers, venues and the audiences
        To develop best practice in the creation of the work for this sector and imbue that thinking from the genesis of the idea to its final performance.  This thinking will be shared during the pilot and beyond.

2.4 Who is Platfform for?

This programme is aimed at the performing arts sector (including artists, practitioners and arts venues), local communities and educational groups.

Learning will be propagated pan-sector throughout the duration of the project and beyond its lifespan. We are keen that a tool-kit be developed as part of the evaluation that can support future evaluation of projects that bring together a number of partners and stakeholders.  This is integral to the project and is one of our expectations of the successful pitch.

A steering group is currently being set up that brings together Iolo staff, venue partners and artists and practitioners not currently involved in the programme. The aim is for some group membership to be renewed year-on-year to keep it fresh. The group will meet quarterly to discuss progress, challenges and generate ideas for the programme. E-bulletins will be distributed amongst partners to update on progress and ensure connectivity between the projects.

3. Delivery

3.1 The role of Evaluator

Theatr Iolo is looking to commission an independent evaluator to report on the extent to which the programme has achieved the three aims above.

The evaluation process needs to run through the entire project and include both qualitative and quantitative data. We are expecting the partner venues to provide access to Platfform data, and anticipate the evaluator playing a major role in both the capture and analysis of data.

The evaluator will need to produce an end of year report for each cohort / stage of the project and an overall report of the full three-year programme. Please note the contract will be reviewed at the end of each year of the programme. This will be with a view to continuing the contract, however in exceptional circumstances this may not be the case, for example the contract not being met.

The final product will be a report ready for publication and sharing pan-sector complete with images and an executive summary. As noted above Theatr Iolo also expects a toolkit to be developed that will enable aspects of the programme to be self-evaluated.


We would also expect the yearly reports and final overall report to include recommendations for Theatr Iolo about the future development of the successful elements of the campaign post 2018.

3.2 Timetable:

This is a three-year programme with an evaluation at the end of each cohort /stage of the project and a full programme evaluation at the end of year 3. The time-timetable for the first cohort is as follows:

MARCH 2015                    Detailed planning with venues
APRIL                                Launch scheme, application process open
MAY                                   Call-out for artists
JUNE                                 Applications close
JULY                                 Interviews, 3 artists secured by end of July
AUGUST                           Planning time with artists and venues
SEPTEMBER                    Residences to start
MARCH – MAY 2016        Residencies to come to an end (this is flexible, we are happy for projects to continue for a limited time beyond this period based on mutual agreement and if the project warrants more time)
APRIL                               End of evaluation, lessons learnt and re-shaping
At this stage the timetable has been set for the first cohort only. This is a flexible programme and we anticipate cohorts will overlap to support collaboration and a stronger sense of community within the programme. All decisions will be discussed with the research evaluator and agreed in advance of planning and delivery time.
The closing date for proposals is Monday 19th October 2015. We will hold interviews with shortlisted proposals on the afternoon of Monday 2nd November 2015.

3.3 Fee and Budget:

We will accept pitches of between £15,000 – £17,000 including VAT and to include fees and delivery costs. Please provide a breakdown of how some of this might be allocated across the first year of the project.  

3.4 Submission:

By midday on Monday 19th October please provide a brief written submission that includes the following:
    •    An outline methodology for the first year of the programme, showing how the above could be considered and explored. Please note the total budget in this document is non-negotiable;
    •    A statement setting out your skills and expertise in relation to the list of requirements below;
    •    If you are working alone, a full CV. If you are working with others, CVs for all team members with an explanation of your respective roles;
    •    A full budget breakdown which includes daily rates for all team members and any other expenses that need to be included in addition to the fees (please note fees will not be paid as a grant and therefore if you are eligible for VAT please include these costings in your submitted budget);
    •    An assessment of the challenges you foresee in the programme and how you would overcome them;
    •    A statement about what excites you about this brief;
    •    Contact details of two previous clients with the name of the project;
    •    A copy of two previous pieces of work – full and final reports only
The successful consultant will need to provide evidence of:
    •    Experience of delivering similar projects;
    •    An ability to collate and analyse dissimilar project information;
    •    Interviewing skills with a range of people;
    •    An ability to produce clear, concise and well-written reports;
    •    Demonstrate a strong understanding of the performing arts landscape in Wales and the practicalities of delivering a pilot programme working in arts venues and communities.

You will need to consider and demonstrate how the evaluation can work bilingually, for example be able to conduct focus groups in the welsh language as required.  Translation fees are approximately £75 per 1,000 words and £100 - £150 half-day rate.

Please submit your proposal in a single PDF to
Please note no fees will be payable for tendering.
Olivia Harris, Associate Producer – Artist Development
t: 029 2061 3782
Please contact Olivia with any questions by Friday 16th October 2015.