FAQ: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This page gives you information for your application to Voila! Europe Theatre Festival. It is not a contract, and we may make adjustments to these details. Successful applicants will receive formal contracts in June 2021. If you still have questions after reading through these FAQs, please email Sharlit and Amy at email@example.com.
Application information is available in audio format. Please click here for the full playlist on SoundCloud.
IMPORTANT LINKS & DOCUMENTS
Q&A WITH FESTIVAL DIRECTORS SHARLIT DEYZAC & AMY CLARE TASKER
WHAT IS THE VOILA! EUROPE THEATRE FESTIVAL?
Voila! is a pan-European theatre festival designed to break through borders, language barriers and cultural assumptions. Since 2012, the festival has presented multilingual performances from Europe & the UK at The Cockpit in London. In 2020, the festival adapted for online performances, and now we are planning a hybrid on stage and online festival for 2021.
WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE?
Voila! Europe is an opportunity for UK and European companies to present their show at The Cockpit in London, either on stage or via online broadcast accessible to local and international audiences. Voila! Europe aims to attract press and industry attention for artists, and provide a platform for potential touring beyond the festival. We also run a peer-assessed award scheme in partnership with Off West End. With participating artists from London, the UK, and Europe, you’ll be able to create international connections and collaborations.
“Voila! Festival worked as a catalyst for the further progress and development of both the show and our company, reaching press and industry contacts that wouldn't be reachable in a different context. For us, as a new company, Voila! was the ideal platform to take the first step on a long journey. It's a big family and we're proud to be part of it!” - Mikra Theatricals
"Voila! Europe clearly has an imaginative and energetic approach to presenting international work in an urban festival setting; from its initial aims it has proved itself to be responsive, quirky and risk-taking." - European Festivals Association
WHAT DOES "INDEPENDENT" THEATRE MEAN?
The festival embraces an entrepreneurial ‘independent’ or ‘fringe’ model in order to platform emergent theatre: contemporary artist-led work that responds to our world with a sense of urgency. We support theatre makers to take the next steps in self-producing their work, bypassing mainstream institutional gatekeepers.
Think of Voila! Europe as a curated co-production opportunity. We provide the venue, the box office and administrative support, an overall PR and marketing campaign, and mentoring from the festival team. You provide the idea, the artists, the production, and a show-specific marketing campaign. Like entrepreneurs in partnership, we take the risk and reap the rewards together.
WHAT DOES "EUROPEAN" THEATRE MEAN?
We deliberately do not define who is ‘European’ and who isn’t. Europe is a common history, a rich cultural tapestry, a multilingual and multiracial community, a shared identity alongside our differences.
We welcome applications from companies and shows that have a connection to Europe, whether that is through the cultural heritage of the artists, the performance techniques and aesthetics of the show, the languages spoken on stage, or the themes explored.
Voila! aims to expand the notion of ‘European Theatre,’ by focusing on languages rather than nationalities. We are especially keen to hear from artists who are underrepresented on UK stages, for example people who experience racism, LGBTQ+, migrant, and disabled artists.
WHEN DOES THE FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?
Voila! Europe will run 15 - 21 November 2021. Performances will be scheduled in the evenings on weekdays, and in the afternoons and evenings on weekends.
WHERE DOES THE FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?
Voila! is produced by The Cockpit in London, UK. Our flexible 200-seat theatre is usually configured in thrust (with audience on 3 sides), or in the round (with audience on 4 sides).
Following the success of our entirely online festival in 2020, we plan to programme a hybrid festival in 2021 with performances on stage at The Cockpit and online.
Online performances could be recorded or live-streamed from your home, at The Cockpit (by special arrangement), in another theatre or rehearsal space near to you, or at any other location you can imagine in the UK or outside of the UK. We broadcast online performances via our Zoom account or Vimeo account to our website www.voilafestival.co.uk
More details about on-stage and online performance formats below and on the performance spaces page here.
WHAT STYLES OF PERFORMANCES IS THE FESTIVAL LOOKING FOR?
We accept proposals for any genre of live performance: theatre, dance, comedy, music, stand-up, performance art, etc. While Voila! is a multidisciplinary festival, we do serve a mainly theatre-going audience. When we programme dance, music, or circus, it has a strong theatrical or narrative element.
You might have a show in a European language. You might have translated or adapted a European play. You might be a UK company with a piece of new writing featuring a cast or creative team from Europe. You might be a European company looking to bring your show to an international audience in London. You might have performed this show a few times and want to take the production values to the next level.
We do not specify a theme for the festival; instead, we want to know what topics artists think are the most urgent for our times. If your work has a connection to Europe, we’d love to hear from you!
HOW DOES THE FESTIVAL ENVISION DIGITAL PERFORMANCE?
The pandemic has presented a challenge and an opportunity to expand what we mean by “theatre.” With our online programming, we aim to preserve theatre’s liveness and create a sense of community between artists and audiences. As a multidisciplinary festival, we are also interested in the intersection of theatre and film, mixing live and pre-recorded material.
Various digital performance platform (ie Zoom, Gather, On Demand, email, text message...) present their own unique artistic possibilities and limitations. We are particularly interested in projects which use the features of their chosen technology in creative ways.
In any case, each performance location needs to have:
- A phone or laptop to capture sound & video
- High-speed internet connection
- If possible, a non-performer to be in contact with The Cockpit’s technical team during the performance
- If possible, sound, video, and lighting equipment beyond what is built into the computer or phone
WHAT FORM(S) CAN MY PERFORMANCE TAKE?
LIVE ON STAGE + ON DEMAND
- 2-4 performances at The Cockpit. Occasionally we programme a show for one performance only if we feel that is a better fit for the production.
- The Cockpit broadcast team will film your show and make the live-mix recording available on demand after the live-on-stage performances.
- Ideal running time 50-60 minutes. Maximum running time 75 minutes.
- We cannot programme shows that are shorter than 45 minutes, or collections of short pieces within one 60-minute performance slot.
- Due to the uncertainty of Covid-19 travel restrictions, we are only considering UK-based companies for live-on-stage performances in 2021. International companies are encouraged to apply with online shows.
- Please read the technical specifications of The Cockpit before applying.
For live on stage shows, each company gets a 6-hour technical rehearsal, which must include a dress rehearsal for the filming team. We program 2 shows per night, so turnarounds between shows are very quick! The company must make sure they have enough hands to set up the stage in 10 mins before the show and clear the stage in 10 mins after the show.
This might not feel like enough time - and for some shows, it is not! Please consider carefully whether your performance can fit into the festival format. It may be possible to accommodate slightly longer get-in or get-out times on a case by case basis.
LIVE ONLINE INTERACTIVE
- 2 performances in an online space, ie, Zoom.
- Ideal running time 50-60 minutes. Maximum running time 75 minutes.
- We are most interested in online performances with a sense of liveness and assembly - that is, the performers and audiences are together in the online space. Here are some examples from our 2020 festival:
- Diary of an Expat: Reloaded, performed in Zoom with moments of interactivity, asking the audience to answer questions from the UK citizenship test.
- State vs Natasha Banina, performed in Zoom with the audience asked to vote on the guilt or innocence of the central character.
For live-online shows, each company will be supported by the broadcast team at The Cockpit, with an advance technical meeting and a 2-hour tech rehearsal on the day of the first performance. Shows will use The Cockpit’s Zoom account, with capacity for up to 500 audience members.
ON DEMAND + WATCH PARTY
- Pre-recorded shows will be available on demand during the festival.
- 1 live online Watch Party event on Zoom, where the audience can watch a pre-recorded show together, followed by a live Q&A with the company.
- Ideal running time 50-60 minutes + 30 minute discussion.
- Here are some examples from our 2020 festival:
For watch party shows, each company will be supported by the broadcast team at The Cockpit in advance by email, with a 30-minute tech rehearsal on the day of the watch party event. Shows will use The Cockpit’s Zoom account, with capacity for up to 500 audience members.
OUT OF THE BOX ONLINE
We’re open to receiving proposals for online shows that don’t fit into the formats listed above. Here are some examples from our 2020 festival to spark your imagination:
- TROJANA: Webcamming Chronicles, an interactive email experience with daily messages to the audience culminating in a live Zoom encounter.
- SH*T HAPPENS: a 15-minute one-on-one performance with the actor and audience member each joining a Zoom call from their bathrooms at home.
Each company will be supported by the broadcast team at The Cockpit; please let us know in your application what your out-of-the-box online show needs.
SCRATCH NIGHT at THEATRE IN THE POUND
The Cockpit runs a regular scratch night called “Theatre in the Pound.” In July and November 2021, the night belongs to Europeans thanks to a Voila! takeover. Theatre in the Pound is a not-for-profit night of performance designed to give theatre makers a low-risk opportunity to test out new work and be seen by the programming team at Voila! Europe.
3-5 companies will share a short (5-15 minute) work in progress and receive feedback from the audience during a Q&A after each piece. The event takes place over Zoom, and you can choose to perform live, or provide a pre-recorded video.
DOES MY SHOW HAVE TO BE IN ENGLISH?
We welcome performances in any language!
Most shows at Voila are in English, or mostly in English with other languages used in a way that English speakers can understand.
For shows that are less than 50% in English, we may ask you to provide surtitles and a surtitle operator. If you do not have an English translation of your show yet, please do get in touch. We may be able to help you find funding to create surtitles, from your cultural centre or embassy in London.
WHAT DOES THE FESTIVAL PROVIDE?
- The festival will include your show image and information in the e-brochure, on the website, and in our social media marketing.
- We will support any social media activity you initiate to promote your show, by sharing on our social media channels whenever possible. When you tweet, we retweet to all our followers. If you send email flyers, we will reuse them wherever we can.
- Although we can’t promise, we will arrange interviews and press releases about you and your show if we can. The more marketing materials you are able to provide us with, the more we are able to help.
- We will supply branding and Voila! Europe festival logos for you to use on all your publicity (although we cannot produce printed flyers or posters for individual companies).
- Voila and The Cockpit have a growing loyal audience - but we can’t guarantee a certain level of ticket sales for any specific production. We can provide advice and guidance on how to promote your show; you should expect to run your own marketing campaign to find your target audience and sell tickets.
- Box Office: We will provide box office services to sell tickets to your show on the Voila website and via The Cockpit box office. Companies will keep 50-70% of the net box office receipts; please see more details of the financial deals below.
The venue will provide a technician to supervise one tech rehearsal and all performances.
We will create opportunities for you to connect with the other artists performing at the festival, as well as members of the theatre industry and press. There will be an artists’ Meet & Greet in late September, and a festival opening event on 15th of November.
We encourage participating cast and creative team members to see the other performances in the festival, with special access to low-cost tickets for all the shows.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO PARTICIPATE?
It is free to apply to be part of Voila. If we agree to present your show, we ask for a £200 deposit. £60 of this pays for your inclusion in our marketing. The remaining £140 is refunded to you after you have performed your show, together with your share of box-office.
Voila! Europe operates on a box-office split, which means that the company and the venue share the ticket income. The company does not pay the venue a hire fee, and the venue does not pay the company a performance fee.
For live-on-stage performances: 50% box office split between the company and the venue.
For online performances: 70% box office split in favour of the company.
Scratch night companies do not need to pay the festival deposit. There is no box office income from Theatre in the Pound performances, and no cost to participate.
WHAT DO I NEED TO PROVIDE?
Companies are responsible for all costs associated with rehearsing and making their show. This may include hiring the cast and creative team, design materials, decor, insurance, etc. You need to make sure that you have secured the rights to use any copyrighted works such as play texts and music.
We run to contract and the show goes on no matter what. We expect the same from you.
Companies must prepare marketing materials. We can help you use them and we will back up what you do, but we cannot create the materials for you. It is essential you come with the following prepared:
- A show title and a hi-resolution image, without text, that clearly identifies your show.
- An English language strap line that describes your show in one sentence.
- A longer English language description of your show that accurately describes your show and tells people why they should see it.
- An E-flier that you can email and post on social media with your show image, title, strapline, blurb plus dates, place and times.
- Additional marketing materials: These might be more images, video trailers, refreshed e-flyers with up to date rehearsal photos, past press quotes, etc.
- Your own mailing list: All the past audiences, friends, contacts, family members, press and industry people you can think of that might be interested in your show, no matter where they are.
- A clear idea of who your show is for, what you are offering them, and why they should buy a ticket. If you can’t answer these questions, no one else can.
All your publicity must include the Voila! Europe and Cockpit logos (we will supply a footer for you to use).
- You must have an account on Facebook and Twitter and preferably also accounts on Instagram and Youtube/Vimeo.
- You must be willing to cooperate with marketing requests for additional materials, press interviews, social media promotions, and audience Q&A events.
- We expect you to respond to email requests in a timely manner, and pass along festival information to the rest of your company.
WILL THE FESTIVAL SUPPORT MY SHOW COMING FROM OUTSIDE OF LONDON/THE UK?
Due to the ongoing uncertainty of Covid-19 travel restrictions, we encourage international companies to apply with online performances this year. We expect to invite only UK-based companies to present shows live on stage at The Cockpit.
We are not able to provide financial assistance directly, but we will do our best to support artists from outside of the UK, by helping you to access funding available through your country’s embassy or cultural attaché. The festival can also supply a letter confirming your participation to support other funding applications.
We encourage international companies to apply as early as possible, in order to allow time to coordinate additional support.
We deliberately do not define who is and who isn’t ‘European.’ However, in the application form, we will ask you to explain your production’s relevance to Voila! Europe, and you will need to make sure you can receive box office payments in £ GBP.
HOW CAN I APPLY?
We want to make it as easy as possible for artists to connect with us. You can choose to fill in the application form in writing, or make a video or audio recording (no longer than 15 minutes) answering the same questions.
We recommend preparing your answers in a separate document; you will not be able to save your work and return to the form later. View & download the application questions here.
The deadline to apply is 11:59PM UK time on 28th April 2021.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
We will contact all applicants in June 2021 with our programming decisions. If you are invited to present your work at VOILA, we will ask you to confirm your participation by returning the signed contract, providing show marketing information and images, and paying the £200 deposit as soon as possible after receiving the festival invitation.
I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS…
We’re happy to help! If your question is about the Voila! Europe Festival, please get in touch with Sharlit and Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your question is about the venue, please contact The Cockpit directly: email@example.com for live on stage shows; firstname.lastname@example.org for online shows.