What is Scratch?

Scratch is an informal showcase of raw and untested performance ideas. We invite theatre artists at every stage of their careers to send us ideas that they’d like to try out in front of our audience.

We believe in the importance of providing a genuinely safe, receptive and open environment for artists to interrogate a new project, to push at the boundaries of their creativity, to try, fail, and try again.

Each scratch will last up to 10 minutes and we programme four or five in an evening. We install a pop up bar into our studio and keep it open throughout the event, allowing audiences and artists to continue the conversation over a pint. Projects that have started out at our Furnace Scratch night include – Blackthorn, What If I Told You, The Economy of Ecology and WASTED.

Scratch is open to everyone, but we prioritise artists who were born, raised or are currently living in Yorkshire. We actively encourage proposals from artists of colour, LGBTQI+ artists and artists who are d/Deaf or Disabled.

Scratch is wheelchair accessible and BSL interpreted.

What are we looking for?

​If you’ve got an idea you’d like to test out at Scratch, all you need to do is send us a proposal.

You can do this by writing it down, by recording a short video, or by recording an audio clip. Then you simply upload your proposal to our website.

In your proposal, we’d like you to answer the following five questions:

  • What’s your name?
  • What idea do you want to test out at Scratch?
  • Why is Scratch important at this point in the project’s development?
  • What three questions would you like to ask the audience about your Scratch?
  • Do you have any access requirements?

Technical information

Scratch takes place in the Barber Studio. Because it’s a temporary theatre space, the capacity and lay out changes. We’ll let artists know what the capacity and layout will be before each Scratch event.

The Barber Studio will be set up to facilitate basic tech requirements. We will usually provide:

  • Two general lighting states, one warm wash and one cold wash.
  • A basic PA, for playback of recorded music – any music or sound files should be sent to us at least three days in advance, in mp3 format.

We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to provide any technical or production support beyond what’s outlined above. However, if you do have additional tech requirements, please let us know when you send us your idea.

If a piece has cues, you’ll be required to provide a cue sheet at least two days in advance of the Scratch.

Each artist will have 45 minutes of tech time in the Barber Studio on the day of the Scratch. We’ll be really strict about this, because we want to give equal time and support to each artist.

Marketing and documentation

If your proposal is selected to be shared at Scratch, we’ll ask you to send us 100 words of copy and an image about the idea that you’re testing out. We’ll then put that information up on our website and on the Scratch Facebook page.

We’ll film each Scratch and do a very rough edit of each piece. Then we’ll send those rough edits to each artist for their documentation purposes.

Useful Information

Click here to view a list of Scratch Nights in the North of England

And finally…

We’ll pay a stipend of £100 per Scratch piece. We also have very limited funds to contribute towards travel costs, if an artist is travelling from outside Yorkshire.

When we’re selecting artists to be part of Scratch, we’ll try to curate an evening of pieces that work well with each other and that we can facilitate in quick succession technically.

When is Scratch?

There are no Scratch events currently scheduled. To get a notification when we announce the next Scratch night, sign up to our Furnace Social Club.

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