Testing, testing: Brighton Dome's scratch night, The Works

Assistant Producer Rob Jones gives us insight into The Works, which allows artists to trial new and in-development work with an audience. See here for more information and to apply.What can applicants to The Works expect?

They can expect an opportunity to test their ideas in a supportive encouraging environment which will help them push things on. We hope that people are keen to interrogate their practice and take risks .

How do you choose the participants?

The selection process involves a panel consisting of members of the Artistic Planning team and our Dramaturg Lou Cope. We will read through everything in advance and then take our time to discuss each project, look up links, read scripts and battle it out until we have come to a final decision. No one is allowed to leave the room until we get to the final line up.

Why do you think this kind of programme is important?

It’s important to have opportunities in the programme for artists to develop their work and test things out in front of a live audience. Scratch nights can play a massive part in developing an idea and spurring it on to becoming a full blown show. They also provides a great moment for audiences to get more insight into how artists approach making work and to play a valuable part In giving feedback at a critical stage in the works development. We are planning to develop a much larger artists' development offer with the Creation Space in the redevelopment and this will expand and connect with the Dome and Festival programme in new and exciting ways.

What can audiences expect on the night?

A warm inviting atmosphere and an opportunity to see performance in their embryonic stages. They should be prepared to be a generous audience member- looking at the bones of an idea and maybe having to use their imagination a little to meet the artists half way to see the finished picture and potential of what an idea could be. They will be asked specific questions by the Dramaturg and artist in a structured conversation designed to help them interrogate key areas of the performance, helping it along the path of development. There will be feedback forms to give any wider thoughts of suggestions for the work also.

What do you hope that participants will take away from this experience?

We hope artists take away a positive clear direction on where they want to take their idea next. After having time with a dramaturg to explore the idea further and space to stretch its legs in front of an audience. The Works is also a beginning of a relationship with Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival where the producing team will help to signpost opportunities and help artists find those next steps.

This is the first time the performance has taken place in The Basement – how do you think the space benefits an event like this?

The Basement is a stripped back venue with a blank canvas /industrial feel. I think that lends well to embryonic performance ideas as there’s room for imagination and setting tone with a piece of work, way more than you could with a more traditional studio theatre setting. There are three spaces on offer this time also which is very exciting and enables more room for experimentation. I hope artists will see the beauty of the space and embrace it!

Do you have a memorable experience from previous The Works events?

So many. Far too many to just single out just one. All sorts from aerialists with DIY gimp masks on the Concert Hall stage to audiences being turned into orbiting satellites, to incredible audio visual rock gigs retelling classic novels and many many more. What I will say is I love the way the audience and artists form a community over the course of the evening to create a really buzzy and electric atmosphere – that’s pretty special. You should all come!