PILOT Nights provide a space where theatre-makers can develop their work and try out new ideas in front of a lively and supportive crowd; the pieces presented are all works-in-progress.

We have been running for over 10 years and our events remain an important part of the creative landscape within the West Midlands and beyond.

Theatre-makers have used the PILOT Nights platform and the feedback it provides to test out risky ideas, develop their work into finished pieces, and build valuable relationships within the industry.

The PILOT Night [at Birmingham Rep] was a fantastic evening of new work from a variety of artists, some of whom we already knew and some who were entirely new to us. It opened The Rep up to a range of high quality work, vivid voices and artists who, thanks to PILOT Nights, we are now working with on a more permanent basis. It was fantastic to host the evening and be a part of supporting such a wide array of work by so many exciting theatre practitioners.

Tessa WalkerAssociate Director, Birmingham REP



  • The opportunity to try out work in front of a supportive audience.

  • The chance to get direct feedback from your audience and peers.

  • Meet potential future collaborators, partners, funders and bookers for the work.

  • Fee of £80 for the first artist and £60 for any artists thereafter.

  • Professional film and photo documentation of your performance.

  • Free rehearsal space in the run up to the night (arrangements will differ from venue to venue).

  • Accommodation in the region if the artist is not based in the West Midlands.

  • Travel expenses on the day/night of the PILOT Night event.

PILOT Nights was a huge help for me developing ‘Beating McEnroe’. The 20 minute slot felt manageable, and the staff and audience were super supportive. I just wanted to see if I could get the audience to play with me, when they did it was a giant boost to my confidence in the project. Alongside all the constructive and enthusiastic feedback after the performance, I left my PILOT Night feeling motivated and excited to take ‘Beating McEnroe’ on to the next stage of development. Thank you.

Jamie WoodTheatre-Maker
Upcoming PILOT Nights events:

We are currently cooking up plans for our next lot of PILOT Nights events. Check back here in the new year for more info or join our mailing list. 



We are currently cooking up plans for our next lot of PILOT Nights events. Check back here in the new year for more info or join our mailing list. 




If you have any further queries, don’t hesitate to contact us.

I’m not based in the West Midlands. Can I still apply to PILOT Nights?

Yes! PILOT Nights  is open to artists nationally. Occasionally there are special PILOT Nights which are open to West Midlands based theatre-makers only, but this will be stated clearly in the call out.

Do I get paid to perform at PILOT Nights?

PILOT Nights provide a fee of £80 for the first artist and £60 for each artist involved thereafter.

If I apply am I guaranteed a performance slot?

No. Once you apply a decision will be made by the Co-Pilot, venue and PILOT Nights team.

How do you select which artists perform at PILOT Nights?

The applications are read and curated by the Co-Pilot and a panel which includes the PILOT Nights team and the venue.

Are PILOT Nights performances photographed and filmed? If so, can I use this documentation?

Yes. All performances are filmed and photographed and these are made available to artists afterwards for their own documentation.

Will I have access to technical equipment? And how long is our get-in and technical rehearsal?

Technical equipment and capacity varies from venue to venue. We ask each company involved to fill out a technical specifications form and we try to meet each company’s technical requirements as fully as possible. The technical rehearsal usually takes place on the day of the performance and each company are given an hour for their get- in and rehearsal.

Will industry programmers see my work at PILOT Nights?

PILOT Nights has been running for over ten years and has become a well known and highly regarded work-in-progress night. Although we cannot guarantee that industry programmers will see your work, we do make programmers and producers aware of PILOT Nights and many have attended  in the past.

Can I invite the PILOT Nights team to see my work elsewhere?

Yes! Please contact us and where possible we will come along.

If I wasn’t selected for PILOT Nights, can I get feedback on my application?

Yes, just ask! You can contact us here.

Can I perform extracts from finished work at PILOT Nights?

No. PILOT Nights is a work-in-progress platform which is specifically designed for people to show work which is still in the process of development.

I have never created any work before. Can I still apply for PILOT Nights without any prior experience?

Yes definitely. PILOT Nights is the ideal place to try something new in a supportive environment. Where possible we always try to program work from a range of emerging and established artists.

Do you provide accommodation?

We have a number of PILOT Nights hosts who can accommodate artists from outside of the region.

I don’t make work for studios. Is there still an opportunity for me to take part?

Yes. As of 2014 PILOT Nights are starting PILOT Sites which is specifically for artists working in outdoor or non-theatre spaces. Also if an artist has an idea that is to be performed at a venue but not specifically in the studio space (eg, foyer, dressing room etc), we would consider accommodating the piece (when possible and depending on the venue).