Back in 2020, somewhere in between a packed PILOT Night at Birmingham REP, and just before things got moving toward the next one that was set to take place at RSC that Summer, we all stepped back into our homes and shut the doors.

It goes without saying that so much has changed between then and now. 

Throughout all of the lockdowns, the four PILOT Nights co-directors continued to think hard and reflect on how best our long established, much cherished work-in-progress platform could continue to support our region’s artists in the most useful, inspiring and productive of ways. As you will all have been aware, one of the elements of this reflection was the consultation to artists that we held back in the Summer of 2021.

All of the elements that combine together to make PILOT Nights work so well – artists, funders, venues, national partners, the core team – are now all operating in response to a changed landscape of theatre and live performance. It has proven a real challenge to find achievable ways to draw all needs together, and we have considered many different options around how to take PILOT Nights forward.

It is with heavy hearts that we have made the decision to close PILOT Nights. It was a difficult decision but one that we believe to be the best way forward at this time.

We will be having one last event – PILOT Nights: The Send off on Thursday 5th May 2022, at Birmingham Hippodrome. The event will be co-PILOTed by Demi Nandhra and Francesca Millican-Slater, both of whom are previous co-PILOTS, and have each tested out early ideas of their work with PILOT Nights. The event will allow us to look back on what PILOT Nights and the artists that have engaged with us have achieved, and also look forward to new ideas for the future. It will be an evening of discussions, performances and joy and we do hope you are all able to make it. We’ll be sending more information out in the next couple of weeks. See below and here for our callout for micro-commissions to perform as part of this special event.

For now, we want to thank you all for all the love, support and trust you’ve shown to PILOT Nights over the years.

Pippa, Jo, Rochi and Amahra x



  • 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 £100 per artist.

  • 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

PILOT Nights- The Send Off

Thursday 5th May

The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome

 PILOT Nights is coming to a close, but we’re not leaving without a good send off!

The event, Co-PILOTed by Francesca Millican-Slater and Demi Nandhra, will allow us to look back on what PILOT Nights and the artists who have engaged with us have achieved, and also look forward to new ideas for the future. It will be an evening of panel discussions, rituals, celebration, sharing of memories and performance. We will also be showing a film documenting the journey of PILOT Nights. 

More info on how to book coming soon


We will commission two short pieces of live performance to celebrate and document PILOT Nights. Each commission will receive a fee of £500. This is not an opportunity to scratch new work, but to produce a creative response to our 15+ year platform, which will be performed as part of the celebrations at PILOT Nights: The Send Off on Thursday 5th May at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Deadline for applications: Monday 11th April 

Successful applicants will be notified by: Friday 15th April 

Performance date: Thursday 5th May

For more information, the brief and application form please click here


To apply, please fill out this application form or answer the questions on the form by video or voice note. You can access the form here. If you have any questions you can email pilotnights@gmail.com

Please read the brief here before applying



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 £100 per artist.

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. In 2014, PILOT Nights started 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).