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Artist development

Find out about our PROPEL: Artist Development Programme and how you can get involved

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Our approach

At the heart of MAST’s creative approach is our commitment to supporting the work of local artists and those with a strong connection to Southampton and the surrounding area.

We define this area as east to west, Bournemouth to Portsmouth, and from north to south, Basingstoke to the Isle of Wight.

We aim to support artists at all stages of their development and particularly want to hear from artists who are currently underrepresented in our industry. 

We are dedicated to supporting artists develop both their work and themselves. We offer opportunities to meet with our team and receive advice and guidance on any ideas or projects you may have. 

If you’d like to discuss any of our opportunities or about an idea or project, please contact

PROPEL associates

The PROPEL associate artist programme is designed to help artists with developing and creating both new work and their practice.

This opportunity may be of interest to early career stage artists, but we welcome applications from artists at all stages of their career. Successful applicants will become PROPEL associates for 20 months and will have access to rehearsal space, mentoring sessions and opportunities to present work. We define artists as individuals or companies that create work for live performance.



As part of the programme, MAST will offer: 

  • Rehearsal space to develop work at key points in the year 
  • Practical support for production development 
  • Professional and creative mentoring sessions with MAST staff 
  • Opportunities to share work with invited audiences and receive feedback 
  • Marketing support and guidance 
  • A seed commission to help develop work and/or practice 
  • The opportunity to collaborate with other PROPEL associate artists 
  • End of residency performance as part of our Shout Season 

What PROPEL associate artists are required to do: 

  • Deliver two workshops to Mayflower Youth Theatre, Mayflower Young Company or as part of MAST’s community events 
  • Deliver one session for the MAST Artist Network 
  • Attend Artist Network meetings and events 
  • Present work as part of our SHOUT Season 
  • Assist MAST in developing audiences for Studio 2 
  • Document the development of work, engagement with MAST and overall development as artists 


Applications for our next round of PROPEL associates will be opening in late Spring 2024

Meet our 2023/2024 PROPEL associates

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Artist residencies

Our artist residencies support artists creating performance based work including (but not limited to) theatre, dance, circus, music, comedy and spoken word. 

Artist residencies are tailored to the needs of each artist/project and may include:

  • Space for research and development of new ideas 
  • Opportunities to scratch work in progress  
  • Mentoring – including dramaturgical or producing advice, advice on community engagement and fundraising. 
  • Seed funding of between £250 and £1000 


Artist residency date and application details will be updated here. 

PROPEL: Script in Hand

In collaboration with The Stage Door, PROPEL: Script in Hand is an opportunity for local writers to have their writing explored in two phases. 

Writers submit a new script for consideration and, if selected, will take part in a two-part development programme. Part one will see writers work with a director and actors to explore sections of the script, before performing to an audience and receiving feedback.  

For phase two, the writer will work with The Stage Door, receiving free rehearsal space and the chance to show the whole play during a work in progress evening.  

Writers will receive:

  • Advice and guidance on their script 
  • Two days of exploration with a director and actors during part one 
  • Technical support 
  • Performance photos 
  • An opportunity to develop the work further with The Stage Door 
  • A financial contribution from The Stage Door during Part 2 of development 
  • Audience feedback during part one and two 
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Throughout the year we offer workshops and masterclasses, for local artists, designed to help develop your knowledge and skill-set. Our workshop programme sees artists work alongside some of the industry’s most exciting practitioners and companies.  


Join the Artist Network

If you are an artist aged 18 or over and creating performance-based work, you can sign up to become a MAST Artist Network member.

Signing up is free and members benefit from the following: 

  • Invitations to free networking and professional development events 
  • Regular updates via email about professional opportunities and events in and around Southampton 
  • Discount for selected artist workshops 
  • Discount at the café and bar at MAST  
  • Discounted tickets for selected shows 


Sign up

PROPEL: 48 Hour Artist Challenge

Our 48 Hour Artist Challenge is the perfect way for artists to collaborate, with an opportunity to meet other artists and respond to a creative challenge over 48 hours. We welcome artists from different artforms to take part.  

Details of our next event will be added here, as they become available

PROPEL: Scratch Night

We host regular MAST Scratch Nights, where artists can showcase work that is in development and meet, share and discuss with their peers. Our scratch nights are a great chance for audiences to be part of the creative process, giving their input on shows early on in development.  

Scratch night artists benefit from: 

  • Technical support 
  • Rehearsal time during the day 
  • Professional performance photos 
  • Audience feedback 
  • Support and guidance on next steps  

Our next PROPEL: Scratch Night is on 1 June 2024, apply now

Applications to perform at our next Scratch Night aren’t open yet, get notified when applications open by  joining our Artist Network

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MAST Theatre Collective

MAST Theatre Collective is a place to learn new acting skills, or build on existing ones, in a supportive and relaxed environment. Explore, invent, learn, play and create work using improvisation, devising, script work and more!

MAST Theatre Collective meet regularly on Friday evenings 6.00pm – 7:30pm

To find out more about term times, and how to sign up, visit the MAST Theatre Collective event page

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Mayflower Young Company

Our year-long theatre and performance programme is for people aged 18-30, who are interested in performing, acting and creating theatre. Mayflower Young Company focuses on performance and ensemble skills, generating new ideas, developing theatre knowledge, and receiving masterclasses and workshops from local and national artists. Company members also undertake rehearsals for and create a yearly production.  

Mayflower Young Company meet regularly on Tuesday evenings 7.00pm – 9.00pm.

To find out more about term times, and how to sign up, visit the Mayflower Young Company event page