The Digital Theatre Initiative, supported by YouTube launches for applicants.

YouTube has today announced the launch of The Digital Theatre Initiative. The Initiative is designed to support those who want to create content that answers the question ‘what is theatre when it’s online?’ The aim is to help participants continue innovation in digital theatre, break down boundaries, make the arts accessible to more people, and ultimately encourage more people to engage with live theatre. With lockdown easing and the cultural sector beginning to look to the future, YouTube is exploring ways to support the industry and ultimately drive people back into theatres.

Applications are opening today at Up to four Participants will receive mentoring, support and between £10,000 – £20,000 to create three to four pieces of new content to be hosted on their YouTube channel (and beyond).

They will also be mentored throughout the programme by YouTube experts and our content-creation agency Remedy Inc. Applicants will be invited to a YouTube Masterclass on Monday 29th March 2021 where they can hear directly from YouTube about Best Practices for cultural institutions.  YouTube will also work 1:1 with the successful applicants throughout their production process.

Applications are welcome from freelancers/groups or organisations, and we actively encourage people from any background to apply. We are keen to hear from a diverse and inclusive range of voices and emerging talent to ensure that the Initiative is representative of our society.

With venues closed over the past 12 months, audiences have turned to online platforms like YouTube to watch theatre, and we’ve seen exciting innovations from practitioners in this new, evolving medium. British practitioners have embraced the challenges they’ve faced, and produced groundbreaking work. We hope this Initiative will support the future of this new medium.

The content must include:

  • One main piece of content (can be as small scale or large scale as Participants want); and

  • Two to three smaller pieces (which can either be standalone pieces or related to the main piece of content, eg behind the scenes, Q&A, a ‘making of’ etc).

The Panel is comprised of:

Hannah Bentley – Arts Council England

Matthew Byam Shaw – Producer, Playful Productions

Bunny Christie OBE – Production Designer

Inua Ellams – Poet and playwright

Dame Sheila Hancock – Actor, Author, Director

Charlotte Longstaff – LW Theatres

Bijan Sheibani – Director and author

Ben McOwen Wilson, MD of YouTube UK said: “I’m delighted that YouTube is launching the Digital Theatre Initiative to support the theatre industry at a time of unprecedented challenges. As theatres prepare to welcome live audiences again, YouTube is uniquely positioned to offer them new ways to connect with existing and brand new audiences – as we have done to such great effect throughout the pandemic. YouTube is committed to supporting the British creative economy including our beloved theatre companies and venues, we are focused on ensuring that a digitally-enabled Creative Britain builds back better, stronger, and more representative of incredible diverse creative talent across our great country.”

More information and an application form is available at

Key dates: 

Applications open – 9am Monday 15th March 2021

Applications close – 6pm Wednesday 7th April 2021

YouTube Masterclass: 29th March 2021

Participants announced: 4th May 2021


Launched in May 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch, and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube is a Google company.

Courtesy of YouTube.

Written by Theatrefullstop