Formed in 2009, the Creative Talent Programme was developed to respond to a growing need from emerging/early career artists to develop their artistic skills, alongside the business and strategic knowledge that enable a sustainable creative output.

Previous Creative Talent Programme companies/artists have included award winning puppetry company, Smoking Apples, who have gone on to tour their work internationally, critically acclaimed theatre company, DumbshowWhat is Written Dance, and Circus Suburbia who run regular circus classes, workshops and performance for young people.

Find out more about the Creative Talent Programme Artists of 2018 – 2019 here.



We are delighted to announce that applications are open for our Creative Talent Programme 2020-2021. We are searching for three new and exciting emerging or early career companies/artists to support.

We are particularly keen to support emerging artists/companies from outside of London/ M25 and/or, artists/companies who identify as D/deaf or disabled and/or work focused on this. We are also aiming to focus on underrepresented art forms, so the piece the artist/company wants to develop, needs to include an element of either dance, circus or music.

The Creative Talent Programme 2020 – 2021 is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England and will work in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kingston Council, Kingston University, Kingston First, the Rose Theatre Kingston and Kingston College.

Find out more


Here are some of our Creative Talent Programme alumni

Circus Suburbia

Circus Suburbia are a dynamic, young, contemporary circus company providing high quality entertainment at events and festivals as well as circus training, workshops and community engagement.

Creative Youth’s support has allowed Circus Suburbia to co-ordinate a community circus show performed for the finale of IYAF in 2010 and in 2011 raised the funds to allow the research and development of an aerial act which they could continue to tour nationally and generate income for the company.  In 2012 we secured funding from the GLA Mayor’s Outer London fund to convert an unused space into a contemporary circus space which Circus Suburbia took responsibility in programming and animating. 

For more information on the classes that Circus Suburbia run, click here.

To look into booking a circus act for your event, click here.

Smoking Apples

Smoking Apples aims to create physical, visual, puppetry based theatre that specifically aims to engage the adult imagination. Over the last year Creative Youth has provided Smoking Apples with collaborative opportunities to devise new work for multiple projects and is currently working with the Apples to secure a permanent rehearsal space for all Creative Talent companies.

Smoking Apples have been working with Creative Youth as part of their Creative Talent programme for the past 3 years. During this time, they been a constant source of support and helped us to deal with the reality of turning a theatre company into a viable business.”

Smoking Apples are currently developing their new show in collaboration with Little Cauliflower, CELL.  It will next be performed as part of FIRSTS at The Little Angel Theatre.  Keep up to date with the shows progress here

Tankus the Henge

The world of Tankus the Henge is uplifting and wild, dark and heartfelt.  A six piece powerhouse of a band drawing visual and musical influences from old time Fairgrounds to modern day Circus; The Beatles to Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello to Radiohead, they embody a look and a sound that lies somewhere between their South East London home and the carnival town of New Orleans.

With their charismatic frontman, Jaz Delorean, looking like a lost character from a Terry Gilliam film and the pump and grind of the Tankus the Henge sound generating a groove that makes it impossible to stand still, their live show ebbs and flows like a small boat on a turbulent sea.

Tankus are still playing and touring since their graduation from the programme back in 2013.  

‘AndOn Theatre

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Founded in 2013, but a long time in the making, ‘AndOn Theatre, make no apologies for who they are and what they do: a theatre-loving family that create to inspire and affect. We’re proud and privileged to have sprung from the most organic elements that any theatre company could hope for.

We create work that clings to our roots and draws on the ultimate inspiration; over two decades of shared memories and a life well lived (…so far!) We strive to make it real and keep it simple, and spark story from the raw and the irrefutably interesting. 

Epitomising energy and dynamism, we push ourselves beyond our daring imagination and truthful stimuli to performances that are poignant, honest and draw a refreshing smile.   

‘AndOn are still regulars at IYAF each year after Bits & Box, which opened and won Best of the Fest at IYAF 2013.

Filskit Theatre

Filskit Theatre are an all-female ensemble with a passion for micro-projection. With our innovative use of technology we aim to create work that ignites the imagination of children and adults alike. By mixing original music with shadow work, adding a dash of light and a sprinkle of movement, we create our very own Filskit blend of show.

Sarah Gee, Katy Costigan and Victoris Dyson formed Filskit Theatre after meeting on the European Theatre Arts Course at Rose Bruford College.

Filskit are currently planning a tour of their show The Feather Catcher and developing a new highly interactive piece of projection work.  To keep up to date with their work look here!

Page One Theatre

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Page One Theatre formed in 2012, an emerging company of collaborators creating ensemble theatre for young audiences. Page One Theatre believes that children should be offered inspirational theatrical experiences. Combining movement and puppetry they produce original and vibrant new stories for children and their families.

Page One Theatre are a Creative Talent company for Creative Youth, who are supporting their development as a sustainable arts company.

Throwing open the doors to the theatre world for those at the beginning of their journey. We love to play! Come and join in!



Dumbshow make visually arresting and textually rich storytelling theatre. Our aims are:

  • to tell stories that fire our imaginations, that are important and that need to be told in the theatre;
  • to create live events that celebrate the collective experience;
  • and make plays that are intellectually and emotionally challenging.

The stories we tell might be be out-of-this-world, or based on a real life true story; they might be accessible for children or strictly for adults; they will always entertain and hopefully stimulate your mind; they might make you laugh and they might make you cry, but we hope that having experienced our work you will feel more alive and ready to face the world.


At a time when cuts to the arts are impacting on job opportunities for young people, and youth unemployment in England has risen to 20.3% (against 7.9% for the rest of the working population), the Creative Talent Programme is designed to create a generation of self-sufficient individuals and businesses in control of their own futures.

Our model involves working closely with key partners (e.g. HSBC, BT and Kingston University), to mentor young individuals, entrepreneurs and organisations by providing artistic, business and strategic support. This will allow the next generation of artists to flourish and develop into nationally important organisations.

Michael Bryher, Artistic Director of Dumbshow, part of the programme describes Creative Youth’s help as a ‘godsend.’ “We couldn’t have achieved what we have done without them.”

“It was great to be a part of it” Katie Hardwick one of the founders of Circus Suburbia, one of the Creative Talent Programme groups.