Barker-Mill Foundation pledges £100,000 support to local artists

Helping to harness new talent in Southampton, Barker-Mill Foundation continues commitment to emerging creatives 

The Barker-Mill Foundation (BMF) is set to donate over £100,000 (£35,000 per year over three years) to Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) Laboratory Trainee Associate Programme, which is aimed at developing careers for emerging creative talent.

Launched in 2015, the Laboratory Creative Associate scheme provides an opportunity for early-career creatives to undertake a one-year placement, developing skills and acting as artistic members of the Laboratory team.

Each creative has the opportunity to assist with one of NST’s main stage productions, working alongside some of the best professionals in their field. The year culminates with the Associates collaborating on their own project allowing them to take the creative lead in their respective areas of expertise.

Laura Eastwood, director of development and communications at NST, said: “This opportunity is aimed at early-career artists with experience under their belt and a hunger to take their practice to the next level.

“NST will mentor and support the successful candidates and give them full access to NST’s work as a producing theatre, and our extensive programme of received touring productions.

“The Associates will support Youth Theatre productions which in turn will give the youth theatre the chance to work with some of the county’s most exciting new talent. The donations from the Barker-Mill Foundation have been imperative for this to happen, this is a really exciting opportunity, so we are hugely grateful to them.”

NST works with over 20,000 young people and community members each year, across schools, colleges, local groups and community projects, which reach some of the most disadvantaged in the community. It provides opportunities for young people to participate and attend live theatre, often for the first time. The Associates will support and help deliver these vital programmes enabling NST to reach more people and develop new projects.

Tim Jobling, Trustee of the Barker-Mill Foundation said: “Supporting new and emerging creative talent in Southampton is something that the Barker Mill Foundation is really passionate about. Several members of the Barker-Mill family themselves have pursued careers in the arts so anything we can do to support others is a real privilege.”

For more information about Nuffield Southampton Theatres Laboratory Trainee Associate Programme, please visit