arts commissioning and producing organisation based in the West of England.



TERRESTRIAL means both ‘relating to the earth’ and ‘an inhabitant of the earth’, so it embraces both a place and the people who live there.

We believe that the towns, terrain and communities of the West of England (made up of the counties of North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset, and Bristol) can support an arts ecology that is locally thriving, internationally valued, full of surprises, and open to all.

We believe strongly in the power of co-authorship - in the wonderful things that happen when artists and groups of local people work together to explore creative ideas.



From 2018 we will commission and produce a series of bold, socially engaged arts projects spanning music, theatre, dance, circus, visual arts and more. Each work we produce will be co-created by an innovative practitioner or company and a group of local people.  Some of these projects will be focused towards an annual festival, which will take place in a different town within the region each year.

We want to provide opportunities for people living in, working in, and visiting the region to create and share extraordinary experiences. We’re particularly keen to collaborate with people outside city centres, with people facing barriers that make it harder for them to access cultural events, and with people who have been led to feel that the arts are ‘not for them’.

We believe that artists are great instigators: they are often brilliant at sniffing out underground stories, asking difficult questions, or getting the party started. We want to invest in artists to create bold, surprising experiences – from intimate encounters to large-scale outdoor adventures – in direct partnership with groups of local people. And we want to support artists to take risks, develop skills and learn from these experiences.

We will launch a full website soon. Our first festival will take place in 2019.



TERRESTRIAL was founded by Tom Spencer. Tom is a producer and artist based in Bristol. He's staged shows in pubs, halls, schools, farms and warehouses across the local region (as well as multiple award-winning seasons at the Edinburgh Festival and around the UK) with his own theatre company and band Fine Chisel; and he's toured innovative music work to China and across Europe with Bristol-based composer Verity Standen.

TERRESTRIAL has grown out of an extensive research project, through which a team of producers, artists, thinkers and helpers worked with Tom to explore the potential for a new organisation that could support groundbreaking artists to create work in the region. This team included Carrie Rhys-Davies (Volcano), Hannah Standen (Artichoke) and Simon Coates (National Theatre Wales).

Producer and theatre maker Simon Day is currently working with Tom to design and deliver our upcoming residencies.



Throughout the research phase of TERRESTRIAL, we have invited artists to come and explore with us. This has involved individual visits to places within the region, group residencies, and lots of exciting conversations. Some of the brilliant people we've played with so far are: Mark Storor, Common Wealth Theatre, John Norton, Verity Standen, Phoebe Davies and Pablo Valbuena.

We are now looking for two groups of artists, from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines, to join short paid residencies in the West of England in Spring 2018.

Keynsham                               12 – 17 March
Weston-super-Mare                9  – 14 April       

These residencies form part of TERRESTRIAL’s mission to instigate and support bold arts projects that are created in partnership between innovative artists and groups of local people. We hope to bring together four artists in each location, who will work with us over the course of a week to explore the town, meet with a number of community groups, and contribute to a vibrant dialogue about socially engaged arts projects.

As well as a fee for the residency, TERRESTRIAL will provide local accommodation and food – each evening artists will share meals and stories, with host producers helping to cook and lead discussions.

These residencies are open to artists of any discipline – you might be a writer, a composer, a choreographer, a theatre maker, sculptor, filmmaker, game designer etc., or make work that doesn’t easily fit into formal boxes. We would like to bring together artists who have an established practice of socially engaged/ participatory/collaborative projects with those who have a track record in their own field (eg. music, theatre, visual art, film etc.) but have not worked in this way before. This opportunity is open to individuals and companies/collectives (maximum two people to attend from a group).

Please download the full brief here.


TERRESTRIAL is currently building its first Board of Trustees. We hope this small group will become our closest advisors and greatest champions.

As a new organisation, we are looking for Trustees who will bolster our Board’s collective expertise. This is an exciting opportunity to help foster the charity through its early years. We hope to hear from people with experience of some of the following: organisational strategy, arts programming and commissioning, charity governance, finance and fundraising, and working with community groups (perhaps as an artist, organiser or volunteer).

We are very keen that our board has representatives from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors. To find out more and apply, please download the information here.


If you're an artist interested in working in these ways, if you live or work in the region and fancy getting involved, if you know someone who'd make a brilliant trustee, or if you'd just like to chat about the things we're brewing... please drop us a line.



Images: Clevedon & Weston-super-Mare (both in North Somerset), by the brilliant Paul Blakemore. http://paulblakemore.co.uk/

TERRESTRIAL is a company registered in England and Wales (No. 10851085)