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Supporting the Arts

Theatre and dance


Visual arts



Main British Council Arts site

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  In our arts programme we aim to increase awareness of contemporary culture from the United Kingdom, principally among younger informed Bulgarians and to enhance the reputation of the United Kingdom as a valued partner.

We aim to encourage Bulgarian arts practitioners to look to the UK for their repertoire and inspiration. We encourage Bulgarians to explore and appreciate the contemporary British repertoire, as well as to experience British performances. We have taken positive steps to ensure that the variety of contemporary life in the United Kingdom is well represented in the repertoire and in the relationships which young Bulgarians develop with their British colleagues. Our strategy is to attract broad audiences of younger people and to foster personal and institutional collaborative links or networks which will promote British artistic achievement in the Bulgarian arts world. At the same time we do not neglect established audiences for the arts. We continue to stress educative activity for practising artists.

Working with us

Almost all arts events take place in partnership between the Council and local promoters, (including festivals) and they are able to provide facilities from official and commercial sponsors and to share the budgets of the events with us. The festivals also generate strong and informed audience participation.

The British Council office in Bulgaria is in regular contact with the Bulgarian venues, festivals and promoters. The starting point for any performing arts event are the requirements of our partners and the audiences in the country. We work with the Arts division of the British council in London. We also rely on the advice of Bulgarian professionals/festival promoters attending British Council showcases. Our priorities are linked to Foreign and Commonwealth objectives such as projecting the UK's creativity, cultural diversity and recent achievements, assisting reform and sustainable development, etc.

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How do you approach us for support?

First of all, please remember that we are not a commercial sponsor or a funding body and there are no application form. The process involves assessing whether particular projects match the British Council's priorities in Bulgaria and whether they can be included in our plans.

If you (as an individual or organisation) would like to propose a project, you should first discuss it in general terms with Dessislava Stoitcheva, Arts project manager, British Council in Bulgaria before submitting full details. You can discuss by phone, send a letter or an email. If the project matches the British Council priorities in Bulgaria, you will need to send full details of the project in writing. Where possible, and where relevant, include the following: dates, type of music, participants, partners/ promoters, objectives and a realistic budget, reviews, curricula vitae.

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When do you approach us for support?

Our financial year starts on 1 April and finishes on 31 March. Our structure of activity for the next financial year, and many of the details, are discussed by the end of December and confirmed in principle by the end of January. There is no timetable for consideration of requests, which may be proposed at any time. But up to a year in advance is not unreasonable for major arts events. Shorter lead times may mean that all funds have already been committed. It is essential for our support that the proposed activities conform to our policy areas and are likely to make a substantial impact.

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How do we decide which projects to support?

We aim to support the presentation of the very best work from the UK, so artistic standards must be high. UK companies are normally expected to have a national reputation in whatever field and scale they operate, but our primary focus is the specific work under consideration. Often the selection is made directly by the Bulgarian host venues and festivals with whom we work in regular partnership.

When a Bulgarian promoter or festival organiser requests British Council support for a work or company/artist from the UK, we then discuss the proposal with our colleagues from Arts Division in London, and take into account their professional advice.

We support artistic visits to Bulgaria, workshops, residencies, co-productions, links, training programmes.

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What support can we give you?

We do contribute to the funding of certain events to enable us to achieve these aims; but if an event does not seem designed to achieve our aim, then we cannot support it.

Provided you meet the criteria for support (outlined above), we can offer contacts, advice and financial assistance to any form of high quality theatre, dance, music, film or visual art activity coming from UK.

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What we do not do

We support many artforms in a variety of ways. However, we are unable to offer assistance to certain types of arts practitioners and projects. Where possible, we have given links to those who may be able to help you.

  • We only support professional artists. We have supported some artists to tour abroad very early in their careers, but we do not support students or recent graduates who have not yet begun to establish themselves.
  • We cannot give grants to students or postgraduates studying the arts. However, this site does carry some advice for overseas students wanting to study arts in the UK.
  • We cannot give grants for children and teenagers from Bulgaria to travel abroad to give performances or engage in arts activities.
  • We do not support UK artists to produce work for a UK audience. Also we are unable to contribute towards the cost of events going to UK. Applications for such support should be made to Visiting Arts.
  • We cannot help you to find a publisher for your book, or fund publishing.

Check our various arts pages to see examples of our work:

Arts Projects Manager

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