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Cautivas R&D - Prologue: ‘On the count of three’

By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch


On Christmas Eve 2020, we submitted our first application for an Arts Council Grant to access some research and development time for what, someday, will be our first ever ACE funded piece; ‘Cautivas’. The festivities went by, I sipped broth with my family, met my then six months old niece and had the most isolated yet intimate and cosy Christmas of the thirty-three I have lived through so far.


Weeks went by and an unsuccessful result came back from ACE. We rolled up our sleeves, ask for some further advice and substantially improved those aspects that needed an extra oomph whilst re-charging our hopes. Then we re-submitted and six to ten weeks after, we re-failed. We decided that we would do the work in the same way we had done all our previous pieces, with loads of motivation and a substantial lack of pounds. But then, a last minute chat with our not yet producer, Joao Maio, flipped our plans as he persuaded us to give the application one last chance.

It was evening time on a Friday, and both me and Charlotte had committed to work through the night to tweak the paper once more and put it in the next morning, as delaying the submission would mess the timeline of the project too much. I ordered myself a delicious Thai red curry that I would keep out of my room, in the kitchen, until my part of the job was done; a tasty reward that I would devour once labouring was over.

By noon the day after, the application was in. The waiting game began again. Two weeks went by, then three, four, seven, eight… assuming that the delayed answered could only mean one thing, we devised the plan B; a fund-less option to go forward with the research using the in-kind time and space that the different partners and collaborators had generously offered. Then, ten weeks after submission day, an answer arrived to Charlotte’s inbox.


It was the early evening of a sticky, mid July Thursday. Charlotte had left Leeds that morning for a short vacation, so when my phone rang and her name appeared on the screen, I got confused…Why is she calling me on her first day off? what’s happened?

I picked up the phone to a symphony of high-pitched giggles, shouting and laughter. Then, through the noise and the excitement I picked up a couple words: we’ve got the money!