Latest News

  • New Hopper Project Set to Reshape Early Years Theatre

    Somerset Arts organisation Take Art, in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate, has received £92k from the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund and £24k from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the Early Years regional Theatre project Hopper, focusing in Somerset and Surrey in 2017/18.
    The pioneering Early Years project will create opportunities for over 3,500 babies and pre-school children to experience and influence the development of great art and culture in their Early Years setting. 
    Taking place over two years, Hopper will bring specially created theatre shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer less advantaged areas.
    Phil Gibby the SW Area Director for the Arts Council said, “We’re really pleased to be supporting Hopper as we believe that all children and young people, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture.”
    Hopper will also support seven theatre companies in developing 70+ high quality and relevant performances. Children and Early Years staff will be invited to take part in the development process. This means that the companies can work with the under fives to make the best shows possible for them.
    Gina Westbrook, Director of Early Years at Take Art said, “A significant part of Hopper is to stimulate greater interest among companies to develop new work and take it into Early Years settings. Hopper will also enable children to have a voice in how this new work is made for them.”
    Phil Gibby went onto say, “The project looks set to develop a local, sustainable touring infrastructure for Early Years work and build strong and productive relationships.”
    During the project Take Art will work in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate and also with key local theatres; The Brewhouse in Taunton; Bridgwater Arts Centre, The egg in Bath and Camberley Theatre in Surrey.
    Hopper will start in January 2017, with a year of development and planning, followed by a three seasons of touring and performance.
    Take Art is currently recruiting an experienced Project Manager to oversee the relationship between the Early Years settings and the companies. Click here to find out more. 
    Hopper is launching a national call out to identify artists/companies interested in developing new shows. Please visit the Take Art website or click here for more information.
  • NRTF seeks New Chair

    The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) is a unique charity committed to driving new initiatives and widening audience access and engagement in the rural touring arts sector nationally.

    Following nine years of outstanding stewardship the current Chair is stepping down and we are now seeking a new Chair to complement and strengthen our existing board and offer exceptional leadership, acting as a spokesperson and board chair, jointly steering the organisation through an exciting time of new projects and continued growth.

    We are seeking an experienced outward facing professional with excellent communication skills and a passion for the arts in a rural and community context to lead this wide ranging membership organisation, harnessing the collective skills of our dynamic board.

    As an equal opportunities and equal access organisation we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, race, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy or marital status.

    The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) is a registered charity, a limited company and receives funding as an Arts Council England national portfolio organisation. Governed by its members through a voluntary board of management, the NRTF works strategically with a range of partners to develop a national programme that delivers high quality artistic work and cultural experiences.

    To apply please download this full role pack and apply using the application form. Available here.

     Introduction, Job Description and Person Specification  Context Document  Application Form

    For more information on the company as well as current and past projects, please see and

    If you would like an informal discussion about the role please contact: David Porter, Company Secretary by email

    Deadline for applications: Monday 6th March 2017 at noon.

    All applications will receive an acknowledgment by email. If you don’t receive one, please check your SPAM folder and / or contact us.

    Shortlisted candidates will be notified by the end of March.

    Interviews: date to be arranged

    Please apply using the application form provided and send to using the subject NRTF board chair application “Your Name”.

  • NRTF Conference 2017 Dates Announced

    This year the East Midlands touring company New Perspectives and rural touring scheme manager of Northants Touring Arts co-host the conference on the leafy Nottingham University campus at Nottingham Lakeside Arts from Wednesday 28 – Thursday 29 June 2017.

    The conference will feature curated sessions exploring NRTF’s priority areas for the next NPO period: e.g. Being Bold; New ways of working; Disability led work; Children and Young People; Spoken Word

    Each session will individually curated to feature a mixture of performance extract, provocation and discussion.

    A fresh approach to this year’s conference is designed to appeal to a wide mix of scheme managers, promoters, producers and artists and will feature the inaugural Rural Touring Awards. We will be inviting nominations very soon…

    This two-day conference comes at a keen price with a full time places for members £145 which will include 1 night’s accommodation on campus at Cavendish Hall (good standard student ensuite facility), breakfast, lunches, dinner and refreshments plus full conference programme. PLUS we will be offering voluntary promoter / board member, special project worker bursaries with details announced when booking opens.

    SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday 28 – Thursday 29 June 2017

    Booking will open shortly, in the meantime add the dates in your diaries, forward this information on to colleagues and interested parties from your area who will be interested in joining in the conversation.

    We invite you to be bold and ready to explore new ideas, make new contacts, catch up with friends and colleagues, to celebrate, be inspired and hatch future plans!

    See more about the venue:
    Extend your stay:

    Travelling to Nottingham
    University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

    By Train: The nearest train stations are Nottingham or Beeston. Taxis and Buses are available from both stations. It is approximately 15 minutes by Taxi.

    By Tram: There is a direct tram service from Nottingham Train Station.

    By Plane: The nearest airport is East Midlands Airport.  From East Midlands Airport you can take the Trent Barton Indigo service directly to the campus or the Skylink bus to Nottingham. Buses leave from outside the Airport Arrivals hall. You can also walk to the taxi rank on the terminal forecourt and take a direct taxi to the University. The cost of a single/one way journey is approximately £20.

    By Car: Leave the M1 motorway at Junction 25 to join the A52 to Nottingham.  Follow the A52 for approximately 4 miles, at the Toby Carvery roundabout turn right onto the A6464, turn left at the next roundabout to enter the University's West Entrance.

  • Exciting times for Highlights North!

    Highlights Rural Touring Scheme, which covers most of the three counties of the North of England (Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland), has recently enjoyed two pieces of good news.

    Firstly, they’ve just announced their first commercial sponsorship deal and have also received funding in partnership with Arts Alive from the Arts Council's Catalyst: Evolve programme.

    H&H Reeds Printers, a Cumbrian based print and publishing firm, will support Highlights with promotional marketing and activities in 2017, including subsidising the production of their two seasonal brochures. 

    Dene Marshall, Sales Director at H&H Reeds Printers said:  “The programme of events offers us the opportunity to support both Highlights and the arts across the North of England, and to showcase the type of work we produce.”  

    Barbara Slack Co-Director at Highlights, said: “This, our first commercial partnership, is extremely important to us and marks a huge milestone. Like Highlights, H&H Reeds Printers serve a wide rural area, and have a strong community ethos.  With their support, we can continue to help village halls offer professional performances to rural communities.”

    And thanks to an Arts Council award through the Catalyst: Evolve Programme, Highlights is also able to match pound for pound the support received from H&H Reeds and any future donations and sponsorship over the next 2 years.

    The Evolve programme supports organisations with a limited track record in fundraising to enable them to attract more private giving. It does this by supporting organisations that have recently started fundraising to achieve step change in their ability to earn philanthropic income. 

    Well done Highlights!

    You can download Highlights' spring 2017 brochure here