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  • Arts Council England Chair supports vision for the sustainability of rural arts

    Arts Council England Chair supports vision for the sustainability of rural arts during visit to brand new National Rural Touring Forum Head Quarters

    Sir Nicholas Serota, Chairman of Arts Council England, met with rural arts organisations at the headquarters of National Rural Touring Forum in the village of Stanford Dingley, West Berkshire. Sir Nick was joined by local ACE National Portfolio Organisations Water Mill Theatre, Corn Exchange Newbury, and personnel from cultural organisations such as LIVR, Metis Theatre, New Adventures, McCurdy & Co., Farnham Maltings and Julie’s Bicycle to discuss the sustainability of rural touring. The group spent time discussing green touring initiatives, the sustainability of rural arts, the relevance of professional rural touring and what it might look like in 10 years. The outcome is an aim for a greater understanding of the potential for rural and green touring in England.

    One of the top priorities of NRTF is advocacy on behalf of the sector. The visit was inspired by the appointment of NRTF Director, Holly Lombardo, the migration of its headquarters to the South East and the alignment of the ambitions of the sector with Arts Council England’s 10 Year Strategy consultation.

    “Rural communities make up nearly 20% of the UK population. Rural touring not only contributes to local economic growth it increases wellbeing, confidence and a sense of belonging in communities. Nick Sertoas visit marks an important shift in the value given to rural arts, and we are delighted to be leading the discussion”. Holly Lombardo, Director – National Rural Touring Forum.

    During the meeting Sir Nick stated how important networks like the NRTF are for supporting the sector, sharing resources and the distribution of data.

    Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Touring is an essential means for many people across the country to experience great arts and culture, particularly those who live in rural areas. But at the same time, we must take into consideration the environmental impact of touring. These calculations are complex, but It was incredibly positive to hear that these questions are front of mind for organisations like the National Rural Touring Forum and its stakeholders. I hope that we will continue to raise the profile and importance of touring, balancing any environmental impact against the need for people who live in rural areas to have the opportunity to experience art and culture”

    NRTF is an ACE National Portfolio Organisation supporting and promoting the importance of the rural arts and touring sector. With 30 member schemes, 1,650 promoting groups, 110,000 voluntary hours, 332,000 audience, over £1,000,000 box office sales this is a thriving sector, that via high-quality programming and commissioning, delivers community cohesion in rural settings and touring opportunities for performing companies.

    Across the UK there are currently 30 NRTF member schemes who annually work with 1,650 promoting groups, undertaking 110,000 voluntary hours, putting on productions to 332,000 audience members, who spend over £1,000,000 in box office sales.

    To hear more about rural touring, please visit our website – and watch our film

  • Rural Touring Dance Initiative announces call out for artists

    • The consortium seeking to bring more dance to rural venues is on the lookout for artists to take part in its next phase
    • The project is supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring programme and an award from Arts Council Wales
    • The RTDI is keen to maintain a diverse programme and is interested in hearing from BAMER, disabled artists and those creating work suitable for children and families in particular

    Application deadline: 12 noon, Thursday 5 th September 2019

    The Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI), a partnership between The Place, Take Art the National Rural Touring Forum and China Plate has launched a call out for dance artists to tour their work to rural
    spaces across the UK. The project is made possible by a second major award from Arts Council England Strategic Touring program and an award from Arts Council Wales.

    The project, which has previously supported artists including Lost Dog, Protein, Joan Cleville, Uchenna Dance and bgroup, is an opportunity to tour existing work to rural locations. In addition to guaranteed show fees there is a limited number of bursaries averaging £1200 for artists with existing shows to adapt shows for rural touring. Companies who have toured with the RTDI have averaged 7 supported shows with fees varying from £850 to £1400 depending on scale and cost. There is also a paid for residential workshop exploring touring dance to
    rural locations to prepare artists for the experience.

    The RTDI is keen to maintain a diverse programme and welcomes applications from disabled and BAMER artists. And in addition to its usual program for adult audiences is invested in touring work suitable for children and families.

    The deadline for applications is midday on Thursday 5 Sep 2019. Artists will be notified that they have been selected for the 2020/21 menu the week commencing 7 Oct 2019, followed by a Practical Introduction to Rural Touring for Contemporary Dance Lab 13 – 15 November 2019 in Dorset.

    For the RTDI, Project manager Claire Smith said “The RTDI is going from strength to strength –dance is being repeat programmed by promoters who would not have thought about promoting dance a few years ago
    and audiences are loving it  – so apply and get involved ! “  

    Find out how to apply here:

    @Ruraltouring | #ruraldance |

  • Artsreach Celebrates Film Premiere!


    The team behind Dorset’s rural touring arts charity, Artsreach, are pleased to unveil their brand new short film, showcasing the valuable work they carry out countywide each year.

    Since the launch of its first programme in March 1990, Artsreach has been committed to working with over 300 volunteers across Dorset to overcome the barriers of rural isolation by providing communities with access to professional arts events, firmly believing that engagement enriches quality of life.

    Every year, Artsreach programmes over 150 live events, with over 11,000 audience visits in around 55 rural communities. Over £30,000 is raised each year to directly benefit village halls and community organisations through the Artsreach programme.

    Funded by the Arts Council and Dorset Council, and a member of the National Rural Touring Forum, Artsreach is vital in meeting the cultural needs of rural communities in Dorset, supporting the personal, social and emotional wellbeing of a diverse range of residents of all ages.

    Becky Varndell, Marketing and Development Officer for Artsreach says,

    “We are really excited to be able to release this film, celebrating the breadth and depth of the work that we programme across the county of Dorset. Our brilliant filmmaker really captures the dedication of our volunteers and the spirit of community cohesion, which lies at the heart of Artsreach events. We’re tremendously grateful for the generous support we currently receive from Arts Council England and Dorset Council, as well as from individuals, Trust and Foundations and companies. Local authority and public sector funding cuts continue to pose a significant threat to the cultural activities Artsreach provides, and it is hoped that this video will reach out to people and help to sustain the scheme for years to come.”

    Click on the link below to watch the new Artsreach film:

    To find out how you can get involved and support Artsreach visit

  • Job Opportunity: Events Assistant Arts Alive

    Arts Alive is seeking someone who is good at administration, communication and is energetic and self-motivated. Ideally you will be a performing arts and/or film enthusiast.

    Are Alive puts on well over 1000 events a year and we are looking for a new member of our small but dedicated team to help deliver high quality events in village halls.

    The post will have some scope for home working but will be based in Churchstoke, Powys.

    Hours: 37 hrs a week

    The Salary will be: £16,354.00 (£8.50 per hour)

    If you are interested please email for more details.

    Deadline:  Tuesday 30th April.

    We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons.