Latest News

  • Big Picture Film Festival Launched at Warwick School


    Live & Local are launching a brand-new film festival this Autumn at Warwick School:
    Big Picture Festival. Taking place over the weekend of 23 - 24 November 2019 at the Bridge House Theatre, Warwick, this is the first event of its kind and scale to take place in the town and aims to offer a new cultural experience in the heart of Warwickshire.

    Live & Local is working in partnership with Warwick School and Warwick School Venues & Events to host the festival, and it will take place at the Bridge House Theatre. This venue - opened by Dame Judi Dench in 2000 - is located at the heart of the Warwick School campus and has grown into a leading local arts space. Audiences will enjoy a professional cinema experience with a large screen, Blu-ray picture and 5.1 surround sound.

    Big Picture Festival’s programme will have an accessible mix of mainstream, independent, British and international films. Family favourites are being shown alongside modern classics, and the weekend includes street food, wraparound activities and creative collaborations with Warwick School.
    There is currently no permanent cinema in Warwick town which makes access to film difficult, especially for younger people who don’t have their own transport. Big Picture Festival offers a diverse range of films from the likes of Taika Waititi, Josephine Decker, Francis Lee and many more; the event also includes packages of short films and Q&As with industry figures. In order to gain a similar experience currently audiences would have to travel to a major city like Birmingham.

    Volunteers are at the heart of all Live & Local activity and volunteering is proven to increase wellbeing. Therefore, the festival will offer volunteering roles to young people providing skills and experience, and in collaboration with Inspired Villages Austin Heath (a sponsor of the festival), the event will also offer volunteering opportunities to residents from their retirement community.

    Live & Local have been granted funding for the festival from the British Film Institute (BFI) through Film Hub Midlands and The Henry VIII Endowed Trust. The festival is generously sponsored by several local businesses including Dough & Brew, Inspired Villages Austin Heath, Moore & Tibbits Solicitors, Russell Lane and Happy Puccia. Such support is a wonderful investment in Warwick and its development as a cultural hub in the Midlands.

    Big Picture Festival takes its name from Live & Local’s rural community cinema scheme, Big Picture Show. Big Picture Show enables communities in Staffordshire and Warwickshire to programme films in local halls and community venues. The scheme provides state-of-the-art technical equipment, the rights to show the films and friendly professional support. These events offer a much-needed lifeline to isolated people in rural areas, enabling them to be part of the community on their doorstep – something many people, but especially retired and elderly members of these communities, find particularly valuable.

    Tickets are available at:

    A full programme will be released very soon at:
    Date: Sat 23 – Sun 24 November 2019
    Address: Bridge House Theatre, Myton Road, Warwick CV34 6PP
    Twitter: @BigPicShow1
    Facebook: ‘Big Picture Festival’ (event live at 9am 26/07/19)

    For more information:
    Contact: Jo Dorey at Live & Local on 01926 402 173 or email 
    Working hours: Mon – Fri, 9am - 5pm.

  • The Library Presents Open Call - for Spring 2020

    Open Call for Artists & Performers.

    Creating a vibrant, exciting, diverse and inclusive programme of high quality arts activities with Libraries across Cambridgeshire.

    Deadline for Expressions of Interest: 5th August 2019.

    About The Library Presents

    The Library Presents programme has a two-phase selection process:

    1. An open call, where we welcome Expression of Interest (EoIs) from artists, suggesting material for The Library Presents menu.
    2. The selected EOI's are compiled onto a Menu that is shared with the public. The public then help choose what arts activities they would like to see in their respective libraries.

    This is an open call for artists to suggest material for The Library Presents menu for Spring 2020.

    The Library Presents is currently planning for our Spring Season (late Feb-June 2020) which will include a mixture of performances, digital work, film and participatory workshops.

    Click here to find out more about The Library Presents and to apply for the open call out.

  • Job Vacancy - DGAF seeks new Director

    Following a successful 40th Anniversary programme Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival (DGAF) is recruiting a new Director.

    Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival is the largest rural Performing Arts Festival in Scotland. It has been running a highly successful Festival each May since 1979. In addition to the Festival, it now works with a network of local promoters, venues and community groups to provide high quality performances all year round, under the banner Dumfries & Galloway Arts Live.

    Job Title: Director.

    Hours of work: Full-time (35 hours per week). Permanent.

    Location: Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival Office, Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries

    Responsible to: Chair of Board of Directors.

    Responsible for: Staff team & liaising with Board of Trustees

    Salary: £30 circa

    We are seeking to appoint a Director with the vision and imagination to lead the future development of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival and Arts Live.

    The Successful candidate is required to have the following key skills

    Strategic planning skills
    Significant experience in Event programming to deliver our 10 day Festival and year round Arts live programme
    Excellent organisational and interpersonal skills
    Strategic financial management and budgeting
    Desired Skills

    Ability to identify and monitor funding sources
    Evidence of writing successful funding applications
    Experience and knowledge of Festival/Performing Arts programming
    A good knowledge of the contemporary performing arts scene
    If you wish to be considered for the post and would like an information and application pack, please email

    Closing date for applications is: 5pm on Friday 9th August

    Interviews will be held on Tuesday 20th August in Dumfries


    Champion of rural touring, John Laidlaw of Live & Local and National Rural Touring Forum (Sector) receives MBE in Queen's Birthday 2019 Honours

    The Queen's Birthday Honours List recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom. Each recipient exemplifies the very best of our nation.

    John has played a significant role in developing the rural arts touring sector in this country, helping bring local communities together to enjoy high-quality professional live theatre, music and dance shows.

    John Laidlaw said:

    'Initially flabbergasted and then honoured and then when I found out how it had happened, hugely grateful to all the people who had supported the process. It's great to be recognised personally for something that you've put most of your working life into... but I also think it is a great accolade for the Rural Touring sector. Without the dedication of many other people over many years getting the sector to the scale and respect it now has, the MBE wouldn't have been possible.'

    Holly Lombardo, Director of National Rural Touring (NRTF) said:

    ‘We are thrilled that someone in Rural Touring has been awarded such esteemed recognition. John has had such a huge and positive influence on the sector and the National Rural Touring Forum directly. His ten years at the helm of NRTF were instrumental in broadening the national feel and influence of the rural touring sector.  We at NRTF feel this is acknowledgement for the whole sector and all who work tirelessly for Rural Arts’

    About John Laidlaw:

    John Laidlaw studied Estate Management, Geomorphology and Archaeology at Reading University between 1974 to 1978, but his love of student theatre led him to work as a stage manager, first at Butlins (Filey, North Yorkshire), and then at the De la Warr Pavilion in East Sussex. He then went to Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry ending up as acting Chief Electrician.

    From 1985-1991, he was the Production Manager for the Tic Toc Theatre Company in Coventry who ran temporary performance spaces at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival each year. The company also produced small-scale touring theatre shows each year to equipped and non-equipped venues, two local community tours and ran their own alternative comedy club. The company converted an old bingo hall in Coventry into the Tic Toc which would later become the Kasbah Nightclub.

    In 1992, he was contracted to run the touring scheme in Warwickshire ultimately becoming Executive Director of Live & Local which has now become one of the largest Rural Touring networks within the UK, working across eight counties in the Midlands. In a volunteer capacity, John served as Chair of the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) for a decade until July 2017. Through his work on the board and as Director of Live & Local he has helped to bring professional art and artists to under-served rural communities in every corner of the UK. Within his work for the NRTF he has also helped other countries to develop their rural touring networks, including Australia and New Zealand.

    About Live & Local:

    The Live & Local Rural & Community Touring Scheme began in 1992. It supports a network of voluntary organisations bringing their communities together to enjoy entertaining, affordable and professional live theatre, storytelling, music, dance and film screenings in their local village hall, church or school. Developing out of a Warwickshire scheme that had originally started in 1987, Live & Local expanded to Staffordshire in 1995, Derbyshire in 2002, Worcestershire in 2011, and Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland in 2015. Today Live & Local is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation co-ordinating over 650 theatre, music, film and dance performances in 250 rural communities across eight counties attended by around 34,000 people every year.

    Live & Local initiated DART (Developing Artists & Art for Rural Touring) in 2013 thanks to initial funding from Worcestershire County Council. DART has supported nearly 50 artists/ companies wishing to work within rural communities, with mentoring, bursaries, and connections to audiences/ promoters. The initiative has also supported the creation of new and exciting work for rural/ community touring audiences.

    Big Picture Show is a community cinema service provided by Live & Local which enables communities to programme films in their local halls, with everything needed from the technical set-up to marketing materials.

    About National Rural Touring Forum:

    National Rural Touring Forum is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation supporting and promoting the importance of professional rural arts and touring through a network of programming schemes. Each year, across the UK schemes work with 1,650 promoting groups, undertaking 110,000 voluntary hours, putting on productions to over 332,000 audience members who spend more than £1,000,000 on ticketed events. Rural touring is an innovative and thriving cultural sector equalling out opportunities for countryside audiences to access the arts.

    Supporting quotes:

    'The rural touring sector is essential in ensuring that rurally isolated communities secure and maintain access to high-quality arts provision and the part John has played as Chair of NRTF has been essential in ensuring that these communities’ benefit from a nationwide network of support and provision.' Peter Knott, Area Director, Midlands, Arts Council England

    'John has expanded the provision of high-quality arts and entertainment throughout the midlands bringing thousands of professional shows to under-served rural communities.' David Porter, Company Secretary to the NRTF board

    'Through John's leadership of the NRTF a strong cross-pollination of ideas and experiences has informed and enlivened the work that we do in Western Australia and is creating opportunities for UK artists and promoters in the UK and beyond.' Philippa Maughan, Investment Director, Country Arts WA (Western Australia)

    ‘We are thrilled that someone in Rural Touring has been awarded such esteemed recognition. John has had such a huge and positive influence on the sector and the National Rural Touring Forum directly. His ten years at the helm of NRTF were instrumental in broadening the national feel and influence of the rural touring sector.  We at NRTF feel this is acknowledgement for the whole sector and all who work tirelessly for Rural Arts’ Holly Lombardo, Director of National Rural Touring (NRTF)


    For interviews or more information please contact:
    Johanna Dorey or Mollie Davidson at Live & Local on 01926 402 173
    or email /
    or Holly Lombardo, Director, National Rural Touring Forum. For more information contact 07905896303 (private number for Journalists only)


    1. Live & Local should always be presented with an ampersand. The company is not known by any other variation of this spelling.
    2. Live & Local co-ordinates a rural & community touring scheme helping a network of over 250 village halls and community venues - in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire (Shindig), Leicestershire & Rutland (Centre Stage), Lincolnshire (Lincolnshire Rural Community Touring) and Nottinghamshire (Village Ventures) - choose and promote professional entertainment: from music, theatre, storytelling and dance, to magic, puppet and children's & family shows. For more information visit:
    3. Live & Local is one of over 27 similar schemes across the UK who are represented by the National Rural Touring Forum, making it possible for local people to enjoy professional performances in a venue close to home. Combined these schemes promote over 2,800 shows every year, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people in over 2,000 rural communities from the Scottish Islands to the Isle of Wight. For more information visit:
    4. Live & Local shows are supported by County, District and Borough Councils, Arts Council England and local volunteer promoters.
    5. Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is given for an outstanding achievement or service to the community. It is intended that this award will have a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others. For more information visit:
    6. National Rural Touring Forum: NRTF is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation that networks, supports and advocates for the rural touring sector and as an organisation this enables them to operate in a lean and environmentally sustainable way. HQ in Stanford Dingley is a walk commute for the Director, who works in a small but perfectly formed recycled summer house, with no carbon footprint and shows smart use of limited public funds and resource. This has inspired the provocation.

    Twitter: @live_local @ruraltouring
    Facebook: @live.local @ruraltouring