Latest News

  • Hike For Highlights Report

    Hike for Highlights was the first fundraising event trialled by Highlights Rural Touring in June 2018. The idea
    stemmed from a conversation about a fundraiser that would link each of the halls across the three counties of
    Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland...at one stage we had been planning that it would be a relay over the
    fields! The conversations began in spring 2017 with the promoters at a training day where the name Hike for
    Highlights was produced. Over the next few months it was decided by committee that this should be a sponsored
    walk, with a cream tea and a performance that would link it back into what we do best – bringing performance to
    local areas.


    On 3rd of June 2018 11 venues took part in Hike for Highlights, raising over £4000, £3900 of which was eligible for
    catalyst match funding from the Arts Council.

    Read the full report by downloading from the link on the right.

    For more information about Hike for Highlights contact Holly Goodfellow: holly@highlightsnorth.co.uk

  • Farnham Maltings and Unlimited Partnership Commission

    Farnham Maltings is proud to announce a joint commission with Unlimited for a project that gives innovative and exciting responses to the context of rural touring and village halls, and that place audiences at the heart of their artistic process.

    We can provide expert advice and resources to those who are invited to submit a full application to the Farnham Maltings and Unlimited partnership award.  It is expected that the commissioned piece will tour to at least 3 rural communities during the project and be available to tour or shown by Spring 2020.

    Projects wishing to be considered for this award will also need to meet the following criteria:

    • to be in the form of an event and/or performance
    • disability-led
    • to be innovative, ambitious and quality driven
    • have audience response and engagement at the heart of their creative process
    • strong track record of creating work and reaching audiences
    • strong artist/producer relationship evidenced
    • strong collaborations and partnerships (these can include those with non-disabled led companies/artists/producers)
    • technically suitable for touring into village halls and rural contexts
    • lead artist or company is resident in England or Wales
    • are applying for up to £25,000


    Gavin Stride, Director of Farnham Maltings says “For us, there are extraordinary opportunities in making work for village halls and we want to encourage everybody to explore what happens when you make work with geographic communities rather than necessarily arts goers. There is something democratic in spaces in which everyone enters and leaves through the same door.

    We want to make sure that the widest set of artists are offered the opportunity to play in this context. To discover what is special and ordinary in a space in which most people are turning up, not for the theatre but because something is happening in their community.”

    Artists are invited to apply in the first instance with expressions of interest by 12pm 29th October 2018.

    For more information and details of how to apply click here.

  • Rural Touring Dance Initiative Phase Two gets underway as it announces Autumn 2018 touring schedule

    • RTDI, a partnership between the National Rural Touring Forum, The Place, China Plate and Take Art was recently awarded new funds to continue its work over next three years
    • Autumn touring schedule is a mix of returning favourites and dance artists new to rural touring


    Point of Echoes – bgroup   11- 28 Sep
    Leviathan- James Wilton Dance 16 Sep – 10 Nov
    Juliet and Romeo – Lost Dog 18 Oct – 17 Nov
    I-Infinite – Tom Dale Company 4 -20 Nov
    Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer – Shane Shambhu 9-22 Nov
    The Hotel Experience – Lila Dance 30 Nov – 1 Dec
    Hansel and Gretel – Uchenna Dance 7- 8 Dec

    Full listings for the Autumn season can be found here.


    The collaborative project launched to bring more dance to village halls around the UK enters its second phase with the announcement of the RTDI Autumn programme. The productions that will tour have been chosen by local promoters from a menu of possible shows and are a varied mix from adaptations of classic books, through comic dance solos, digital installations, fairy tales and immersive work, bringing some of the best of contemporary dance to audiences who might not otherwise see it. 

    The first shows in September will see bgoup’s Point of Echoes return to rural touring. Point of Echoes, a haunting tale of love, death and monsters set on a remote lighthouse, was the first show to be commissioned especially for rural touring by the RTDI in its first phase.

    Making its rural touring debut from September is James Wilton Dance’s Leviathan, a fast-paced and athletic reimagining of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick performed by a cast of 6 to a powerful electro-rock soundtrack. Rural touring favourites Lost Dog won a Rural Touring Award for their previous show Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me…)  which toured village halls around the country in 2016-17. Their new show Juliet and Romeo, touring from October, offers an alternative take on Shakespeare’s tragic lovers that sees them grow up and live into middle age in a show that blends dance, theatre and comedy. 

    Tom Dale Company’s I INFINITE, which will tour in November, is part dance, part video installation and meditates on the digital world’s quest to recreate life. Also in November, Complicité Associate Artist Shane Shambhu offers a humorous and honest personal tale of growing up in East London, learning and performing Indian Dance in Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer.

    Lila Dance proved popular with rural touring audiences when they toured the immersive The Deluge last year. They return to village halls from November with The Hotel Experience, in which a man checks into a hotel the night before his wedding to discover that all is not as it seems.
    And just in time for the Christmas season, Uchenna Dance will tour its first work for families, Hansel and Gretel offering a new take on the classic fairytale. The company is known for blending dance styles from vogueing, house and waacking to contemporary and African dance, often along with text, to create shows that are entertaining and informative.

    Speaking about the new season, Claire Smith, Project Manager for RTDI said “We're very excited to be building on the success of the past three years of Rural Dance and continuing to take the highest quality of touring dance in the UK to areas that wouldn't normally have access to it.”

    The Rural Touring Dance Initiative was launched in 2015 with the aim of substantially increasing dance touring in rural England. It is a partnership between NRTF, the Yorkshire-headquartered membership body for rural touring schemes in the UK; leading dance institution The Place; Birmingham-based independent producing studio China Plate; and Somerset’s county dance agency Take Art. It was formed in response to Arts Council England’s rural evidence and data review (March 2015), which found that only 2% of NPO funded dance companies toured to rural areas. In the last three years the RTDI has worked with 15 dance companies and staged over 135 performances have taken place with an average of 70% capacity.

    @rural_dance | #ruraldance | 

    A film about the RTDI has been made by Director Rachel Bunce and can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/227900006/84124db5bd

  • Artsreach Seeking New Trustees/Board Members

    Artsreach is seeking individuals who are passionate about arts and culture, and the positive impact it has on those living in rural areas, to join our Board of Charity Trustees.
    Artsreach is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee which enriches the quality of life of people living in the rural communities of Dorset by providing outlets for, and access to, the arts. Artsreach builds upon existing resources and facilities to provide a stimulating and challenging environment in which individuals, communities and performers can develop their creative potential.

    Artsreach presents over 140 high quality, professional performances every year, alongside a programme of project work and participatory activity, working through a network of volunteer promoters in over 50 rural communities across Dorset. We currently receive public funding from the Arts Council as a National Portfolio Organisation, as well as Dorset County Council and West, North, East and Purbeck District Councils.

    Seeking New Trustees/Board Members
    We are seeking new Board members to support the Executive Co-Directors in fulfilling our aims and vision for the future. You will help to shape strategy and provide invaluable guidance and judgment to the staff team to help us realise our vision, all the while ensuring the board meets its governance responsibilities for the organisation in line with the principles that guide us.
    Whilst we welcome expressions of interest from all candidates, we are particularly keen to hear from applicants with knowledge of or experience in any of the following areas:

    • The arts
    • Fundraising
    • Local Government issues
    • Young people (Education)
    • Diversity
    • Accountancy
    • Business Development


    Artsreach Trustees give their time voluntarily for a minimum three-year term. Board meetings take place six times a year, and trustees may also be asked to become a member of a small sub group with a particular focus.

    We aim to have a wide range of people on the Board, and there is no need to have prior trustee experience to apply.


    We hope that membership on our Board allows individuals to contribute passionately to one of Dorset’s leading arts charities in a positive and friendly environment, helping to progress our unique organisation and achieve its objectives. Board members can also enjoy the varied range of performances we programme across the County.

    If you want to find out more, please download the Trustee/Board Member Role Description from the right for further information on what's involved and how to express your interest.

    Expressions of interest should be made by midday on Wednesday 26 September.