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  • Applause Outdoors 2016

    Applause Rural Touring have launched Applause Outdoors 2016, bringing interactive family-friendly performances for outdoor events and festivals:

    Applause Outdoors is offering six professional, contemporary arts performances to outdoor community events, fetes and festivals across Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex in 2016.

    Three companies have been given development awards to build exciting, interactive performances, especially for outdoor events of this nature.

    The companies and shows are:

    Beautiful Creatures Theatre: OCTO-POT

    A humorous and charming new walkabout performance, led by a quirky chef and his red and white checked serving trolley. Audiences will be surprised and delighted by the giant and grumpy octopus puppet as it emerges from the smoking, bubbling cooking pot, to play games, have a dance and fight an epic battle.

    The Honk Project: The Dancing Day Trippers

    Two eccentric vintage moped enthusiasts; a shining moped with a state-of-the-art sidecar, lots of instruments and a whole load of swing and jive are the main ingredients of The Honk Project’s latest delightful walkabout show!

    Strangeface Theatre: Beached and Spaced

    Using a tabletop as a puppet stage and silent disco style headphones Strangeface Theatre tell tiny tales suitable for all ages.

    A co-commission from Applause and Gulbenkian bOing! International Family Festival for the development of a new family-friendly outdoor piece has been awarded to:

    Acrojou: All At Sea

    All at Sea is a roving performance combining interactive theatre with new technologies, melancholic humour, and the visual poetry for which Acrojou is renowned. All At Sea is an interactive ‘row-about’, consisting of a tiny wooden boat with its own fully functioning, mobile storm, complete with thunder and lightning flashes. Follow the ship’s pilot as he navigates his course all the while followed by his comically suspended cloud and continuous downpour.

    We are also touring outdoor work by companies previously supported by Applause. The companies and shows are:

    Dizzy O’Dare: The Giant Balloon Show

    A crazy one-man show which sees the performer end up inside a giant balloon

    Eric MacLennan: A Voyage Around My Bedroom

    An extraordinary piece of art crossed with theatre where visitors are invited into a large Perspex cube containing a bed and are guided on a mini voyage around the room in the manner of a grand explorer.

    Full details about the performances can be found in the Applause Outdoors Menu that you can download from the Applause website.

  • My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding set to hit the road again

    Following a successful application to Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding will tour again in Autumn 2016.

    A co-production between Kali Theatre and two rural touring schemes, Black Country Touring and Arts Alive, the show invites audiences to the wedding reception of rural girl Claire to city boy Arjun. With a cast of comic characters brilliantly portrayed by four actors, the show is a fast moving comedy drama full of misunderstanding and mishaps, with plenty of neat twists and a Bhangra dance for everyone to join in at the end.

    Based on real people’s experience of mixed marriages or rural weddings attended by city dwellers out of their comfort zone, My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding is a fun, light-hearted exploration of relationships across the divides of rural/urban, race and gender.

    Chris Corner, General Manager of Kali Theatre, said: “the idea for My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding was first thought up in informal discussions at a NRTF conference. The day’s discussions and the convivial atmosphere inspired some creative and collaborative thinking.

    An excerpt from the show was performed at this year’s NRTF conference in Norfolk, to rave reviews from delegates.

    Arts Alive and Black Country Theatre worked together to commission the touring show, specially conceived for rural and small-scale community venues and audiences. In its initial tour in September 2014, My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding played to over 2,000 audience members across the UK in 24 shows, most of which sold out. The new tour, to take place between 29th September and 6th November next year, will reach 2,000 people in rural areas in the North, Midlands, South East and South West.

    Director of the show, Janet Steel said “I am delighted that this funding will enable us to take My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding to many more rural venues across the country. The response to the show on last year’s tour was so fantastic; people dressed up, wore their best hats and gumboots, made wedding cakes and had a great evening out. Many of the venues had to squeeze in extra chairs to cope with the demand. I am sure we will create the same buzz again next year.”

    If you can’t wait until next year, here’s an invitation to the wedding that gives you a taste of what to expect.


  • New Directions 2016 - applications now open for artists and companies wishing to showcase

    We're delighted to be inviting applications from artists, performers and producers as we work towards our bi-annual rural touring showcase festival, New Directions, which will take place at Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts next year.

    The aim of the event, taking place from 5-7 July 2016, is to introduce delegates to exciting high quality work suitable for rural touring and similarly to introduce a range of new artists and companies to the rural touring network.

    Following on from their successful work for New Directions in both 2012 and 2014, China Plate have once again been engaged by NRTF to curate a programme for the 3-day event. New Directions 2016 will showcase a range of entertaining, surprising and stimulating performances which they describe as “being made for the curious and characterised by a spirit of adventure”.

    With the aim of selecting bold and exciting work from a diverse range of artists that reflect the breadth and diversity of work presented by the rural touring network, we are seeking applications from all disciplines undertaking innovative work across the spectrum of contemporary theatre and dance.

    Whilst actively seeking to engage with artists new to rural touring and to work with emerging artists, we also hope to feature established companies who are already familiar with rural touring but who are working on exciting, fresh new ideas and have aspirations to increase their reach to rural audiences.

    Companies that are developing work ready to tour to UK rural venues following New Directions from Autumn 2016 through to Autumn 2018 will be prioritised. Whilst the working group are particularly looking for tour ready work, a limited number of shows in development will also be considered.

    The showcase programme will be selected by a working group of China Plate, Carn to Cove (the Rural Touring Scheme for Cornwall and New Directions 2016 co-hosts) and the NRTF.

    Companies interested in applying to be a part of New Directions should visit the Our Work section of our website, where you can download artist information and the application form.

    Applications should be submitted by 14 February 2016 with successful applicants being notified by the end of March 2016.

  • Farnham Maltings Launch is a free resource for companies and artists to post listings about their tour-ready productions, and for bookers to easily search for shows for their programme.

    Launched on Thursday 4th November the site already features over 100 live tour listings available to book by users.

    The new digital resource is delivered by Farnham Maltings, who are also responsible for the management of house (the south east touring and audience development initiative) and caravan (an initiative to encourage England-based theatre makers to think and work internationally).

    Given the numerous challenges facing the touring sector, is one way in which Farnham Maltings hope to make touring and booking productions more efficient and contribute to ensuring a sustainable, vibrant touring sector across England.

    The site aims to improve touring in England and make it easier for programmers to find work for their seasons. Prorgammers can search by genre, dates and region to find the latest relevant touring work in seconds. And artists will be able to add their listing simply through an online portal in minutes.

    Intended to help artists book further reaching tours and programmers to fill the last few slots in their season, operates like a shop window, featuring listings of current tours available to book. To encourage best practice, each listing will feature content on target audiences, accessibility and technical specifications, alongside other common content such as press and film footage. Every listing will have a shelf-life of eight weeks and can be renewed three times, meaning that content will be kept fresh and current.

    Gavin Stride, Director of Farnham Maltings said about the launch “ is not a replacement for the sheer graft of booking a tour. Our hope is that tour-finder will make it slightly easier for programmers to find what work is touring when and for companies to add to their existing dates, perhaps finding extra dates to make a tour more viable or to introduce venues new to their work”

    The site has already been visited by 100’s of arts professionals. The platform is supported by Arts Council England and it will continue to develop as more users utilise the resource.