Latest News

  • NRTF seeks Project Manager for Rural Touring Dance Initiative

    The National Rural Touring Forum has joined forces with The Place, Take Art and China Plate to launch a brand new 3 year initiative for touring and making dance to and for rural areas and are seeking an experienced Project Manager to underpin the project.

    This is a key role and principal duties include brokering relationships between rural touring schemes, local volunteer village hall promoters, dance companies and artists and ensuring the programme of activity is integrated and delivered to an agreed timeline and on budget.

    Deadline for applications is Monday 2nd November 2015.

    Interviews will be held at Take Art, South Petherton, Somerset on Friday 27th November 2015.

    Click here for more information and to download the recruitment pack and application form.

  • Jackie Hagan wins Creative Future Literary Award

    Big congratulations from all of us here at the NRTF to Jackie Hagan, who has won a Creative Future Literary Award for her show Some People Have Too Many Legs!

    The Creative Future Literary Awards is a national literary competition and high profile awards ceremony which celebrates talented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts and prizes include £1000 of cash prizes & professional writing development support.

    Colin Hambrook, of Disability Arts Online, reviewing the awards ceremony said: "I was struck by the affectionate portrait of Jackie Hagan’s ‘Edna’: a character whose impossible spirit cannot fail to invigorate. Edna features in Jackie’s one-woman show 'Some People Have Too Many Legs', which is a must-see when it tours again this winter."

    Some People Have Too Many Legs was developed as part of the partnership between Contact Theatre and the NRTF and Jackie is back on the road again this Autumn from 5th October. Full tour dates can be found here.

  • Rural Touring Seasonal Highlights - Autumn 2015

    Nationally renowned producing theatre and an international line-up among the highlights touring rural venues throughout the country this autumn

    Members of the National Rural Touring Forum once again dispel the misconception that the best art and cutting edge live performances can only be seen in the country’s major, cosmopolitan cities as a myriad of artists tour to what may be by some seen as less conventional venues this autumn and winter.

    With the standard, variety and quantity of work on offer being extremely high, it has been a challenge for NRTF’s Development Director, Ralph Lister, to select his season highlights: “The quality of productions available on the Rural Touring circuit is truly phenomenal – something that constantly amazes people when they attend for the first time.” Ralph commented, adding: “This season, as ever, there is a staggering array of shows on offer featuring an eclectic mix of styles and genres, choosing a few highlights has been an almost impossible task”.

    Included in the line-up leaving the cities behind is a production from the globally renowned West Yorkshire Playhouse, a Norwegian contemporary dance company and a Scottish-Zambian singer.

    Beryl – West Yorkshire Playhouse

    Joining rural touring for the first time, West Yorkshire Playhouse have taken to the road with their acclaimed production of Maxine Peake’s Beryl. Originally premiered at their Leeds home in 2014, the story follows the life of unsung sporting legend Beryl Burton “the greatest woman on two wheels”. Having received a string of hit reviews from respected national theatre critics, its arrival on the rural touring circuit in the form of a specially reworked, technically simpler version demonstrates clearly the strength of work available as part of these schemes.

    James Brining, Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse is a strong advocate of touring to venues throughout the community:  “Being out in the communities is absolutely fundamental to what the Playhouse is about for me. It’s important because I believe we have a responsibility to give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience what we do. But it’s not just about our responsibility to make our work accessible, I also love the atmosphere and environment that this approach generates in the venues we visit.”

    Joe Hennessey of Rural Arts North Yorkshire, one the schemes working with the West Yorkshire Playhouse on this project, said: “It is the first time West Yorkshire Playhouse have toured one of their shows rurally, and the opportunity to work with such an established theatre is something we cannot wait to do.

    Behind The Mirror - Panta Rei Danseteater

    Having first toured with Artsreach in Dorset in 2011, Norwegian contemporary dance company Panta Rei Danseteater return with Behind The Mirror. Featuring the Oslo-based company’s trademark of stunning choreography coupled with a distinctive soundscape, this take on the classic Alice Through The Looking Glass will be appearing with Take Art in Somerset, Rural Arts Wiltshire and Artsreach in Dorset and across the South West of England this November.

    Audiences are ensured of a high paced, colourful dance experience with pulsating performances that are fantastically accessible.

    Every Brilliant Thing - Paines Plough / Pentabus

    The impressive combination of two champions of new writing, Paines Plough and Pentabus, head to Cheshire with Rural Touring Arts, to Hampshire with Hog the Limelight and to the Highlands with The Touring Network amongst other destinations to present a bold new play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love. Each performance will be unique with members of the audiences being directly involved with the show.

    Described by Lyn Gardner as “one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression - and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever seem full stop”, this show, and its themes, will appeal to a wide range of audiences as well as reaching out to local mental health support groups.

    The Red Chair - Clod Ensemble

    Clod Ensemble made their mark at last year's NRTF showcase with a stunning extract from this dark, original fairy tale. It is fantastic for rural touring that this surreal ballad is included in this exciting season.

    Join acclaimed writer/performer Sarah Cameron as she works with Take Art in Somerset to take you on a journey through a world of extreme compulsion and eye watering complacency, where domestic drudgery happens on an operatic scale and a father’s dereliction of duty reaches epic proportions.

    Dracula - Rabbit Theatre


    The award-winning Rabbit Theatre and the ‘outrageously versatile’ performer David Mynne,  who will be well known for his extensive work with Cornish theatre company, Kneehigh - bring his one-man performance of Bram Stoker’s classic tale of the vampire. This monstrous, disturbing (and completely batty) tale of dark deeds, brought to rural touring by Pound Arts and Rural Arts Wiltshire, will thrill and seduce audiences (though children under 12 are advised not to attend).

    The Devil's Larder - Grid Iron Theatre Company

    First produced for Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture, The Devil’s Larder is now coming exclusively to the Highlands with The Touring Network. This critically acclaimed site-specific promenade production based on the novel by Jim Crace examines how food can act as a catalyst for unleashing our fears, desires and taboos.

    Other Highlights….
    The full list of excellent performances taking place in rural areas throughout the country is too long to mention but other highlights include: Going Viral (Daniel Bye); A Christmas Carol (Living Spit); Salaam (Sonia Sabri Company); Some People Have Too Many Legs (Jackie Hagan/Contact Theatre); Strictly Balti (Travelling Light); Oddly (Norwich Puppet Theatre); Hands Up For Jonny Wilkinson’s Right Boot (Live Wire Theatre); and Bar Story (Etta Ermini Dance Theatre).

  • Rural Arts FRESH Initiative

    Sophie Backhouse, of Rural Arts North Yorkshire, tells us about their FRESH pay-what-you-think initiative:

    Last year we trialled a few pay-what-you-think events as a new way of marketing hard to sell performances.

    Originally this was really a one-off idea to inspire audiences to give shows a go. However, we received brilliant feedback, with audience members mentioning that they attended because they didn’t have to commit financially, but then really enjoyed the show. So we realised it was a novel way of drawing people in to shows that they may not have heard of, or performance styles we haven’t often programmed.

    At the start of 2015 we decided to put this approach in to practice, programming a summer of ‘Fresh’ performances which were all pay-what-you-think. We decided to use this platform to offer opportunities to emerging artists, as a way of viewing performances that haven’t been shown before or working with companies that were very new. We could then talk to them about the idea of rural touring and how their show could be adapted to work with us, this included advice on staging, marketing etc.

    Vanessa Kisuule

    Spoken word artist, Vanessa Kisuule

    We also used this opportunity to increase our programming of performance poetry, being situated in Thirsk you would normally have to visit York to see a performance poetry night. With the pay-what-you-think aspect performance poetry was very successful, with people attending that had never visited Rural Arts before.

    Audience feedback included:

    "Totally refreshing to see a vibrant spoken word show in Thirsk. Great as a 'Pay what you think' event"
    "It is a privilage and a delight to have an oppertunity to experience live poetry being performed. Thank you to the poet and Rural Arts"
    "Not a poerty person usually - this was a revelation!"

    The only drawback to this initiative is discussing artists fees, as you don’t know how much the performance will make. However, everyone we worked with was up for the challenge and appreciated the idea. We found that you often have to find the right balance of quality, as even though it’s essentially free to attend potential audience goers still wanted to see a high quality performance. We would recommend giving the idea a go, as it worked for us at The Courthouse.