Latest News

  • Job Opportunity: Highlights Rural Touring - Director (Job Share)

    Highlights is looking to appoint a self-motivated, energetic and enthusiastic person to lead the organisation going forward. The role of the Director will be to work in partnership with the existing Co-Director to manage and develop the strategic and operational activities of Highlights in Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland.

    We work with over 70 village halls and volunteer promoters bringing professional arts to rural communities.

    Salary: NJC Scale equivalent 28 - 34:  £25,463 - £30,756 per annum (pro rata)
    Hours of Work: 2.5 days per week

    The post will be based in Appleby, Cumbria. Flexible hours.
    For further information and to download details please visit  www.highlightsnorth.co.uk

  • 2018 Applause Outdoors - Commission Opportunities

     

    New commission opportunities for Outdoors work

    In summer 2018, Applause Rural Touring will be programming outdoor performances into existing, locally organised village fetes, community events and Festivals in Kent and Sussex. These events take place almost exclusively at weekends from May to September.

    They are looking to commission companies/artists with an established interest and track record of working outdoors and interactively who would like to be part of this programme.

    All work should entertain and engage audiences, be self-sufficient (i.e. not require technical or other support/involvement by the host organisation) and be able to be accessed by diverse, non-age specific audiences. They can be walk about or static productions but they are intended to suit a range of time frames(i.e. does not require the audience to arrive at a certain time and remain for a set amount of time). 

    For 2018 we are also looking to commission one new outdoor work inspired by spoken word that we can tour as part of our Inn Crowd project that brings exceptional live events to rural/community pubs – http://inncrowd.org.uk

    We are offering the following opportunities and expect to take out between 6-8 shows this season:

    • 1 x Inn Crowd (spoken word inspired outdoor work) - commission fee between £3000 - £6000
    • AO new commissions for outdoor works – commission fees between £3000 - £8000
    • AO reshaping/development awards for existing works that requires some reshaping to tour rurally – development fees between £500 - £2500

    For full details on the application process, including information for companies, and application forms visit http://www.applause.org.uk/outdoors/ 

    Deadline 5pm Sunday 1st October


     

  • News for Villages in Action Rural Touring Promoters, Artists and Rural Audiences in Devon

    Following the announcement of Villages in Action withdrawing from organising  rural touring in Devon and the closure of the office in May 2017, Carn to Cove, the rural touring scheme  in Cornwall has, at the invitation of the Board of Trustees of ViA,  stepped in  to run a caretaker season for  the  Autumn of this year and Spring of 2018.  The three Devon district councils which are the current stalwart funders of ViA - Teignbridge, East Devon and West Devon - welcomed this initiative to preserve a vibrant community resource. 

    The team at Carn to Cove (Tim Smithies and Claire Marshall) invited all Devon villages to a presentation evening in April and from the 16 Devon village promoters who attended and others who were circulated, events have already been booked for the Autumn.   A full “menu” for the Spring 2018 will be presented to villages in September.

    Tim Smithies,  Project Director at Carn to Cove.  said “This is a temporary solution to preserve an important arts network and a volunteer resource developed over many years and we are hoping to explore longer term solutions  which will keep Devon’s villages “in the rural touring loop” in the next few months.    This network provides jobs, rural economic activity, social benefit, artistic excellence and joy for many remote communities – we thank the funders and the volunteers who are sticking with us. ” 

    Catherine Devenish, Chair of the ViA Trustees said “We are very grateful that Carn to Cove have stepped in to run this caretaker season and we look forward to working with them. The ViA board believes that this is a great opportunity which will secure the future of rural touring and continue to support rural communities in Devon, as well as being an exciting development for the arts sector in the South West.”

    The intention is to produce a distinct programme of events, and maintain the current ViA website to publicise upcoming events. For the 2017/18 season, there will be direct financial support for Devon


    villages where the three councils continue to support arts events at local level.  All other villages in ViA that would like to can book artists can do so but for the present without subsidy or risk share.  All

    ViA promoters will be invited to a “Menu Party” which will take place on 26th September at Blisland Village Hall in East Cornwall (close to the A30) and on 27th September at 7pm at Stockland Village Hall in East Devon  outlining  the support we can offer.

    Performing artists wishing to be considered for inclusion in the September menu (for the January – June 2018 ViA and Carn to Cove season) should contact the Carn to Cove office on 01209 312500.

  • Choose Wisely This Season - A Voluntary Promoter’s Perspective on New Directions 2014

    Many thanks to Cate Latchford, a voluntary promoter on the Arts Alive Touring Scheme in the West Midlands, who's written the following blog on her experience of the New Directions Showcase:

    Choose bravely this season. I mean, it’s understandable when we browse through the menu, we worry if we’ll sell the tickets, fill the seats, please our audience and win them back. A light-hearted drama, some gentle music, a bit of comedy or occasional exotic dance. Give our audience a pleasant evening, choose something that won’t rattle them too much, that they can bring a friend to, have a cup of tea to or tap their feet. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, choosing, deliberating, will they, won’t they? And the angst, the image of empty seats, the wasted cakes, the tumble weed down the village street and the looks, ooh they got it wrong this year didn’t they...let’s just go with the play about the sheep and the blow-ins from Kent, dance never sells and that jazz can be so impenetrable.

    So this year, what will you choose? Because you need not be afraid. At this year’s National Rural Touring Forum in York, curated by the wonderful China Plate company, the brilliance and professionalism of touring companies shone through. Over 35 companies and artists showcased their work,  at York Theatre Royal in July. Promoters, touring schemes, performers and funders gathered to talk, discuss and network, fed and watered at regular intervals, and enthuse over artists new and old. We were given jazz, film, drama and dance, and such variety. I’ll give you a taster.

    EveryDay’s The Love Project,  gave us sixteen short stories, created from interviews, and Francesca Millican-Slater’s My Dearest Girls drew on letters written between Shropshire women in WW1, both creating heart-warming pieces on the unique lives we all lead. Pentabus and Camden People’s Theatre raised contemporary issues, fracking and HS2.We were treated to the wonderful poetry and wit of Clod Ensemble’s The Red Chair, written and performed by Sarah Cameron, quite spell-binding and magical. In contrast was the energy and movement of Wardrobe Ensemble’s Riot, nine young actors, exploding onto the stage to recreate the battle and furore of buying a cheap sofa in our favourite Swedish furniture store. Exhausting!

    Tuesday evening created a mini festival in the Fauconberg Arms, comedy, poetry and music, intimate settings in the bar, on the decking, in a caravan (we could do that, we whispered, in The Yew Tree!). The second night it was jazz, three bands delighting us with the music of Chet Baker, Latin and Cuban rhythms and New Orleans blues. As we staggered up for a third day, we were given dance, wonderful, physical dance; vintage, bright social dance from Spilt Milk, playful and fresh and connecting with their audience, giving everyone the chance to dance in their second half. The energy and power of Phoenix dance, athletes on stage, was breathtaking. The beauty and emotive choreography of Norwegian dance group, Panta Rei, brought many of us close to tears.

    But what struck me most throughout was the desire and determination of the artists to bring these brilliant performances to our little village halls, to fit into the awkward spaces, to connect with our communities. Companies are designing their sets and shows to fit around us, they are realising the benefits of rural touring, of getting up close and personal with small audiences. And for us the rural audience, what do we get? Closer than any National Theatre goer, we experience professional performance in our own intimate setting; they might as well be in our sitting rooms, as for some of us our venues are a vital part of our community, a stone’s throw from our door. Here in our small spaces, the dancer stares into our eyes, their physical presence full in our faces, they eat our cake and talk into the night about the inspiration, the lighting, the tour. We own them for a night, they come into our community, they may drink in our pub, sleep in your neighbour’s house, inspire your child. What privilege it is to share in our space, such professional theatre, leading musicians and performers, delighting us, challenging us, giving us our own personal experience to mull over as we walk home that evening, discuss the next day in the shop.

    I‘m really appreciative of the chance I had to enjoy such a variety of productions (thank you, Sian!) and the opportunity to talk to and discuss issues with other promoters and schemes from across the UK. NRTF confirmed just how professional and inspiring small companies and performers can be and how we can trust our rural touring schemes to offer us great value and quality. So be brave next time you sit and browse through that menu. The sheep and the blow-ins from Kent will be great but give those dance groups a look too. Awe-inspiring!