Dance artists sought to create new shows for rural audiences

• A second three-year Rural Touring Dance Initiative 2018-2021 has now been launched
• A £10,000 commission on offer for UK based companies to create new work
• A second £10,000 to be offered to a Wales based artist or company to create a new work
• Funds up to £5,000 for 6 companies to adapt existing work to tour rural areas

The second phase of a scheme to improve access to dance in rural communities has been launched this evening with a call out to artists interested in creating or developing work for village halls. Rural Touring Dance Initiative 2 is a partnership between the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) and The Place, Take Art and China Plate. Dance is underrepresented on the rural touring circuit and the partnership is seeking to increase opportunities for rural audiences to experience the art form.

Having been granted a second major award from Arts Council England Strategic Touring programme and a new award from Arts Council Wales, the partnership is able to offer offering two commissions of £10,000 to dance companies to make a new show for rural touring, one of which must be based in Wales. There are also a limited number of grants of up to £5,000 for artists with existing shows to adapt them for rural touring.

Speaking about the call out, Ralph Lister, Director, NRTF’s Rural Touring Dance Initiative, said “The partners are excited about building on the successes of the first 3 years and delighted that there will be a stronger presence in Wales. This development demonstrates that the project is working and a broader base of support will strengthen its sustainability beyond 2021”.

This is the second phase of a project that has already seen Ben Wright’s bgroup commissioned to create Point of Echoes, and a number of companies to adapt existing works.  Speaking about the experience of rural touring after participating in phase one, Luca Silvestrini, Artistic Director of Luca Silvestrini’s Protein said “We are in a state of bliss. I’ve never experienced dancers and crew being more satisfied and wanting to do more”. 

Rural Touring Dance Initiative 2 follows an overwhelmingly positive response to the first phase of the project from participating rural touring schemes and promoters, with 93% of promoters reporting an increased interest in promoting dance and 100% of touring schemes reporting that the RTDI increased their interest in programming dance. Rural touring is a growing sector of the UK’s arts industry with NRTF figures indicating that audience numbers attending shows in village halls and at outdoor rural events have increased 26% since 2006/7.
Companies interested in applying should visit www.theplace.org.uk  for further information

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