Finding Your Way to ‘Twelve Miles From Nowhere’

A new partnership between Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, Action Transport Theatre and KSP Productions has led to the development of a new touring show for rural venues. Claire Smith from CRTA tells us about how the partnership developed...

This autumn a show that began as a rural touring small scale development project will tour to 39 venues with the benefits and support that a £70,000 Grants for the Arts award brings with it.

It's been a long but fruitful journey that has at its heart a great partnership

Cheshire Rural Touring Arts ( CRTA ) has, for a number of years, stretched its limited resources to fund and make bespoke theatre work for rural young people. All the shows have been newly written with their source material coming directly from young people growing up in rural Cheshire. These professionally produced pieces have had limited touring dates within Cheshire.

When we embarked on our third project back in 2010 we worked with Cheshire based, young people's theatre company 'Action Transport Theatre' . Money was even harder to come by but a process that saw four young actor writers working on the research, writing and performance produced stunning results.  There were two teenage characters in the final script, who are seen struggling to manage the challenges of their circumstances but the creative team soon realised that the show that was emerging was going to be for a much broader rural audience than originally anticipated. No additional funds were found so the tour of  'Twelve Miles From Nowhere ' went ahead using Action Transport's core funds and funds from CRTA's programming budget. The show toured to only 10 venues  in the autumn of 2011.

It was provocative – it challenged cosy ideals of the 'rural farming story' but it resonated and its authenticity gave it a charm and quality that absorbed audiences.

And that's really where the journey of this rich process would have come to a halt if it wasn't for the desire and vision of  those involved to take it further.

The partnership met to discuss future possibilities. We ventured to create a further relationship with independent producers, Karen Simpson and Liz Craven (KSP productions ) who not only had a history with the company and rural touring but had a successful track record in applying to Grants for the Arts. Karen had seen the original show and saw its potential, she also recognised that the partnership between a theatre company, a rural touring scheme (both NPOs) and a producer with her background would be highly attractive to the Arts Council. Karen undertook the huge task of writing the bid and in March this year we heard of its success.

… from little acorns....... !

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