National Rural Touring Forum launches 2nd Annual Rural Touring Awards

  • New categories and judges unveiled as awards recognizing achievement in rural touring return
  • Winners to be announced at a ceremony on 27th June by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan

Following a successful inaugural year which recognised volunteers, staff and artists working in rural touring in the UK, the NRTF today announces the return of the Rural Touring Awards. Nominations open today for awards across six categories, including three new awards; for Music Performance, Young Person and Touring Scheme Collaboration of the Year.

Anyone working in rural touring from performers, to voluntary promoters at village halls and the staff of rural touring networks are eligible to nominate. Potential nominees include artists, volunteer promoters, venues and touring schemes with nominations remaining open until 26th April, after which a shortlist will be drawn up by industry peers.

The shortlist will be announced on 7 May and winners will then be chosen from the nominees by a panel of judges, made up of arts industry and rural experts. This year, they are playwright Sayan Kent (My Big Fat Cow Pat Wedding), journalist Natasha Tripney (Reviews Editor and Joint Chief Critic, The Stage) Des George of  Neuadd Dyfi Community Hall, (winner of Rural Touring Award for Best Promoter 2017), and Deborah Clarke of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

Awards will be made during a ceremony at Worcester University held on 27th June during the NRTF’s New Directions showcase. The presentation will be made by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan (BBC Radio 3’s The Verb). 

The 2018 Rural Touring Award categories are as follows:

  • Music Performance of the Year
  • Touring Scheme Collaboration of the Year
  • Stage Performance of the Year
  • Voluntary Promoter or Voluntary Promoting Group of the Year
  • Young Person of the Year
  • The NRTF Special award

The new Music Performance category recognises the quantity and quality of live music on the rural touring circuit and is distinct from the Stage Performance of the Year Award, which covers achievement in theatre, dance, spoken word or comedy. Touring Scheme Collaboration of the Year will reward outstanding examples of partnership working, whether in commissioning artists, seeking sponsors or audience development.

The NRTF special award is open to all - from touring schemes and volunteers to artists or touring companies – and seeks to recognise an individual or a group who has made an outstanding contribution to the world of rural touring.


Speaking about the 2018 awards, NRTF Director Holly Lombardo said “We are really looking forward to reading the nominations and hearing about the amazing people who make Rural Touring such an incredible network”. 
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.


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Rural Touring Awards

The 2018 awards cover activity which has taken place between Spring 2017-Spring 2018. Further information on award categories and eligibility can be found here: http://www.ruraltouring.org/work/rural-touring-awards

Those eligible to submit nominations for the awards can do so here: http://www.ruraltouring.org/work/rural-touring-awards

Those shortlisted for awards will be notified during w/c 1 May and the shortlist announced on 7 May. The shortlisted nominees will be invited to attend the award ceremony on 27th June at Worcester University as part of the New Directions showcase. New Directions (26-28 June) is a bi-annual showcase of contemporary performance available for rural touring curated by independent producing studio China Plate.

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