PANDA and NRTF join forces with the Nothern Touring Schemes Pitching and Mentoring Project

National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) are delighted to be involved in this project and are looking forward to introducing our members to the work of the Performing Arts Network and Development Agency (PANDA) and putting PANDA members in touch with the rural touring network. See the Our Work section for more information on partnership projects the NRTF is involved with.

The next stage of the PANDA and NRTF pitching and mentoring project gets under way next week when representatives from touring schemes across the North get together with PANDA to discuss the next pitching and mentoring day.

The project has developed from an initial partnership between PANDA and Cheshire and Lanchashire rural touring schemes which grew to include other schemes in the North and led (amongst other things) to internationally renowned street performing companies Artisani and Avanti Display successfully applying for Arts Council Grants for the Arts funding to develop and tour a new show especially created for indoor rural venues.

The result is the wonderful 6 Impossible Things! An evening of circus, science, mayhem and a little magic. 6 Impossible Things is a performance that unites film makers, sculptors, taxidermists and magicians in a comedy-theatrical spectacular. Two experienced performers keep audiences guessing with an exceptional show that also stars the creations of this exceptional group of artists. Full of bizarre twists and turns, they present a magic carpet ride to a topsy turvy world where nothing is as it seems. And, most marvellous of all, demonstrate that it’s the same old world that we wake up to day after day.

We are also delighted that the writer and performer Denise Kennedy, who pitched her show Bella (the true story of the woman who went from Music Hall to running Blackfriars Boxing ring) to the mentoring scheme in 2012, and with help from PANDA and from her allocated mentor at Cheshire rural touring scheme submitted a Grants for the Arts funding application this year which was successful.  We hope to hear more about Bella in due course.

The following stage of the project saw NRTF becoming involved and an expanded group of touring schemes from across the North gathered to watch a new batch of selected companies and performers pitching their ideas. Each artist had a captive audience of rural touring programmers for their presentations and the opportunity for an informal chat about the work afterwards.

The pitching day in 2013 saw presentations from:

Geli Berg from the Lingua Franca Music Agency; Emma Dunn from Dansformation; Ali Dunican from Quarantine; Janine Waters from The Edge; Lucy Frost from Molly Orange Street; Ben Power from Moving Shadows; and Bill Palmer; and James Macpherson from Avanti and Artizani gave an update on their 6 Impossible Things piece.

We look forward to seeing some of the work on rural touring menues in due course.

“The pitches demonstrated a broad range of practices and innovative ideas that were indeed exciting to witness. It is even more exciting to consider the relationships that will be emerging from the conversations between artists and programmers. Each artist has since received personal feedback on their pitch and show as well as future contacts to aid in the development of the piece for rural touring. As a successful event for both artists and programmers, the PANDA rural touring scheme is going from strength to strength, attracting more programmers and developing more opportunities for artists.” Jodean Sumner for PANDA

The project has grown now to include reciprocal partnership opportunities for PANDA and NRTF together with a desire for the project to directly benefit touring schemes in the North and also to impact on the rest of the country.

“The aims of the project have been developing over time and as well as Northern area benefits we hope to see benefits across the country.  One of NRTF’s major aims is to raise the profile of rural touring amongst artists and companies and to encourage them to understand and be passionate about making work specifically for rural touring, thereby helping to make high quality, new and interesting work available for UK-wide schemes to programme and book. We will learn from PANDA and the touring schemes and artists involved in this project about how to effectively mentor and support emerging companies and those new to rural touring. The learning gained by working with PANDA will be shared with other partners who have expressed interest in how to mentor and support emerging companies”  Alice Porter NRTF

More details of the project can be found in the Our Work section of this website.