New Directions 2014

New Directions 2014 took place at the York Theatre Royal and the Fauconberg Arms between the 15th and the 17th July 2014.

37 companies featuring artists, performers, musicians, dancers, jugglers, comedians, poets, actors, poets and storytellers came along to present their work either as 20 minute extracts or as 10 minute idea presentations.

The event was sold out with touring scheme representatives from across the country from Carn to Cove in Cornwall to the Touring Network up in the Highlands.  Voluntary promoters representing some of the 2,400 communities who work with touring schemes to bring high quality professional arts into their rural village or community halls, schools, pubs and other spaces were there in force to enjoy meeting, discussing, watching and in some cases participating in the feast of artistic talent shown over the 3 days.

The event also attracted small venues and other performers and artistic companies keen to engage with the rural touring network.

Members of the Arts Council England  were there to see the work and meet the people who help to deliver over 3,500 live performances per year across the country.

An evaluation of the event will now take place and the findings will be made available.  However feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive and here are just some of the comments we have received:

Voluntary promoters:

“This was an excellently organised event – well worth attending. Overall saw 20+ shows, or mainly 20/30 minute extracts from shows and attended two discussion groups on aspects of rural touring. I found the discussion groups containing promoters and artists really useful and was a sort of induction for me into the rural touring scene.”

“The Conference and showcase were brilliant, so well organised; definitely the best I have been to yet.”

“A  HUGE thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend the New Directions showcase through the NRTF bursary towards my place – I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have come back (happily) drunk on culture! It was such a joy to experience so many snapshots of quality entertainment. Thanks again for enabling me to have such a wonderful 2 days. I feel very lucky and privileged.”

China Plate – our Programme Curators at York Theatre Royal:

“What a fantastic few days we all had up in York. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the support, generosity, enthusiasm and boundless energy of the team that put it all together.

So from us all at CP HQ we would like to thank: Alice, David and Kirsty, custodians of the NRTF core admin. Phil Green and his tech team. The board of the NRTF especially those who helped in the programming process and discussion discussions. Alex Wright for programming an amazing night of work at The Fauconberg Arms. All at York Theatre Royal, especially Damian Cruden and Liz Wilson.

All of the schemes and promoters who made the trip up / down / across to York.

And most of all the artists who bought their magnificent work to New Directions.”

Chanje Kunda (one of the showasing artists at the Fauconberg Arms):
“I had a really good time performing at the NRTF event at the The Fauconberg Arms. As promised, I am posting with details about the show Amsterdam ( the quirky show with the tomato, the megaphone and the haute couture  pony hat.)”

Sonia Sabri (one of the dance showcases):
“I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who attend our showcase performance on Thursday at NRTF14. We are very excited about the potential of touring wider on the Rural networks and are excited about developing new relationships.”

Pentabus (one of the YTR showcases)
“Thank you for a wonderful showcase and conference
We started a conversation with you all at NRTF about putting promoters at the heart of the process, by which we mean involving promoters in the creative journey of commissioning a play through to bringing it to your hall. We’re interested in whether this is appealing to promoters and how this might work for promoters across the UK and whether it feels do-able both in terms of interest and time/capacity.”


Tin Box Theatre (one of the showcasing companies at the Fauconberg Arms):
“We had a really inspiring three days at the NRTF showcase and really enjoyed the discussions around dream work for rural touring and exploring new models and ways of working, we are looking forward to continuing the conversation!”

You can check out some of the Twitter conversations in our New Directions 2014 Storify and see a selection of photos from the three days in our Flickr album.

For us at NRTF this event was partly about starting a dialogue between artists and promoters and presenters.  We are delighted to say that the conversations are continuing in the Discussion area of this site.  The forums are buzzing with comments and discussions: You will need to log in to join in with these.

If you are not a member, please contact Alice at admin@nrtf.org.uk or by phone 01904 466527