The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) has joined forces with The
Place, Take Art and China Plate to launch a new 3 year initiative for
touring to and making dance for rural areas, funded by Arts Council
England through their Strategic Touring programme.
We are seeking artists to take part in this project. There are opportunities to tour existing shows to rural locations, and we are offering one production award of up to £45,000 to make a new show for rural touring.
the Rural Touring Dance Initiative we seek to work with dance artists
to develop and tour new work to rural audiences. Dance is
underrepresented on the rural touring circuit and we want to increase
opportunities for rural audiences to experience brilliant new dance. We’re looking for…
who have a show which you think is ready to tour rurally, or ready with
some adaptations, and is available to tour in autumn 2016 and/or spring
Artists who have an idea for a show you would like to make, which you think would work well on the rural touring circuit.
The deadline for applications to take part is 10am on Friday 11th September. Full details on the scheme and how to apply can be found on The Place website at www.theplace.org.uk/rural-touring
The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) today launches a major three
year project which will substantially increase dance touring in rural
England, Wales and Scotland. The launch takes place on the second day of
the NRTF’s three day Annual Conference, this year held in Wymondham,
Norfolk with speakers including Arts Council England’s Michelle Dickson.
Aimed at addressing the current underrepresentation of dance in rural
touring, (Arts Council England’s ‘Rural evidence and data review’ (March
2015) found that only 2% of NPO funded dance companies toured to rural
areas in 2012/13), The Rural Touring Dance Initiative will have a total budget of £500,000 (£379,560 of which represents a
successful bid to Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund).
Planning for the three year programme started in May 2015 with the
project finishing in July 2018.
Phoenix Dance (c) Richard Moran
The project will be delivered in partnership with one of the UK’s premier centres for contemporary dance, The Place, independent theatre studio and development specialists, China Plate and Somerset’s rural touring scheme and county dance agency, Take Art. Activity will include dance performance touring to rural areas, with a
total of 115 shows being promoted in partnership with NRTF member rural
touring schemes UK-wide through two menus of work running September to
May 16/17 and September to May 17/18. The first menu of work will be
offered to schemes in January 2016, and will include work from Phoenix Dance, Sonia Sabri,SpiltMilk, and Norwegian Dance Company Panta Rei.
Ralph Lister, Development Director for NRTF comments:
is a really exciting opportunity to raise the quality and range of
dance work available to audiences living in rural areas. The Initiative
is also an invitation to dance companies to discover the delights that
rural touring can offer. Each of the project partners bring a
complementary set of knowledge skills to the initiative and in addition
we acknowledge the crucial role our rural touring scheme members will
play, developing and supporting volunteer village promoters to expand
their appetite for dance.”
Sonia Sabri Company
project will also include a week-long ‘Darkroom’ residency for four
dance companies to develop ideas for rural touring. This will take place
in November 2015 and will include time spent working in a village hall
environment. Two companies will then be offered seed commissions of
£3,600 each to further develop shows.
A full production award of £45,000 will be given to a company for a show to tour as part of the second menu.
Eddie Nixon, Director of Theatre and Artist Development, The Place comments:
delighted to be working with NRTF, China Plate and Take Art on this
project. We’re looking forward to introducing rural audiences around the
country to the rich diversity of performance that dance artists are
making at the moment, and to supporting those dance artists to embrace
the huge opportunities that rural touring has to offer.
part of our artist development programme at The Place, we work with
dance makers to develop new audiences and build sustainable livelihoods,
as well as to hone their craft, and this project supports all these
areas in an exciting new direction.”
SpliltMilk Dance (c) James Dodd
Michelle Dickson, Director Touring and Director North, Arts Council England comments:
am delighted that we are supporting the Rural Touring Dance Initiative
through our National Lottery funded Strategic touring programme. This
project has been driven by the rural demand for exceptional performance.
The partnership between Take Art, The Place and China Plate will not
only create and tour high quality dance to audiences in village halls
across the country, but it will also develop skills in rural touring in
dance companies and local promoters which should help to ensure a long
Panta Rei Danseteater
project will also include two 2.5 day ‘Introduction to Rural Touring’
‘labs’ aimed at dance companies wanting to engage with rural touring,
Children & Young People Residencies, and an enhanced dance showcase
at NRTF’s Annual Conference in July 2016 and July 2017.
support will be provided by a co-ordinator who will be appointed to the
project, alongside ‘Go & See’ grants which will enable less
confident touring schemes wishing to promote dance to either visit
schemes who have a track record in putting on dance shows or to invite a
successful touring scheme promoting dance to visit them.
RURAL TOURING DANCE INITIATIVE – CALL OUT FOR ARTISTS
Companies and artists who are interested in applying can visit www.theplace.org.uk/rural-touring to download an application form and FAQs. The closing date for applications is at 10am on Friday 11 September 2015.
We are delighted to announce the full programme for our annual conference, which will include the launch of a new book
charting the purpose and social value of rural touring, ‘A Wider
Horizon’ from researcher and writer François Matarasso, as well as Arts Council England’s Head of Touring and North, Michelle Dickson.
Michelle will speak on the topic of ‘The Strategic Touring Programme,
Next Steps and Developments,’ and she will also join a series of
breakout sessions in the afternoon discussing what ‘strategic’ means for
Other speakers at the conference include ACE’s Paul Bristow,
Director, Strategic Partnerships, who will discuss the recently
published ‘Rural Evidence Review’ with NRTF’s Director of Development, Ralph Lister. There will also be talks by Steve Miller, Head of Arts & Museums for Norfolk County Council, as well as presentations and performances from companies including New Perspectives, Kali Theatre and one on one surgeries with The Audience Agency.
will also launch its new Rural Touring Dance Initiative at the
conference, supported by £379,560 of Strategic Touring funding.
is working in partnership with Creative Arts East on the conference
whose theme this year is to explore the idea that “Rural Touring is
great at audience engagement.”
In 2012/13 the rural touring
network supported 2,407 rural communities to promote over 3,762 live
professional arts performances for a combined audience of
Research shows that rural touring
reaches many people who never or rarely access the arts and that it
makes a valuable contribution to community life.
day event comprises of showcases, workshops, debate, discussion and
networking and is fully booked for this year, with over 120 delegates
attending, including touring scheme workers, promoters, venues, funders,
local authority officers and members and artists and performers.
is an important part of the conference, allowing touring schemes,
venues and voluntary promoters to see work, share experiences and
broaden their knowledge of work available.
In celebration of the Landmark Trust’s 50th Anniversary, Clavell
Tower in Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset is one of only five special Landmark
Trust sites across Britain selected to host ‘LAND’, a temporary
installation by sculptor Antony Gormley. Over a special Golden Weekend
of celebration in May, choirs and musicians at 25 Landmark Trust sites
across Britain performed a new composition by musician Kerry Andrew in a
shared ‘Golden Moment’.
Kimmeridge Landmark – Antony Gormley (c) Roland Tarr
Kimmeridge, Sammy Hurden led the locally based Freedance Choir in
performing their interpretation of this Anthem, and other works in
response to the dramatic coastline of this area. The Ridgeway Singers
& Band also performed pieces of local significance, and all events
on the day were coordinated by Artsreach.
Procession from Clavell Tower (c) Roland Tarr
Take a look at this stunning compliation of photographs from the day, overlaid with the Freedance Choir performing ‘An Anthem for Landmark’.
The National Rural Touring Forum has joined forces with The Place,
Take Art and China Plate to launch a brand new 3 year initiative for
touring and making dance to and for rural areas and are seeking an
experienced Project Co-ordinator to underpin the project.
is a key role and principal duties include brokering relationships
between rural touring schemes, local volunteer village hall promoters,
dance companies and artists and ensuring the programme of activity is
integrated and delivered to an agreed timeline and on budget.
use this link for the recruitment pack and application form and feel
free to forward the link to appropriate colleagues or contacts.
Claire Smith, of Cheshire’s Rural Touring Arts, reflects on the
past 10 years of the PANDA Rural Touring PItching and Mentoring Scheme:
being hugely precise in my record keeping (!) I had no idea that our
project with PANDA in Manchester has this year been happening for 10
years until I unearthed some old documents in a clear our recently.
It seems fitting therefore that in this its 10th year it is returning to its roots in Cheshire.
this time it’s grown from involving one scheme to now being a
partnership with all seven of the Northern Rural Touring Schemes. The
major key partner of course being PANDA, who support the companies that
apply throughout the process and this year successfully applied for a
Grants for Arts Award to enable the scheme to continue.
an open application process via PANDA’s membership. This year we had 28
applicants and 7 companies have been shortlisted to attend a day in
Chester where those companies will have a chance to sit down and have a
‘creative conversation’ with us as scheme managers about work they want
to make or have made that might work for our rural audiences.
particularly like to meet artists before they pin down too much so we
can ‘rural proof’ their creative thoughts and become collaborators in
It’s a real privilege to engage with the artistic
side of what we do. In my view we are sunk as programmers if we don’t
remind ourselves regularly about the business of making the work that
will ultimately pop up in our inboxes and fully appreciate what it takes
to get it there.
I think over the years it has helped break down
the ‘Us and Them’ attitude and has nurtured a more collaborative
approach with companies.
It is very difficult to assess the
quality or integrity of an artist or show without seeing or meeting with
the people involved – this project is a great way of being able to do
For the companies, emerging and mid-career, who are often
short of resources it’s a great opportunity to meet multiple scheme
mangers in one hit and get backing for a show – support that can
translate into a promise of multiple dates and Grants for the Arts
awards that are more likely to succeed as a result.
forward to our day on 15th June – where we will no doubt begin some
long term relationships with companies and be reminded about why we got
involved in this fabulous sector in the first place!
much for all that [feedback]. Very useful, pertinent – and largely
gratifying – comments!….I really can’t thank you enough for this
brilliant scheme. It makes planning and producing a rural tour so much
easier and less lonely!’ Sue McCormick – previous participant
Chris Bridgman recently took up his new role as Artistic Manager
for Kirkgate Arts, including management of Cumbria’s Rural Touring
Scheme, Arts Out West. We asked how he’s settling in…
it looks like I’ve got a Proper Job at last. I’ve spent most of my life
avoiding (consciously or otherwise) full-time, long-term employment in
favour of a selection box of freelance and part-time work. I don’t want
to create an unnecessarily romantic picture of complete fecklessness. I
did run North West Playwrights (developing and supporting
script-writers) for more than a decade. But that was part-time, allowing
for all sorts of forays into acting, directing, teaching…
just had a very enjoyable spell as Creative Producer for Litfest in
Lancaster, curating the annual festival, and developing a range of other
projects across the year. But that was also part-time; whereas Artistic
Manager for Kirkgate Arts is most definitely full-time. It’s actually
two jobs: programming the Kirkgate Arts Centre in Cockermouth, and
managing Arts Out West, the Rural Touring Scheme for West Cumbria.
guess in this role I’m a poacher turned gamekeeper. A theatre company I
set up with writer Crystal Stewart – boojum – was the first to be
introduced to rural touring through the PANDA/Cheshire Rural Touring
mentoring project. Ten years ago. (OMG! Really?!). Now I’m looking
forward to the showcase day for the current crop of mentees – the
enterprise now involving 6 schemes across the North and West Midlands.
recently I’ve been back to my acting roots, performing in Rocket
Theatre’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime. This
has had considerable exposure in rural touring schemes, from Hampshire
to Aberdeenshire; and rather startlingly, immediately after I was
offered this post, we played three of the Arts Out West venues – a great
introduction to my new constituency. On the first of those three nights
Peter Normington, the seasoned promoter at Ireby, had great pleasure in
being able to announce that present in the hall were Caroline Aston,
the current Arts Out West Manager, as well as her predecessor, Bob
Pritchard. And her successor would be…Chris, who’d just been pratting
about in a range of broadly-drawn characters.
I owe huge thanks to
Peter, who took me on a grand safari of our region; to Caroline, for an
intense and invaluable two-week hand-over process; and to all at
Highlights, our NPO partner, who created a very successful joint event
for promoters, and are generally being very tolerant of (and helpful to)
my getting-up-to-speed process. I’m also very grateful to all at the
Kirkgate, who are being immensely supportive and welcoming. It’s been a
great pleasure meeting the promoters and seeing some excellent
performances out in the villages. Two months in, the autumn menu’s been
finalised, and I’ve managed to experience around half of our halls –
either just visiting, seeing a show – or performing in one. Plenty more
work to be done – and plenty more pleasures to look forward to.
We are delighted to announce that the NRTF has been successful in its
bid to secure £379,560 through the Arts Council of England Strategic
Touring funds to support a dance and rural areas touring initiative,
with NRTF member schemes as key delivery partners. Working with project
partners, The Place, China Plate and Take Art, we are embarking on a
3-year project to enable substantially more dance touring to take place
in rural England, Wales and Scotland as well as encouraging more dance
companies and artists to engage with the rural touring sector. The
project has a total budget of £500,000 and more detail will follow as
plans for a launch are finalised.
The Strategic Touring
programme is designed to encourage collaboration between organisations,
so that more people across England experience and are inspired by the
arts, particularly in places which rely on touring for much of their
arts provision. Its aims are that people across England have improved
access to great art visiting their local area.
better access to high quality work for people in places in England which rely on touring for much of their arts provision
more high quality work to reach people and places with the least engagement
more high quality work on tour connecting more effectively with people across a wide range of venues
stronger relationships forged between those involved in artistic, audience and programme development on both the supply and demand side of touring
a wide range of high quality work on tour, including in particular more work by and for children and young people, and more work by and for people from diverse backgrounds
This short form is designed to help you asses whether or not your show is Rural Touring ready. We take you through the very basic needs of rural touring and give you a list of things to consider. We also point you to other helpful resources and pages along the way. Please note this form is NOT a way of submitting your show to be considered for touring but should be used as a tool to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to approach schemes.