Kind words from two departing board members

NRTF are very sad to say goodbye to Alex Murdoch and Janet Ollier who have been our co-opted board members for the last 4 years. Alex and Janet have a few words to say about their experiences below:

Alex has been our artist on the board for the past four years:

“My time on the NRTF board has been really challenging and fulfilling.  I’ve not done anything like it before, but I believed passionately – and still do – that if artists are going to have their voices heard they need to be more present on boards. I have loved every minute of my time rural touring, the village hall sector has given me so much and taught me more about audiences, about play and about spontaneity than any other theatre context I’ve been in.

“I believe however the rural touring sector is in danger of risk aversion; there are glitches in terms of understanding between scheme, promoter and artist. We need to have better and more equal conversations between the three points of that triangle; more to understand how work is made, toured and chosen, what each of our priorities are.  I am proud that NRTF now offers bursaries for the sector to be part of the national conversation about the performing arts sector Devoted and Disgruntled each January, and that artists are now becoming a stronger presence at conferences.

I hope that if you are an artist with lots of experience of rural touring, lots of love for the sector and a desire to be involved in enabling better conditions for the best work to thrive in village halls, that you’ll consider applying to be next artist on the NRTF board.”

Janet Ollier has been our Voluntary Promoter Rep on the board for the past four years.

“As a Voluntary Promoter  for some 12 years, my scheme manager encouraged me to consider applying for the co-opted position for a VP on the NRTF Board, four years ago. I was really not sure when I did so, what exactly this would entail. I have now completed my term and can say to you all that it has been a very worthwhile, thoroughly enjoyable experience.

“From meeting and working with the Board to making contacts with inspiring people from all areas of the sector. It’s involved a tremendous learning curve as I tried to get to grips with all the abbreviations used by the Arts world and trying to grasp the complexities of the Arts Council funding expectations for schemes and artists, as well as all the new ideas and projects with which the NRTF has been involved during that period. It has enabled me to see the whole picture far better than from within our small worlds of promoting locally.

“Anyone who imagines the life of a scheme manager is one long Edinburgh Festival jolly is swiftly disabused of such a delightful misapprehension! Similarly, as we do to some extent when promoting, I now understand far more deeply the challenges and pressures on the artists and companies.

“The role of the VP on the Board has been very much one of flying the flag for promoters’ hopes, values and concerns, but also one of learning to appreciate the very varied issues and sometimes conflicting priorities relating to the three sectors which make up Rural Touring: the VPs, the schemes and the artists, with the overarching nature of the Arts Council and the economic and political situation surrounding them.

“I have learnt the importance of championing great theatre and music by promoters, not just the safe things, but exploring how to take a chance with something you feel passionate about and encouraging others to attend the annual conference and showcases to broaden horizons and channel our enthusiasm and knowledge of our venues and villages in promoting the best and, at times, more challenging work.”

We would like to sincerely thank both Alex and Janet for all their hard work and contribution to NRTF over the past few years.

The search for new board members begins! Paid members can find details on submitting expressions of interest in the Discussions section of the website.