Rural Arts North Yorkshire- Diverse Rural Touring Project

Expression of Interest Application

Rural Arts North Yorkshire is inviting expressions of interest for a performance company to partner on a three-year project that supports BAME/culturally diverse performance companies to rurally tour on a yearly basis, from 2017 to 2020.

Deadline for submission of expression of interest to – 26th October 2016

Download full details and the application form here.


Rural Arts is a National Portfolio Organisation based at The Courthouse in Thirsk North Yorkshire, a community venue that programmes a range of workshops and performances; in 1999 the charity established ON Tour, the rural touring scheme for North Yorkshire and East Cleveland. ON Tour brings high quality music, dance and theatre to rural communities through its network of 300 volunteer promoters.

In 2013 Rural Arts received funding from Arts Council England to deliver a Strategic Touring project, the Create Tour. The project’s inception was an innovative participatory youth project offering personal and social development as well as transferable skills to 180 deprived and isolated young people through residencies and touring opportunities with professional companies. The initial project demonstrated participatory and wrap-around activities success in encouraging new and current audiences to attend more challenging programming (e.g. modern dance) and this led to Rural Arts redeveloping the project to solely be delivered by diverse-led companies. The updated model has been developed to deliver five key outcomes: to diversify programming, upskill promoters, increase companies’ capacities, develop new audiences, and provide young people with performing art opportunities.

Rural Touring Project, 2017-2020

The Create Tour project is nine youth residencies over three years, where a group of young people spends four days working with a performance company to develop a short piece. The group then tours this as an opening act for the companies’ four tour dates as part of the Rural Arts ON Tour Scheme. Over the three years, three companies will rotate delivery in three targeted areas: East Cleveland, Richmondshire and Ryedale. Tamasha Theatre and RJC Dance are confirmed as two of the delivery partners.

In partnership with Black Theatre Live and Tara Arts, Rural Arts will support the successful culturally diverse performance company to tour rurally and be the final delivery partner for the project. Performance companies will receive yearly support through events, mentoring and advice.

Performance companies will be shortlisted using the following criteria:

  • The quality of the proposed production
  • The relevancy of the production for rural audiences
  • The accessibility of the content- performances must have a wider context and interest non-theatre goers
  • The logistics of the production to tour to village hall venues
  • Experience of delivering youth projects and workshops

Further Information

  • Performance companies must express an interest in rural touring to Rural Arts partner venues in North Yorkshire and other rural touring schemes
  • Companies must share a commitment to meet the Create Tour projects aims and objectives
  • Applications are exclusively open to BAME artists and/or BAME companies
  • Proposed touring performances may be new work or re-tours of existing shows
  • Performance companies must demonstrate a clear plan to be ready to tour a production in October 2017
  • Performance companies must have demonstrable skills of working with young people to create a performance and evidence of delivering an educational programme


  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a budget, which should consider the following costs- four workshop days, five performances over four days during the tour week and be inclusive of accommodation and travel costs
  • Companies will be allocated a yearly budget that will be agreed with the successful applicant
  • If a performance requires further funding to tour, companies must already have this in place to guarantee involvement, the project budget will only cover delivery costs of the outlined project
  • Must consider ‘future life’ of the tour and potential opportunity to tour to other rural areas

Audience Development & Marketing

  • The company must consider how the production relates to and is supported by the Audience Development elements including the annual youth residencies
  • The company must attend community engagement events as part of the project; these events will take place during the workshop week at partner venues
  • To support promoter development, companies will be invited to attend showcasing events throughout the life of the project, this will include meeting venues and performing extracts of shows
  • Companies will be supported by the Create Tour Audience Development Plan and programme
  • Companies must be committed to supporting promoters to fully market performances by thorough information and phone support when required
  • Companies must provide high quality marketing material for each venue
  • Companies must be committed to attending evaluation and project planning meetings when required Touring
  • To tour as a part of the ON Tour scheme on a yearly basis from 2017 to 2020
  • The tour will include five performances over four days: touring to two village halls, one market town and two performances at a partner school (including a matinee and evening performance)
  • The tour will be coordinated by Rural Arts Youth Residencies
  • To deliver one youth residency per year, each project will be attended by a maximum of 20 participants
  • The workshop week will take place at a youth centre in the targeted area
  • Workshop and tour dates are dictated by North Yorkshire school half-term schedules
  • Recruitment and logistical details will be coordinated by Rural Arts

Time Frame

  • Deadline for submission of expression of interest to – 26th October 2016
  • Shortlisted proposals informed – 28th October 2016
  • Shortlisted applicants will be asked to submit a budget by the 4th November 2016
  • Pitching Day at Tara Arts Theatre – 16th November 2016
  • Project begins in 2017; project delivery for the successful company will take place in October 2017 over two weeks, this is planned around North Yorkshire school half-term schedules
  • The proposed three year partnership offered to the successful performance company will be subject to a yearly review process

All applicants are advised to contact Rural Arts prior to applying to discuss the project in further detail.
Lead contact: Sophie Backhouse, ON Tour Manager


P: 01845 526536

Rural Arts, The Courthouse, Westgate, Thirsk, YO7 1QS

Charity Registration number: 10810073

Group of young people involved in the create tour in the past.