Artsreach in Dorset welcome Becky Varndell to the team as their new Marketing and Development Officer. We got in touch with Becky to find out a little bit more about her, and what rural touring means to her!
- Introduce yourself! Who are you and where have you come from and what will you be doing with Artsreach?
My name is Becky Varndell and I am the newest member of the Artsreach team working as the marketing and development officer. Since graduating from Plymouth University with an English with Media Arts degree in 2012, I have worked in digital marketing for an online events company and most recently as a tourism officer for the Lyme Regis Tourist Office. For the past three years I have acted with Lyme Regis amateur dramatic society’s The Marine Players and in the summer of 2017 I produced and acted in ‘Monmouth’ at the Marine Theatre, which went on to tour the South West in autumn 2017. I am so excited to get stuck into my new role helping to promote the diverse and rich programme of events on offer this season.What does rural touring mean to you?
Rural touring is hugely important because it delivers an accessible programme of professional theatre, dance and music to the heart of rural communities, who may not otherwise have the chance to engage with the arts. Artsreach really enriches Dorset communities, bringing people of diverse backgrounds and ages together to socialise, learn and connect through the arts. What’s more, promoters have the opportunity to choose which events they would like to host in their venue and a portion of the income generated from audience members purchasing tickets plays a vital role in supporting community venues. I feel lucky to work for such a valuable organisation made up of passionate and creative people.
- What are you most excited about getting stuck into?
I’m looking forward to dreaming up new ways in which Artsreach can develop as a company, helping to deliver new exciting projects to a wide range of audiences. Our spring brochure is currently being finalised and there are some amazing and diverse shows coming up. I can’t wait to spread the word and engage new audience members. I am excited to work closely with the volunteer promoters who work so hard to put everything together for their venue.
- What was the first rural touring show you ever saw?
I remember being captivated when my parents took me to a puppet show in my local village hall as a child. More recently I have listened to the inspirational Lyme Regis based sea shanty singers Harbour Voices and watched a very poignant performance of Tree House by Chris Fogg Projects.
- Do you have a top tip for anyone new to rural touring? Maybe a golden nugget about marketing?
When it comes to rural touring, strong, accurate communication is key, particularly as there are many different aspects and needs to fulfil including that of the performer, promoter, volunteers, touring organisation and of course, the audience. It’s also really important to utilise local networks in order to promote a show to it’s full advantage. Listening to your audience is essential in order for them to receive the best quality of performances suitable for their village.