News for Villages in Action Rural Touring Promoters, Artists and Rural Audiences in Devon

Following the announcement of Villages in Action withdrawing from organising  rural touring in Devon and the closure of the office in May 2017, Carn to Cove, the rural touring scheme  in Cornwall has, at the invitation of the Board of Trustees of ViA,  stepped in  to run a caretaker season for  the  Autumn of this year and Spring of 2018.  The three Devon district councils which are the current stalwart funders of ViA – Teignbridge, East Devon and West Devon – welcomed this initiative to preserve a vibrant community resource. 

The team at Carn to Cove (Tim Smithies and Claire Marshall) invited all Devon villages to a presentation evening in April and from the 16 Devon village promoters who attended and others who were circulated, events have already been booked for the Autumn.   A full “menu” for the Spring 2018 will be presented to villages in September.

Tim Smithies,  Project Director at Carn to Cove.  said “This is a temporary solution to preserve an important arts network and a volunteer resource developed over many years and we are hoping to explore longer term solutions  which will keep Devon’s villages “in the rural touring loop” in the next few months.    This network provides jobs, rural economic activity, social benefit, artistic excellence and joy for many remote communities – we thank the funders and the volunteers who are sticking with us. ” 

Catherine Devenish, Chair of the ViA Trustees said “We are very grateful that Carn to Cove have stepped in to run this caretaker season and we look forward to working with them. The ViA board believes that this is a great opportunity which will secure the future of rural touring and continue to support rural communities in Devon, as well as being an exciting development for the arts sector in the South West.”

The intention is to produce a distinct programme of events, and maintain the current ViA website to publicise upcoming events. For the 2017/18 season, there will be direct financial support for Devon


villages where the three councils continue to support arts events at local level.  All other villages in ViA that would like to can book artists can do so but for the present without subsidy or risk share.  All

ViA promoters will be invited to a “Menu Party” which will take place on 26th September at Blisland Village Hall in East Cornwall (close to the A30) and on 27th September at 7pm at Stockland Village Hall in East Devon  outlining  the support we can offer.

Performing artists wishing to be considered for inclusion in the September menu (for the January – June 2018 ViA and Carn to Cove season) should contact the Carn to Cove office on 01209 312500.

Programme update for Being Bold and last chance to book your place at the NRTF conference

If you’re not booked yet – book today!

A final reminder that this year’s NRTF conference, hosted by New Perspectives and Northants Touring Arts is fast approaching!

Being Bold takes place at Nottingham Lakeside Arts at the University of Nottingham on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th June 2017.

We have over 120 delegates attending from across the country each day and if you haven’t already, now is the time to book your place to be part of the conversation.

Over two days a mix of rural touring scheme staff and board members, volunteer promoters, artists, performers and Arts Council England representatives will take part and join the debate in a series of focussed sessions highlighting dance, spoken word, the significance of place, children and young people, disability and fundraising.

The clock is ticking, but there is still time to book a place at the conference. Booking for a full time place closes at 10.00am on Monday 19th June and for day places Wednesday 21st June.

Here’s a brief outline to help you decide whether to join for the full conference or single days:

BEING BOLD: Wednesday 28 June 2017, 1.30pm – 6.30pm

•         Keynote speech from celebrated writer, theatre maker and Fun Palaces Co-Director Stella Duffy OBE

•         Update on the national rural dance initiative with an extract from tour de force Uchenna Dance

•         Spoken word and the rural challenge
News from leading initative The Inn Crowd, the South East and East of England’s programme of spoken word inspired events in rural pubs, plus insights from artist producers, plus contrasting extracts from Rob Gee and Sophia Walker, chaired by James Urquart, Arts Council England

•         The importance of place.
A session from New Perspectives where theatre makers Jack McNamara, Alan Lyddiard and Michael Pinchbeck share approaches to two very different theatre pieces, with rural insights from Dr Jo Robinson, University of Nottingham
PLUS 7pm until late

•         Conference Dinner and TicketSource Rural Touring Awards
Hosted by Stella Duffy OBE, featuring awards presented by leading researcher and writer Francois Matarasso, China Plate Co-Director Ed Collier, writer and associate editor of the Stage Lyn Gardner and Becci Speight, CEO of The Woodland Trust

BEING BOLD: Thursday 29 June 2017, 9.45am – 4.30pm

•         An interactive morning exploring, interrogating and discussing work for, by and with children and young people led by Little Earthquake, with special guest The Bone Ensemble. 

The morning features an extract from Where’s My Igloo Gone, a production grounded in science and powered by the imagination which will lead into a wider conversation on inclusion and disability in a rural context.

•        In the afternoon, Fundraising Fundamentals from 2.00pm – 4.30pm offers you the chance to engage with experts in specialist areas of fundraising who will work with you to spark fresh ideas to build on in order to gain new investment for professional arts in your communities and across networks. We are grateful to Arts Funding and Philanthropy for an award towards this afternoon training session.

The fundraising workshops will offer a choice between:
Getting started, trusts and foundations, individual giving and sponsorship, and online fundraising.

Practical conference information, including check in details, parking and general logistics will be emailed to delegates a week in advance of the conference.

Further information about Fundraising Fundamentals is available in the resources section of the website – here.

A big thank you to all who have booked, and remember there’s still time to book a place if you’re quick!

FULL CONFERENCE (which includes the Dinner, TicketSource Rural Touring Awards and overnight accommodation) booking deadline: 10am Monday 19th June book now

DAY CONFERENCE booking deadine: midday Wednesday 21st June book now

We look forward to welcoming you in Nottingham!

If you have any queries, please contact Sally at admin@northantstouringarts.co.uk

Shortlist announced for TicketSource Rural Touring Awards

Over 700 Nominations received across six categories celebrating every aspect of the sector

Image credit: Tom Middleton
The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) has announced the shortlist for the first ever awards celebrating rural touring in the UK. Over 700 individuals nominated productions, venues, promoters, schemes, and staff for the award (please find the shortlist below). The shortlist will now go before an independent judging panel comprising Guardian journalist Lyn Gardner, writer and researcher Francois Matarasso, Ed Collier of independent producing studio China Plate and Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of The Woodland Trust. Judges will be looking for brilliant stories, examples of good, enthusiastic and dedicated practice and forward-looking work.
Categories are focused on the key areas of rural touring success: the most welcoming village halls and community venues, the best promoters (many of whom are volunteers), the most supportive touring schemes, the best new individuals and companies in the sector, and the most innovative and inspirational shows.
The NRTF Special Award was open to all nominations with the judges looking for an amazing story from the world of rural touring – and the nominees reflect long term engagement with specific local communities which have been valued over many years: Christine Smith, a promoter for the Night Out scheme since 2002, Duncan MacInnes, Artistic Director of SEALL for the last 26 years, and recently retired Director of Artreach, Ian Scott.
Nominations across all categories were made by audiences (who made around 55% of nominations), as well as touring scheme staff, artists and promoters. Audience numbers in 2015/16 were in excess of 332,000 across NTRF shows, and since the first Nation Rural Touring Forum figures in 2006/07 there has been an increase in audience numbers of 26%, reflecting a huge increase in the amount of work that is reaching and being enjoyed by rural audiences, which requires the support of the local schemes that make up the NTRF.
Director and NRTF board member Elizabeth Freestone said, “We are delighted by the number of nominations that we received for our first ever rural touring awards. It shows the interest and enthusiasm that exists amongst audiences, promoters, touring schemes and artists for this area of work. It's thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteer promoters, of hard-working performers, of committed touring schemes and of loyal audiences that rural touring is vibrant and thriving. The RTAs will allow us to publicly show gratitude to those individuals who have made a real difference to a community over the past year.”
National Rural Touring Forum is a member-led organisation that works strategically with partners to develop work and deliver high quality art experiences that strengthen rural and other communities. It provides the rural touring network with training, information and networking services and enable international partnerships and commissions. The organisation aims to promote better understanding of the value of rural and community touring through research and advocacy.
The presentation of awards will take place on 28 th June at Nottingham University at the NRTF annual conference. Further details on the shortlist can be downloaded here: https://www.ruraltouring.org/resources/rural-touring- awards-shortlist- announced
Full list of Nominees:
Rural Touring NewcomerLila Dance, South EastTony Leonard, Landlord of Roebuck Inn in Laughton and The Snowdrop Inn in Lewes, SussexHannah Prior, Arts Alive Board member and co-director of I-gnition, Shropshire
Best PromoterSue Cottam – Bradworthy Village Hall, DevonDes George – Neuadd Dyfi, WalesRebecca Smith – Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Most innovative and/or inspirational showThe Deluge – Lila Dance, South East,Paradise Lost (Lies unopen beside me) – Lost Dog, South EastLabels – Worklight Theatre, South West
Most Supportive Touring SchemeArts Alive – Shropshire and HerefordshireCarn to Cove – CornwallHighlights Rural Touring Scheme – Cumbria, County Durham, Northumberland
Most Welcoming Village HallFelton Village Hall – NorthumberlandMelbourne Assembly Rooms – DerbyshireQuatt Village Hall – Shropshire
NRTF Special AwardDuncan MacInnes, Artistic Director – SEALL, Isle of SkyeIan Scott, Director – Artreach, DorsetChristine Smith, Promoter – Night Out Wales

Rural Touring Dance Initiative season draws to a close

The final shows of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative season are fast approaching – Here is all you need to know about Lost Dog’s “Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me)…

The award-winning actor/dancer BEN DUKE’s one-man show: ‘Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me)’
UK dates presented by Rural Touring Dance Initiative from the North East to the Deep South of England…
2016 National Dance Critics Award for Outstanding Male Performance2016 Nominated for South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance
“With little more than a wooden chair and a bucketful of chickpeas, Ben Duke extrapolates Milton’s epic in a virtuoso tour-de- force.” (The Stage 5*) LOST DOG, the highly entertaining dance/theatre company is fronted by its Artistic Director BEN DUKE whose one-man show, ‘PARADISE LOST (LIES UNOPENED BESIDE ME)’ has been performing to critical acclaim and capacity audiences since its premiere in 2015.
A one-man staging of Milton’s epic Paradise Lost which combines theatre, comedy and movement, this is a journey through the story of the creation of everything condensed into 80 minutes, beginning with Lucifer’s rebellion and ending with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from The Garden of Eden.  
Ben Duke plays all the characters, creates all the scenes and, despite his best efforts, falls a little short of perfection. “It’s a show for anyone who has created anything (child, garden, paper aeroplane) and then watched it spiral out of control,” he says.
In May Ben is partnering once again with the Rural Touring Dance Initiative to take ‘Paradise Lost’ to more community spaces and rural hubs around the UK. It’s an extension of the partnership that worked so well in autumn 2016 and there are plans for more dates at the end of the year.
‘Paradise Lost…’ tour dates in May:
May 12th Cumbria – The Kirkgate Centre, Cockermouth 
May 13th Durham – The Witham Barnard Castle
May 14th Northumberland – Amble Parish Hall Amble Parish Hall
May 1 th West Midlands – Thimblemill Library, Smethwick 
May 19th Strike a Light, Gloucester Cathedral
May 20th Marlborough, Wilts – St Mary’s Church, Great Bedwyn 
Says Claire Smith, Project Manager at Rural Dance Initiative: “We are thrilled to be able to offer Lost Dog again on the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. The response from the autumn shows was so positive. Shows like ‘Paradise Lost’ are really switching new audiences onto dance. The high level of professionalism combined with Ben’s inventive storytelling style makes it an absolute hit with audiences.”
Ralph Lister, Development Director adds: “The aim of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative is to enable more touring and making of dance to and for rural areas.  Very little dance tours to rural areas; this initiative will address issues and challenges on both the supply and demand side of the equation. More companies will be encouraged to take their work out of a regular ‘black box’ setting into village halls and it will create opportunities for many more rural touring staff and volunteer promoters to see exciting and engaging dance on a broad spectrum and to then programme and promote these shows to their local village audience. The project has attracted funding from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund until 2018.”

Q&A with BEN DUKE:
1.When did you first read Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’?
BEN: I read the poem at university; I had to study it in depth, write about it, go to lectures on it and by the end of that I was completely amazed by it.   I decided first that I wanted to make a solo and then I tried to think of the most ridiculous thing to try and stage on my own…
2. How did you go about writing the show?
BEN: The first thing was a short section that still exists in the show in which I am both God creating heaven and myself trying to get my children to school.  From there I followed Milton’s version of the story but constantly allowed myself to be side tracked and distracted by events in my own life. So rather than write a specific script, it developed as I worked on it.
3. You’ve been performing ‘PARADISE LOST…’ on and off for over two years – have you changed the show in that time?
BEN: I haven’t made big changes but it has gradually morphed.  At the beginning it was important to me that there was no script…that I knew which bits of the story I wanted to tell but I didn’t know exactly how I was going to tell them.  There is still no script but what I say each night has become more similar.  I have perhaps lost some of the chaos of the early shows but it has gained more clarity as a result.  I also think it’s easier to play a solo for this long than a duet or group piece because my playing partner is the audience and each night the audience is different and so my experience of performing it is different.
3. This May you’re working with Arts Alive to take the show to rural audiences – what are your thoughts about those dates?  
BEN: I’m a big fan of rural touring; I travelled around Somerset and North Yorkshire last year and took ‘Paradise Lost…’ to some lovely small venues in towns and villages there. It’s not a show that was made with these venues in mind but we edited it slightly to fit into libraries and village halls and I think it worked really well. The difference between performing in theatres and village halls is that in the theatre you feel like the host but in a village hall you are definitely the guest.  I am looking forward to being a guest in some harder to find corners of the UK this May.
4. What’s audience reaction like?
BEN: Audience response can be wildly different and it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s completely unpredictable.  There was a show where the audience really started laughing very early and they laughed such a lot, it felt a bit like a stand-up comedy show and that gave the show a very different feel; it felt hard to turn the corner into the darker moments. There have also been some quiet audiences and in that situation the show feels sadder.   
5. What’s it like being soaked with water every night?
BEN: Standing fully clothed in a shower of water gives me a very real sense of transformation.  I want to be rained on at that exact point in the show.  If the water is cold the experience becomes physically difficult as the body tenses – in one show the water was so cold I started getting a brain freeze headache – in another the water was so hot I was scalded by it and surrounded by a cloud of steam which I think changed the image somewhat!
6. What’s next for Ben Duke and Lost Dog?
BEN: I’m making a piece for Rambert which will premiere later this year; I’m working on a duet based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet; I have an idea for a one-man comedy show based on the incredible writing of the Holocaust survivor and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl; and I’ve got an idea of a circus version of The House of Bernarda Alba featuring a real horse and some chickens…

TicketSource Rural Touring Awards launched

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) has launched the first ever awards celebrating rural touring in the UK.  NRTF is delighted to announce a sponsorship deal with TicketSource.

Anyone working in rural touring from performers, to voluntary promoters and the staff of rural touring networks, as well as audience members, are eligible to nominate for the TicketSource Rural Touring Awards across six categories.

Circo Rum Ba Ba performance in Neuadd Dyfi through Night Out. Image by Keith Morris.
Potential nominees include artists, volunteer promoters, venues and touring schemes with nominations opening today and remaining open until 5 th May when a shortlist will be drawn up by industry peers.
The shortlist will go before an independent judging panel comprising Guardian journalist Lyn Gardner, writer and researcher Francois Matarasso, Ed Collier of independent producing studio China Plate and Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of The Woodland Trust. 
Judges will be tasked with looking for brilliant stories, examples of good practice and forward-looking work.
The award categories are as follows:
 Most welcoming village hall or community venue
 Most innovative and/or inspirational show seen at a village hall or community venue
 Volunteer promoter of the year
 Most supportive touring scheme
 Rural touring newcomer of the year
 The NRTF special award
The NRTF special award is open to all – from touring schemes and volunteers to artists or touring companies.
They are looking for an amazing story from the world of rural touring to reward long service, dedication beyond the call of duty, reliability or an exciting contribution.
The inaugural presentation of awards will take place on 28 th June at the NRTF annual conference. 
The NRTF is the membership organisation for rural touring and represents 26 touring schemes around the country. It recently announced figures showing a 26% increase in audiences for rural touring over the past decade based on a survey of its members.
Speaking about the awards, director and NRTF board member Elizabeth Freestone said:
“It’s thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteer promoters, of hard-working performers, of committed touring schemes and of loyal audiences that rural touring is vibrant and thriving. The RTAs will allow us to publicly show gratitude to those individuals who have made a real difference to a community over the past year.”
If you would like to submit nominations for the awards you can do so here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SV7JGL6
Nominations will close at midnight on the 5th May. Those shortlisted in each category will be notified by 26th May and the shortlisted nominees will be invited to attend the prize giving at Nottingham University on 28th June as part of the NRTF conference – where the overall winners in each category will be announced at an event compered by Stella Duffy OBE.

Pentabus to live stream performance

Pentabus Theatre will live stream the final performance of their show “As The Crow Flies”

Watch Alfie fly for the last time!

Catch the last performance online this Sunday 30th April at 7.30pm

We’ve toured to 9 counties from Devon to Norfolk and performed nearly 40 shows to over 2000 people.

If you missed us on the road, fear not. We’re live-streaming the performance from Leintwardine village hall, straight into your living room.

Commissioning Brief for short animation film for Rural Touring schemes

Invitation to tender for creation of short animation film for two Rural Touring schemes.

What we do
Highlights and Arts Alive are two rural touring schemes working across Shropshire and Herefordshire (AA) and Northumberland, parts of County Durham and Cumbria (H). We work with predominantly volunteer run local community venues to programme professional live performances, workshops, big screen films (AA only) and a Contemporary Craft Exhibition (H only).
What we need
Highlights and Arts Alive wish to commission a short animated film (Around 2 mins).

Each scheme already has a short film featuring real promoters which gives background to rural touring which can be seen here: http://www.artsalive.co.uk/About-Us/Films-of-our-work.aspx (ArtsAlive) and the below video for Highlights. 

We have chosen to commission an animation to give a fresh look and to be able to ‘top and tail’ with titles and logos to make it specific to each scheme, sharing the main section.
Commissioners will provide content for voiceover or text over (however it is decided) and will work with successful film makers to develop the story line.
The message
Both schemes are losing local authority funding and need to get the message across to supporters that there is a new need to generate income via philanthropic donations. Many of our supporters are not aware that we are charities, and many of the benefits of our work are ‘soft’ e.g. contribute to personal and community wellbeing, so we need to highlight the importance of these issues and give them value.
This is a new era, we need to educate and motivate our supporters. These include audience members and the general public who are interested in the arts and/or supporting their rural communities
Key messages:
 Who we are What we do Why we need money How to donate – e.g. donation boxes, online, by post, legacies We can double donations (from Arts Council England Catalyst: Evolve Programme) till August 2019 What you will get from donating – e.g.continued vibrant arts scene in your local community.
The Work
 Produce a 2min animation film with music and dialogue. Agree visual format for film Highlights and Arts Alive will provide content. Using content deliver following message in a simple entertaining way: Highlights/Arts Alive deliver amazing shows in community spaces.     – Who makes it happen – Scheme, Promoters, Audience     – What would we lose without it – Access to great art, opportunities to meet friends and have a great night out in the village hall     – How you can help. Different ways to donate – online, donation boxes, gift aid, legacies, sponsors, Thank you to supporters Meet with scheme representatives to discuss the project and maintain regular email and telephone contact re the development of the project.
Where will film be used?
 On both scheme’s websites Before Flicks screenings (AA) On social media FB and Twitter At public events At promoter gatherings and workshops Sent directly to Promoters
Expressions of interest
Please respond to the brief by email to barbara@highlightsnorth.co.uk by 3 May. We would like to see examples of your work and ideas on how you would interpret the brief.
Schedule
The two finished films to be completed by end of September 2017
Fee
The fee will be up to a maximum of £4,000

Highlights Rural Touring seek Fundraising Campaign Worker

Thanks to a recent funding award from the Catalyst: Evolve programme, Highlights is looking for a new staff member to assist us in delivering the outputs of this income generation project.
The Fundraising Campaign Worker will join our small team currently based in Appleby in Cumbria. They will work as part of a friendly busy small team, there is scope for this post to also work remotely on occasions.
This is an ideal opportunity for a talented and motivated individual to join a busy and developing arts organisation. We are offering a 6 month contract in the first instance, but envisage this being extended.
Background
Highlights works with community volunteers across Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland to deliver a programme of high quality live theatre, music, dance, children’s performances and contemporary craft exhibitions in some of the most rurally isolated areas in the country. We work with over 70 village hall venues and deliver over 140 professional live events and six contemporary craft exhibitions per year.
Our Fundraising Campaign Worker will have a flair for words and like working with creative people.
Tasks
 Experience in Fundraising Managing the income generation campaigns Research and identify through Trustfinder likely trusts and foundations to support specific projects. Prepare outline applications Assist commission and production of new ‘giving focused film’ Initiate and manage online campaigns for online giving some already in place e.g. Easy Fundraising Managing donors via current online systems Implementation of legacy giving Profile raising of the organisation growing the following and activity on social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter, set up and build following on Instagram Manage the promoter training resources Support the directors in the new developments
Key attributes:
 Excellent communicator Good writing skills especially in a marketing context Competence and creativity in using social media Excellent organisational and administrative skills Strong time management and administrative skills Ability to be self-motivated and work unsupervised
 Ability to work as part of a team Excellent IT skills Willing to learn and enjoy new challenges Ability to work to deadlines. Creative thinker with enthusiasm for the arts Experience with working with volunteers
We may be able to offer training in some areas.
Fee
£7,500pa (equivalent of 15 hrs per week)
Please send an application letter and CV to info@highlightsnorth.co.uk
Closing date for applications is May 19th 2017. Interviews June 5/6 th 2017 start date to be agreed.

Young people stars of Redcar!

This April, young people from Redcar are taking to the stage to support one of the leading theatre companies in the country.

Getting the chance to perform on stage in support of one of the top theatre companies in the country is something that most aspiring young actors can only dream of. However, thanks to Rural Arts Create Tour project, 20 young people from Freebrough Academy are getting the opportunity to do just that.
Working with the hugely acclaimed Tamasha Theatre company, the young people involved in Rural Arts Create Tour project will spend 4 days together to create their own short performance and will then tour it around local venues as an opening act for Tamasha’s fantastic new show Made in India.

“This is a really wonderful opportunity for young people to have the chance to experience what it is like to be a professional touring company” says Joe Hennessy, who is the Youth Development Officer at Rural Arts “it’s not only really good fun, but the show they create is always fantastic.
This show is being bought to Thirsk by arts charity Rural Arts and their performance scheme, ON Tour. ON Tour is the rural touring scheme for North Yorkshire and East Cleveland and since 1999 has brought out high quality, professional performances to rural and community venues all across the county. There have been a number of high profile acts on the ON Tour scheme in recent years including West Yorkshire Playhouse, Pentabus and Farnham Maltings.
Police Cops has wowed audiences and critics alike since its opening in 2015 – with the Stage calling it ‘Unbeatable’ in their 5 star review, while The New Current called the show ‘Undeniably one of the best comedy shows of 2015.’
Police Cops is being performed at Thirsk Town Hall on Friday 10th March at 7.30pm. Tickets can be bought online at www.ruralarts.org or by calling 01845 526536. Join the conversation online @ruralarts/#ONTour17

Audiences for rural touring growing

Poll of National Rural Touring Forum members finds attendance up 26% over past decade

Image: Fol Espoir’s Instructions for an American Serviceman in Britain

Audience numbers for professional shows in rural communities in England, Wales and Scotland are increasing according to figures collected by the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF).

Audience numbers attending shows in rural venues, often village halls, and at outdoor rural events have increased 26% since 2006/7, when the NRTF began polling members bi-annually to offer a snapshot of the rural touring sector as it stands. The total number of people to see a show on the rural touring circuit in 2015/16 was 332,140, an increase of 7.5% on the previous survey covering 2012/13.

During 2015/16 there were 2,856 live performances in rural venues across England, Wales and Scotland resulting in a total box office take of £1,096,943 (up from £956,665 in 2006/7). Shows that sold well at rural touring venues last year include Kali Theatre’s My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding, Fol Espoir’s Instructions for an American Serviceman in Britain, Vamos Theatre’s The Best Thing and Apphia Campbell’s Black is the Color of my Voice. The NRTF is the membership organisation for rural touring and represents 26 touring schemes around the country.

Shows are staged by promoter groups, usually run by volunteers, with the support of the local schemes. The NRTF estimates that there are currently 1,659 promoter groups across England Wales and Scotland, with 43 of these designated Young Promoter schemes which allow under 25s to get involved with programming a venue. The survey also demonstrates the importance of volunteering to rural touring with 112,568 volunteer hours recorded across all member schemes in 2015/6. The NRTF estimates the value of this time at £1,125,680.

Speaking about the results Ralph Lister, Development Director for the NRTF said:

“The growth in touring professional work into rural areas is a testament to the dedication of many small, rurally based, arts organisations working across the UK. The National Rural Touring Forum is proud to profile this work which is culturally diverse, of a high quality and which demonstrates the appetite in rural areas to see exciting and dynamic shows in their local and often quirky venues. This national network also provides many small-scale companies and artists with a critically important touring opportunity, enabling them to thrive and prosper”

National Rural Touring Forum is a member-led organisation that works strategically with partners to develop work and deliver high quality art experiences that strengthen rural and other communities. It provides the rural touring network with training, information and networking services and enable international partnerships and commissions. The organisation aims to promote better understanding of the value of rural and community touring through research and advocacy. For a quick look at some of the key findings, see out At A Glance document here