Blaize release short film of dance project

Exciting news from Blaize

We have successfully danced right across the north of England! And we have a film to prove it!

We twirled through market towns and shopping malls with groups of eager flashmobs. We performed in intimate spaces such as living rooms and village halls.

We carried out workshops in schools and community organisations, working with dancers of all ages and abilities – including a group of retirees! And we left an impression wherever we went.

Audiences were spellbound with our magical performances of BMX dancing, duets and solos using both traditional and contemporary techniques.

They were charmed by Indian Dance guru Pratap Pawar, who has danced for both the Queen and JFK.

They were awestruck by the skills of Keelan Phillips, BMX Champion of the Flatlands. And they were bowled over by the vision and energy of Balbir Singh Dance Company (BSDC) staff who worked so hard to deliver a programme of dance so diverse it will remain in the minds of those who took part or watched for years to come.

In short, we engaged with sell-out audiences and people from all walks of life, sharing with them a joy and love of dance.

And we loved every minute of it.

We were greatly aided in our ambitious quest by teaming up with northern members of the NRTF, including Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, ArtERY Live, Live Lincs, Highlights Rural Touring Scheme, Spot On Lancashire and Arts Out West (all members of the NRTF).

We hope you enjoy our film!

NRTF members share rural touring top tips

The NRTF are starting to gather and share little nuggets of what we might call “best practice” around the rural touring networks. There are lots of us doing similar things, from promoters to artists to scheme managers to members of our audiences, even, and there are lots of good ideas out there that we want people to share.

Each week, we will post on twitter and facebook a “Top Tip” from someone – probably no more than 25 seconds long – which will also sit here on the NRTF website into the future. The idea is that someone else might see it and think “I/we could do that too.” Please look out for them as they appear – and please think about whether you too could offer up a Top Tip. ​Get in touch with us if you want to make some – you might be a performer, a promoter, a member of the audience or a scheme manager – it’s very easy, all we need from you is the short raw video clip from your phone or tablet and we will do the rest.​

Once we have shared the top tips they will stored in the Our Work section of the website for you refer to whenever you like.

If you’d like to offer some advice please send your top tip videos to


Wednesday 28 & Thursday 29 June 2017Nottingham Lakeside Arts
We are delighted to announce that ONLINE BOOKING IS NOW OPEN!

Our annual Rural Touring Conference provides a unique opportunity for anyone involved in rural touring to discuss and determine the environment and practical operation of their sector.
Following 2016’s sell-out New Directions showcase festival, this year’s conference takes a fresh look at new approaches of developing work for rural touring and practical discussion sessions around work for children and young people, wider access and spoken word considering proactive steps the sector can take to celebrate and continue to develop rural touring.
The NRTF 2017 Conference is co-hosted and administered by Northants Touring Arts / New Perspectives Touring Company.
We are delighted to announce that thanks to an award from Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy the conference will include a sector training session on Fundraising Fundamentals in Non-Urban Areas.  This will be tailored to be suitable for fundraising needs at a local, regional and national level and be appropriate for promoters, touring schemes and companies and performers.
We are also delighted to announce a sponsorship deal with TicketSource which will support our very first Rural Touring Award ceremony and provide us with an online booking facility for this event.
The TicketSource Rural Touring Award winners will be announced on Wednesday evening and we are delighted that Stella Duffy OBE Co-Director of Fun Palaces will join us on the opening day with a provocation at the start of the conference and will compere the inaugural TicketSource Rural Touring Awards.
Other confirmed speakers and contributors include:• Alan Lyddiard, Theatre director• Jack McNamara, Artistic Director, New Perspectives• Michael Pinchbeck, Writer and Artist• Dr Joanna Robinson, Associate Professor in Drama and Performance, University of Nottingham
Outline conference timetable: (Please note that more details will follow next week)
Wednesday 28 June 201711am – 12noon Registration12noon- 1.30pm Lunch1.30pm Welcome, introductions, keynote2pm – 3.30pm Session 13.30pm – 4pm Coffee break4pm – 5pm Session 25.30pm – 6.45pm Session 37.15pm – 8.45pm Conference dinner9pm TicketSource Rural Touring Awards9.30pm – midnight After hours networking
Thursday 29 June 20177.30am – 8.30am Breakfast9.15 – 9.30am NRTF AGM9.30am – 11am Session 411am – 11.30am Coffee break11am – 12.30pm Session 512.30pm – 1.30pm Lunch1.30pm – 4.30pm Conference round up. Fundraising Fundamentals 
The conference is for anyone and everyone with an involvement or interest in rural touring:•             Scheme staff and board members•             Volunteer promoters•             Independent artists and producers•             Partner organisations and stakeholders
A full time place: for both Wednesday and Thursday includes all meals, refreshments, sessions and b+b accommodation in modern, en-suite student rooms on site at Nottingham University and costs £150 for members. £175 for non-members. Please note NRTF associate membership is £25 and can be bought on line at
Online booking and payment by credit / debit card is NOW OPEN!
Please note that you will need to complete one booking registration at a time, but it is possible to select to continue shopping before proceeding to payment, so you can complete all your bookings in one go.
Click here to book your place(s) –
In case of any conference booking queries please contact:
Northants Touring Arts on 0115 9739121/07966 454387 or

New Hopper Project Set to Reshape Early Years Theatre

Somerset Arts organisation Take Art, in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate, has received £92k from the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund and £24k from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the Early Years regional Theatre project Hopper, focusing in Somerset and Surrey in 2017/18.

The pioneering Early Years project will create opportunities for over 3,500 babies and pre-school children to experience and influence the development of great art and culture in their Early Years setting. 
Taking place over two years, Hopper will bring specially created theatre shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer less advantaged areas.
Phil Gibby the SW Area Director for the Arts Council said, “We’re really pleased to be supporting Hopper as we believe that all children and young people, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture.”
Hopper will also support seven theatre companies in developing 70+ high quality and relevant performances. Children and Early Years staff will be invited to take part in the development process. This means that the companies can work with the under fives to make the best shows possible for them.
Gina Westbrook, Director of Early Years at Take Art said, “A significant part of Hopper is to stimulate greater interest among companies to develop new work and take it into Early Years settings. Hopper will also enable children to have a voice in how this new work is made for them.”
Phil Gibby went onto say, “The project looks set to develop a local, sustainable touring infrastructure for Early Years work and build strong and productive relationships.”
During the project Take Art will work in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate and also with key local theatres; The Brewhouse in Taunton; Bridgwater Arts Centre, The egg in Bath and Camberley Theatre in Surrey.
Hopper will start in January 2017, with a year of development and planning, followed by a three seasons of touring and performance.
Take Art is currently recruiting an experienced Project Manager to oversee the relationship between the Early Years settings and the companies. Click here to find out more. 
Hopper is launching a national call out to identify artists/companies interested in developing new shows. Please visit the Take Art website or click here for more information.

NRTF Conference 2017 Dates Announced

This year the East Midlands touring company New Perspectives and rural touring scheme manager of Northants Touring Arts co-host the conference on the leafy Nottingham University campus at Nottingham Lakeside Arts from Wednesday 28 – Thursday 29 June 2017.

The conference will feature curated sessions exploring NRTF’s priority areas for the next NPO period: e.g. Being Bold; New ways of working; Disability led work; Children and Young People; Spoken Word

Each session will individually curated to feature a mixture of performance extract, provocation and discussion.

A fresh approach to this year’s conference is designed to appeal to a wide mix of scheme managers, promoters, producers and artists and will feature the inaugural Rural Touring Awards. We will be inviting nominations very soon…

This two-day conference comes at a keen price with a full time places for members £145 which will include 1 night’s accommodation on campus at Cavendish Hall (good standard student ensuite facility), breakfast, lunches, dinner and refreshments plus full conference programme. PLUS we will be offering voluntary promoter / board member, special project worker bursaries with details announced when booking opens.

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday 28 – Thursday 29 June 2017

Booking will open shortly, in the meantime add the dates in your diaries, forward this information on to colleagues and interested parties from your area who will be interested in joining in the conversation.

We invite you to be bold and ready to explore new ideas, make new contacts, catch up with friends and colleagues, to celebrate, be inspired and hatch future plans!

See more about the venue:
Extend your stay:

Travelling to Nottingham
University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

By Train: The nearest train stations are Nottingham or Beeston. Taxis and Buses are available from both stations. It is approximately 15 minutes by Taxi.

By Tram: There is a direct tram service from Nottingham Train Station.

By Plane: The nearest airport is East Midlands Airport.  From East Midlands Airport you can take the Trent Barton Indigo service directly to the campus or the Skylink bus to Nottingham. Buses leave from outside the Airport Arrivals hall. You can also walk to the taxi rank on the terminal forecourt and take a direct taxi to the University. The cost of a single/one way journey is approximately £20.

By Car: Leave the M1 motorway at Junction 25 to join the A52 to Nottingham.  Follow the A52 for approximately 4 miles, at the Toby Carvery roundabout turn right onto the A6464, turn left at the next roundabout to enter the University’s West Entrance.

NRTF seeks New Chair

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) is a unique charity committed to driving new initiatives and widening audience access and engagement in the rural touring arts sector nationally.

Following nine years of outstanding stewardship the current Chair is stepping down and we are now seeking a new Chair to complement and strengthen our existing board and offer exceptional leadership, acting as a spokesperson and board chair, jointly steering the organisation through an exciting time of new projects and continued growth.

We are seeking an experienced outward facing professional with excellent communication skills and a passion for the arts in a rural and community context to lead this wide ranging membership organisation, harnessing the collective skills of our dynamic board.

As an equal opportunities and equal access organisation we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, race, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy or marital status.

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) is a registered charity, a limited company and receives funding as an Arts Council England national portfolio organisation. Governed by its members through a voluntary board of management, the NRTF works strategically with a range of partners to develop a national programme that delivers high quality artistic work and cultural experiences.

To apply please download this full role pack and apply using the application form. Available here.

 Introduction, Job Description and Person Specification  Context Document  Application Form

For more information on the company as well as current and past projects, please see and

If you would like an informal discussion about the role please contact: David Porter, Company Secretary by email

Deadline for applications: Monday 6th March 2017 at noon.

All applications will receive an acknowledgment by email. If you don’t receive one, please check your SPAM folder and / or contact us.

Shortlisted candidates will be notified by the end of March.

Interviews: date to be arranged

Please apply using the application form provided and send to using the subject NRTF board chair application “Your Name”.

Exciting times for Highlights North!

Highlights Rural Touring Scheme, which covers most of the three counties of the North of England (Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland), has recently enjoyed two pieces of good news.

Firstly, they’ve just announced their first commercial sponsorship deal and have also received funding in partnership with Arts Alive from the Arts Council’s Catalyst: Evolve programme.

H&H Reeds Printers, a Cumbrian based print and publishing firm, will support Highlights with promotional marketing and activities in 2017, including subsidising the production of their two seasonal brochures. 

Dene Marshall, Sales Director at H&H Reeds Printers said:  “The programme of events offers us the opportunity to support both Highlights and the arts across the North of England, and to showcase the type of work we produce.”  

Barbara Slack Co-Director at Highlights, said: “This, our first commercial partnership, is extremely important to us and marks a huge milestone. Like Highlights, H&H Reeds Printers serve a wide rural area, and have a strong community ethos.  With their support, we can continue to help village halls offer professional performances to rural communities.”

And thanks to an Arts Council award through the Catalyst: Evolve Programme, Highlights is also able to match pound for pound the support received from H&H Reeds and any future donations and sponsorship over the next 2 years.

The Evolve programme supports organisations with a limited track record in fundraising to enable them to attract more private giving. It does this by supporting organisations that have recently started fundraising to achieve step change in their ability to earn philanthropic income. 

Well done Highlights!

You can download Highlights’ spring 2017 brochure here

PRESS RELEASE: Spring Dance For Rural Tours

Dance of all kinds coming to a village hall near you as the Rural Touring Dance Initiative announces its new season:

Joan Cleville – Plan B for Utopia | 4-24 Feb

Spiltmilk – Blast From the Past | 16-18 Feb

Lila Dance – Deluge | 17 Feb – 8 Apr

Panta Rei – I Wish Her Well / Lullaby | 23-28 Feb / 6-12 Mar

Lost Dog – Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) | 12-20 May

Sonia Sabri – Salaam | 16 Mar – 5 May

Phoenix – ReFINED | 20-26 Mar

Full listings of all the shows and venues can be found here

Lost Dog – Paradise Lost (Lies Unopened Beside Me)

As slowly but surely the days begin to lengthen, it’s time to announce the latest programme of dance coming to village halls and community venues as part of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI). The spring season will bring dance styles from Kathak to Contemporary to rural communities around the UK.

New for Spring 2017 is Salaam, a new production from leaders in South Asian dance and music Sonia Sabri Company. Salaam revisits the roots of traditional Kathak and combines expressive and rhythmic dance with live music. One of the UK’s best-known touring contemporary dance companies, Phoenix Dance Theatre, will tour ReFINED, a new show based on the company’s repertoire of solos, duets, trios and quartets.

Several companies will return to the rural touring circuit this Spring following successful Autumn dates. Lost Dog will bring the critically acclaimed Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) to the North and Midlands, while Joan Cleville Dance continue to tour the playful and uplifting Plan B for Utopia, which combines dance and storytelling with a dose of humour.

Lila Dance’s immersive dance experience Deluge will see members of local communities perform alongside professional dancers as venues are transformed into evacuation centres, set up to tackle the aftermath of an imaginary disaster, and Spiltmilk will present Blast from the Past, a fast-paced race through seven decades of British pop culture.

Meanwhile Norwegian Dance Theatre Company Panta Rei will tour two productions: the moving I Wish Her Well, which draws on the stories of women closely related to the dancers, as well as the diaries of a sixteen year old girl; and Lullaby, which explores notions of masculinity, accompanied by live music.

Sonia Sabri – Salaam

Speaking about the shows, Claire Smith, Project Manager for the RTDI said “Working along side the myriad of rural touring schemes in the countryside, we will be presenting some of the most original contemporary dance companies in these exciting spaces, giving audiences the chance to experience top quality performance in the heart of their communities.”

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative is a three year scheme for making and touring dance performances to and for rural areas. Made possible by a grant from Arts Council England’s Lottery-funded Strategic Touring Programme, the initiative is led by National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF), which joined with dance institution The Place, arts charity Take Art and independent producing studio China Plate to deliver the scheme.

In Autumn 2017 the Rural Touring Dance Initiative will present its first show especially commissioned for village halls. The Keepers, created by acclaimed choreographer/director Ben Wright, is a seafaring story conceived for small spaces, told through dance and music.

Founded in 1997, the NRTF is a member-led organisation that works to deliver high quality art experiences that strengthen communities, providing the rural touring network with training, information and networking services as well as promoting better understanding of the rural touring network through research and advocacy.

@rural_dance | #ruraldance |

Rural Touring Dance Initiative: Second Menu Announced

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) have announced their second dance performance menu. 

The new menu, which has been sent out the all rural touring schemes features a new cohort of companies with work to be toured from September 2017 to May 2018. 

Lost Dog – Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me)Background
Last year the National Rural Touring Forum joined forces with The Place, Take Art and China Plate to launch a brand new three-year initiative designed to assist in the making and touring of contemporary accessible dance to rural areas. The project has been made possible by a grant from Arts Council England’s lottery funded Strategic Touring Programme.
So Far…
We were delighted by the response to the first Menu which was distributed in January 16 (covering autumn 16 and spring 17) We had expressions of interest from 99% of schemes and were able to programme 64 shows from the eight companies offered.
The initial response from schemes, promoters audiences and companies has been extremely positive. Thanks to everyone’s tenacity we exceeded our audience targets and are beginning to create an awareness in the dance world that Rural Touring is a great place to make work for…
New Work
Menu 2 contains eight shows being brought to the rural touring network for the very first time including world renowned choreographer Ben Wright’s brand new piece Keepers which is being made through 2017 in partnership with the RTDI as a result of our artist development programme.
75 companies applied through the call out this year from which we have chosen seven, including Joseph Toonga and The Hiccup Project, both of whom were part of New Directions in Falmouth. These companies were selected to offer a range of ‘ways into‘ dance, which we hope will help all schemes/promoters, irrespective of their past history of promoting dance to get inspired about programming it. Most companies have not toured rurally before so the RTDI has already invested resources from the project to ‘rural proof’ their approach to touring. While the cost and resourcing of the different pieces vary from company to company, the cost to schemes remains constant at around £600 per performance.
Highlights of Menu 1
As well as our amazing new shows, we’re bringing you a second opportunity to programme some of the fantastic work that went out in menu 1. Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me), Plan B for Utopia and May Contain Food, May Contain You are being offered again as we feel there is so much additional potential in these pieces. They are now ‘broken in’ tried and tested pieces so we are offering these with a straight subsidy of £200 per show.
We are really excited by the choice of companies on offer – we hope you will be too.
You can view the full RTDI second menu here.

INN CROWD: Call out for applications

INN CROWD is a programme of high quality live literature performances touring to rural pubs across the South East and East of England from 2016 – 2019.  It is intended to help reinforce pubs as central to rural community life by bringing exceptional cultural experiences to new audiences.

Applause Rural Touring and Creative Arts East are working with Pub is the Hub and artistic partners New Writing South and Writers’ Centre Norwich to deliver INN CROWD.
We are looking for three sorts of performances:
Ready-to-Go: shows, sets or performances that have already been developed, have already had runs or tours, have records of critical or audience feedback and are available for booking now.
Reshape: shows, sets or performances that have been fully or partially developed and can be reshaped to suit the Inn Crowd scheme with minimal additional development time and assistance from the Inn Crowd consortium. To tour Sept 2017 onwards.
Co-Production: ideas for new shows, sets or performances that can be developed with time and assistance from the Inn Crowd consortium. To tour Feb 2018 onwards
Performances can be suitable for adult or family audiences. Our expansive definition of Live Literature includes elements of theatre, poetry, spoken word, storytelling, literary adaptation, comedy, live art and audience participation …but the starting point for performances that we consider for this scheme must be written or composed text.
Ready-to- Go: artists fee ranging from £350 – £750 (inc VAT travel costs, equipment hire, accommodation and other expenses.) per booked performance
Reshape: up to £1,000 development budget + rehearsal space at Writers’ Centre Norwich and / or New Writing South in Brighton + artists fee ranging from £350 – £750 (inc VAT travel costs, equipment hire, accommodation and other expenses.) per booked performance
Co-Production: up to £3,000 development budget + rehearsal space at Writers’ Centre Norwich and / or New Writing South in Brighton artists fee ranging from £350 – £750 (inc VAT travel costs, equipment hire, accommodation and other expenses.) per booked performance
For more information and how to apply please visit