A Very Artsreach Christmas!

Festive online performances to enjoy at home this winter

Dorset’s touring arts charity, Artsreach, is excited to release details of its special Christmas gift to audiences across the County this winter; a series of performances available to enjoy online in the comfort of your own home; from Christmas classics and a seasonal celebration with a Dorset twist, to an interactive online murder mystery!

Celebrate the festive season with a mesmerising performance of Charles Dickens’ timeless, transformative story A Christmas Carol’, devised, adapted and performed especially for film by veteran Cornish actor and founder member of Kneehigh, David Mynne. Expect Dickens’ original words with added silliness. Silliness? Bah humbug! ‘A Christmas Carol’ is available to enjoy online anytime until midnight on Sunday 2 January. E-tickets are free but donations to Artsreach are welcomed.

Enjoy ‘A Dorset Christmas with The Ridgeway Singers and Band’ and hear the story of how our ancestors celebrated Christmas in this film which features music, song, story and dance. In December 2020 Artsreach was delighted to support The Ridgeway Singers and Band, led by Tim Laycock and Phil Humphries, to capture an alternative festive offering that’s truly inspired by Dorset! With tunes and songs from the Puddletown and Hinton St Mary manuscripts and new carols in the West Gallery tradition, interspersed with readings, archive photographs and other images from across Dorset, plus a special performance of ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night’, expect a heart-warming seasonal celebration of all things Dorset! Captured and edited by Pageant Productions, ‘A Dorset Christmas’ is available to watch anytime until midnight on Sunday 2 January. Again, e-tickets are free but donations to Artsreach are welcomed.

Finally, Sharp Teeth Theatre return after their runaway global hits, Sherlock In Homes I: Murder at The Circus and Sherlock In Homes II: Murder On Ice, with a brand new and better-than-ever online interactive murder mystery – Murder at the Games! On your marks, get set, go… to 1960 to solve a crime that will make your heart race. Could it be the chill of the cold war or the heat of the Italian sun? Zoom into Rome’s Olympic village to find out. You’ll interrogate the suspects and attempt to unmask a murder with your fellow audience members as you pit your wits against some of the UK’s most talented performers and improvisers. Only you can solve this case! Take part in this online murder mystery on Thursday 6 January at 2:30pm or 8pm. Advanced booking is required and e-tickets are £10 per device (not per person).

Artsreach Co-Director Kerry Bartlett said “Whilst we await the start of our brand new spring programme of live performances in rural communities, we are delighted to be able to spread some Christmas cheer to our audiences at home through this digital programme!”

E-tickets for all events are available from the Artsreach website, and whilst the events are free to view, donations to Artsreach are welcomed. For further information and to register, visit www.artsreach.co.uk

Recruiting NOW for the Pentabus Young Writers Groups

Pentabus Theatre Company’s ground-breaking Young Writers Group offers two free playwrighting programmes for young people aged 16-30 from rural areas. Participants will write a short play for a professional production. The National and Local groups both begin in January 2022, so no matter where you’re based, you can take part.

Each course offers a series of workshops, leading up to a professional production of work in the summer. The Young Writers will decide the subject of their play and work through different drafts with in-depth support and feedback from professional playwrights, actors, directors and designers.

Pentabus Artistic Director Elle While said: ‘I can’t wait to be inspired by the voices of the next generation of Pentabus’ Young Writers who will be participating in our Local and National playwriting courses. Invigorating and dynamic new writing is at the heart of our organisation and bringing the Young Writers’ work to life in professional productions is one of the highlights of the Pentabus Programme.’

The Local Group will be run through a combination of online evening sessions and in-person weekend sessions in Hereford. The course tutors are Florence Espeut-Nickless (Pentabus Writer in Residence) and Ant Stones (Associate Playwright for Guildford Shakespeare Company). The National Group will be take place via a series of online evening session, run by Tom Powell (Pentabus Writer in Residence 2020), alongside Ant Stones. 

No previous experience of playwrighting is necessary. This programme is aimed at young people who may not even know they’re writers yet.

Former Young Writer Ruth Cowell said: “It’s been the push I needed to stop waiting for permission to consider myself an artist or a writer. Having the support of Pentabus has really changed how I view my place in the industry and given me the self-confidence to make my own work and opportunities.”

Contact youngcompany@pentabus.co.uk to register your interest or for more information.

Digital Resources


Twitter: @pentabustheatre | Facebook: www.facebook.com/pentabustheatre  Instagram : pentabustheatrecompany   YouTube: www.youtube.com/pentabustheatre

Live & Local: Developing Artists in Rural Touring day for Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Artists

  • Are you or do you consider yourself to be a professional arts organisation or performer?
  • Do you ideally live or work in either Lincolnshire or Nottinghamshire or have strong links to either or both counties?
  • Have you considered rural touring?

Live and Local, through its Developing Artists in Rural Touring (DART) programme, is looking to find and support artists interested in rural touring.

We are running a whole day for performing artists and arts organisation to find out about opportunities to tour performances in rural locations with Live & Local. At the event you will get to meet our friendly and helpful staff, meet performers and promoters as well as having an opportunity to tell us about yourselves. We are prioritising those artists who work or are based in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. You could be a musician, dancer, spoken word artist or theatre maker.

Details of the Day

  • Tuesday 8th February 2022
  • Venue – Newark Civil War Centre
  • Time 10.00 to 4pm for a 10.30 start.

We will fund each company (up to 12) £200 to come along and we’ll treat you to lunch and tea and coffee too.

How can I be part of this?

Apply by completing the application form by Friday 14th Jan at 5pm. You will need to be available on the 8th February to apply.

For more information and to download the application form please go to the link Jobs at Live & Local (liveandlocal.org.uk)

What is the selection process?

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Links to one of both counties
  • Artistic quality
  • Interest in rural touring

Please also feel free to email Steve Wilson, Artist Engagement Officer,  Steve@liveandlocal.org.uk if you have any questions.

What happens after the programme?

We will be looking to support those organisations/individuals further through mentoring support with the aim for you to be able to have a show ready for rural touring.

About Live & Local

Live & Local is an arts organisation with more than 20 years’ experience of touring professional performing arts into rural communities. From its base in Warwick, it has grown to serve 8 counties, being: Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire. We currently programme about 500 shows a year in 300 rural locations. Take a look around the website to find out more.

New Applause Summer Menu 2022

Applause has commissioned fifteen performing companies to tour fetes, festivals and outdoor events across Kent, Sussex and the wider region for summer 2022. With new commissions, as well as a selection of some of the best ready-made outdoor touring shows, the new offerings include puppetry, dance, circus, interactive poetry, music and walkabout shows. These shows are engaging and highly entertaining for all ages – perfect for getting the community creative outdoors. 

Click here to view the menu for summer 2022.

Live Literature Artist Call Out

INN CROWD is looking for ready-to-go live literature shows to offer to rural pubs from January 2022!

If you have a ready-made show that can be performed in small or unusual spaces, requires little or no tech to run, and you’re able to be flexible about working in pub environments, we’d love to see an application from you.

We are looking for exceptional, exciting, Live Literature shows that are adaptable to the needs of small, rural pubs that are often inexperienced at holding performances. The emphasis is on quality and fun because the promoters and venues work hard to make these performances happen, so they deserve it, as do their audiences.

Deadline – 14th December 12:00 

Click here for more information and how to apply

North Devon dance film selected for Los Angeles film festival

BURNOUT’, a dance film rehearsed by eighteen young North Devon dancers over Zoom during 2021’s lockdown, has been selected for the 2021 Los Angeles Dance Shorts film festival. Taking place in person in Los Angeles on 13th November and online 13th-19th November, the festival attracts entries from across the world. Last year’s festival featured films from countries including Korea, Ghana, Brazil, Mexico, and the USA. 

We’re thrilled to be one of only 18 dance films from across the world selected for the 2021 LA Dance Shorts film festival,” said Claire Ayres, Creative Producer at Beaford. “It’s incredibly exciting to think that our four minute film, which delivers important messaging and is the product of seven months of hard work, will actually be screened in LA! We’re taking this dance style back to its roots, and with it a piece of North Devon.’ 

BURNOUT was conceived by leading London hip hop theatre artist Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash, an expert in the Krump style of street dance which originated in South Central LA. The danceform enabled the young North Devon dancers to express the frustrations they felt during lockdown; the post-lockdown filming on Woolacombe Beach was their first opportunity to perform Joshua’s work together. 

It was incredible working with the young people over Zoom to choreograph a film which has been born directly out of the pandemic,” said Joshua Nash. “The film is a real celebration of people coming back together, difference and how we can all start to look ahead after a difficult year.” 

BURNOUT was commissioned by Beaford, England’s longest-established rural arts initiative, and the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) – a ground-breaking national partnership bringing the best in contemporary UK dance to rural audiences.

This was a great collaboration. Extremely talented dance artists working alongside community participants  to create something of high quality”, said Claire Smith, Director of the RTDI. “This opportunity came at the right time for the young people and the artists – it gave a crucial outlet for expression to rurally isolated  young people and a much needed chance for Josh and his dance artists to be creative whilst they were all  negotiating the pandemic.” 

The film was directed by Gemma Pons Alsina, who lives in Croyde, North Devon. Gemma’s other dance films, filmed outdoors in the globally significant natural environment of North Devon’s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, have attracted over 100,000 views. 

When people watch and value the effort you’ve put in to your creative work, it’s very fulfilling. BURNOUT is the result of good teamwork and being selected for the LA Dance Shorts film festival is a great success!”, said Gemma. 

Applause Call Out For Artists

Applause is pleased to announce that our 2022 Outdoor season commission programme is now open.

If you are a company / artist with an established interest and track record of working outdoors and interactively this could be the opportunity for you.

Applause Rural Touring works with artists and communities to bring exceptional arts to familiar local spaces. Every year Applause commissions new shows to tour alongside some returning favourites. These shows are developed especially for outdoor events and offers these professional, exciting and unique performances to a range of promoters including small village fetes and community events, as well as larger established events and festivals.

Want to take part?

Your work will entertain and engage a diverse audience, be self-sufficient (i.e. not require technical or other support / involvement by the host organisation) and be able to be accessed by all. Performances can be walk about, static productions (of no more than 25 minutes in length), installations or interactive events and are intended to suit a range of time frames and to slot into existing activities. You will be expected to perform up to three times in a day.

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals or companies, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, social background, religion and/or belief.

Commissions and Reshape/Development Awards

To tour alongside our previously commissioned work, we are looking to support up to 6 new shows to be created for touring in 2022.

All ideas are welcome, including but not limited to work that responds to key cultural events that are happening in 2022 (i.e. Platinum Jubilee, Commonwealth Games) and work that includes community engagement in the development process.

Click here to download the full brief including fees

Deadline – end of day Friday 8th October

Black Country Touring is seeking a Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Deadline Extended 15th Octboer

Black Country Touring (BCT) addresses the lack of opportunities for local people to access theatre, dance and film across Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Dudley. We operate an urban touring scheme for live theatre, dance and film, make productions and projects born out of diverse stories of local life and empower and upskill children and young people through our work in schools. 

All of BCT’s work is focused on creating opportunities for local people of all backgrounds and ages to be actively involved in programming, promoting and creating a diverse range of performances and events.

Collaborative working is key to everything that we do and this is also integral to how we work as a team – sharing ideas, being open to possibilities and supporting each other in achieving our goals.

The ideal candidate for this role will be dynamic, agile and enthusiastic about engaging audiences who are often under-served by arts and culture. They will be an engaging storyteller, a visual thinker and a natural collaborator, who understands, and is able to harness, the latest trends in social media and online culture. This is a new role within the organisation: an exciting opportunity to shape and evolve the role, grow our reach online and support the development of our emerging and innovative digital programme. 

Previous marketing and communications experience is not a requirement: we will consider your transferable skills, experience and enthusiasm. 

BCT is committed to developing a more diverse workforce. We actively encourage applications from people who are currently underrepresented in the cultural sector and are representative of the diverse communities of the Black Country, specifically people from Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse backgrounds as well as people who identify as (d)Deaf, Disabled and/or LGBTQ+. We guarantee an interview to anyone who identifies as one or more of the above, who meets the skills and experience criteria in the job description.

Full Time (37.5 hours per week), permanent, hybrid working (a mix of at home and at the office)

Salary: £23,080 – £24,982 depending on experience

For more information about the role and to apply, visit: https://bctouring.co.uk/vacancies/

Deadline is Friday 1st October 2021

Rural dance returns: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Autumn

Rural dance returns: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Autumn

Rural Touring Dance Initiative brings dance back to rural venues with a programme of seven works from leading dance companies comprising new shows and returning favourites.

  • Mr & Mrs Clark – Louder is Not Always Clearer 23 Sep – 25 Nov
  • Sonia Sabri Company – Same Same…But Different 1 Oct – 14 Nov
  • Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash – Blacklist/Fig Leaf 6 Oct – 14 Nov
  • Scottish Dance Theatre – Antigone, Interrupted 7 – 15 Oct
  • Jo Fong and George Orange – The Rest of Our Lives 21 Oct – TBC
  • Edifice – Salomé 27 – 30 Oct
  • Chris Patfield & José Triguero – Gibbon 12 – 13 Nov

A fresh selection of shows covering ageing, masculinity, Greek myths and table tennis, created by dance companies after an open call-out which attracted more than 70 applications, is set to take to village halls and rural venues across the UK this Autumn. The shows have been put through a rigorous selection process by the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, and have been selected by local promoters from ‘menus’ which enable them to choose the work that best suits their venue. They represent an incredibly diverse canon of work that offers a very current and exciting view of what contemporary dance can be, and in small rural spaces where you wouldn’t expect to find it. As well as selected pieces, the menu will include specially commissioned works Antigone Interrupted from choreographer Joan Clevillé for Scottish Dance Theatre, and The Rest of Our Lives from Jo Fong and George Orange. The initiative, which aims to find new audiences for dance and making the art form accessible to everyone by presenting in local spaces, is a partnership between the National Rural Touring Forum, The Place, China Plate and Take Art.

Ralph Lister from Take Art said on behalf of RTDI: “After all the disruption and uncertainty of the last 18 months, we are delighted to once again be offering a full live programme. We know rural audiences and artists enjoy the intimacy and shared experience of rural touring and look forward to many more memorable shows. Many shows were postponed in 2020 and earlier in 2021; during this tough time we supported RTDI artists through a programme shared digitally and provided them with ongoing support to bring us to this exciting moment.”

A young girl ready to die to defend what she thinks is right. A king determined to impose his will as the rule of law. Commissioned by the RTDI and presented by Scottish Dance Theatre, Antigone, Interrupted re-imagines the 2,500 year-old Greek myth for the modern world through the body and the voice of a single performer. From the team that brought you Plan B for Utopia and The North, this new work by choreographer Joan Clevillé packs all the drama, passion and big ideas of a Greek tragedy into a one-woman tour de force by acclaimed performer Solène Weinachter. 

Also specially commissioned by RTDI, The Rest of Our Lives by Jo Fong and George Orange is a cabaret of life – and near death. Jo is an old dancer, George an old clown. They’ve both reached the mid-way point of their lives, and now they’re wondering, what next? Armed with a soundtrack of floor-fillers, a book of raffle tickets and a sprinkling of eco-friendly glitter, they joyfully negotiate middle-life together with humour, tenderness and outlandish optimism. There will be table tennis!

Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash is known as one of the UK’s leading Krump dancers, a highly athletic form of street dance characterised by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movement. He presents a double bill of shows for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. Blacklist is an explosive piece asking how we cope with inner conflict, which delves into brotherhood, isolation and friendship explored through hip hop, Krump and theatre. Fig Leaf questions what it means to be a man, and when masculinity becomes toxic. Joshua and RTDI recently released short film Burnout which explores the struggles of today’s youth, especially in light of the pandemic’s enforced isolation. Set in London and the stunning rural North Devon coast, with three professional adult dancers and eighteen youth dancers, Burnout highlights the importance of connecting with the natural environment and can be viewed here: http://www.ruraltouring.org/burnout/ 

EDIFICE Dance Theatre’s thrilling new take on Oscar Wilde’s classic Salomé takes audiences on an extraordinary journey into a world of rejection and religion, lust and death. Through their unique hybrid language, which combines live classical music, ballroom, Latin and contemporary dance, choreographer-dancer duo Carmine De Amicis and Harriet Waghorn tell the tragic story of the Biblical princess in a completely unique way

Same Same…But Different from Sonia Sabri Company is a fun family show about our curiosities and fears, the times we feel different and when we belong. Blending Kathak, hip hop and beatboxing styles, three performers create a playful, colourful world celebrating our individuality, diversity and the bonds which connect us all.

Returning to the rural touring circuit in autumn, Louder Is Not Always Clearer from Mr & Mrs Clark is a funny and honest portrayal of difference and empathy. Meet Jonny. He loves to dance, but he can’t hear the music unless the bass is turned right up. Jonny was born deaf and grew up in a hearing family, surrounded by hearing friends who did not use the word deaf. In a hearing world Jonny is different and Louder Is Not Always Clearer highlights those differences in a warm and humorous way.

Also returning is Gibbon, from breakout juggling stars Chris Patfield & José Triguero, a humorous and surreal show combining mesmerising juggling with dance and physical theatre. Together they explore the absurd and comedic in what it is that drives us to try and try again. Lifting the veil on the rehearsal room Gibbon shows how two charming performers work at working as one.

Speaking about the forthcoming season Christina Elliot, Senior Producer and RTDI partner from The Place, said “We have been delighted with the enthusiasm with which venues and audiences have embraced dance through this project. This enthusiasm is matched by the artists taking part. In many cases it has been a revelation of what touring can be – warm welcomes, open minds and hearts, and an intimate connection and conversation between an audience and the work on stage. In those moments when the magic of live performance is palpable, it’s clear that, despite the different priorities and challenges we might juggle, we – artists, promoters, programmers, producers – are all working towards this same uniquely special moment.”     

In 2015 The National Rural Touring Forum joined forces with The Place, China Plate and Take Art to launch a brand-new initiative designed to assist in the making and touring of contemporary accessible dance to rural areas. The project was set up to address the paucity of dance performance happening in rural areas in smaller community venues.  The project has been made possible by a grant from Arts Council England’s Lottery funded Strategic Touring Programme. Due to RTDI successes in November 2017 the project was given a further £417k to develop the project until 2021. Over 160 performances have taken place to date along with numerous workshops and training opportunities for artists. 

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative is a partnership project led by The National Rural Touring Forum with The Place, China Plate and Take Art. The project is funded by Arts Council England through its Strategic Touring Fund. The Rest of Our Lives is supported by Arts Council of Wales

Please note dates may be subject to change, please contact local schemes for confirmed details

NRTF Member Meetings

This year, NRTF will be holding 3 different kinds of online sessions to share expertise, answer questions and open up conversations. 

What Next? Rural

Quarterly meetings open to members and non members, with guest speakers focusing on a different topic each time. These will take place on the last Tuesday of the month at 2pm on:

28th March – Focusing on Equality

26th September – Focusing on Sustainability

28th November – Focusing on Inspiration

Date to be announced – Focusing on Research

Member Drop-Ins

Starting from April, the first Tuesday of every month at 9:30am, NRTF Members will be able to Drop-In on Zoom and ask any questions face to (virtual) face. 

NRTF Open Spaces

These will be more informal sessions for artists, promoters and schemes, we will have specific meetings for each group to bring their questions for discussion. These ones will also take place on a Tuesday at 2pm on:

28th February – Schemes with Holly

8th June – Schemes with Holly

25th July – Artists with Hattie

24th October – Schemes with Holly

31st October – Promoters and Venues with Jess

Where are they taking place?

NRTF members will be emailed directly with a Zoom link for NRTF Open Spaces and Member Drop-Ins.
Our What’s Next? Rural sessions are open to non-members too, if you are not a member and wish to join those sessions you just need to email admin@nrtf.org.uk to let us know, all members will receive the link too.

If you are not a member but would like to be, you can join NRTF here.

MonthWhatWhenWho can attend
FebruaryNRTF Open SpaceTues 28 Feb at 2pmMembers – Schemes
MarchWhat Next? RuralTues 28 Mar at 2pmEveryone
AprilMember Drop-InTues 4 April at 9:30amAll Members
MayMember Drop-InTues 2 May at 9:30amAll Members
JuneMember Drop-In
NRTF Open Space
Tues 6 June at 9:30am
Thurs 8 June at 11am
All Members
Members – Schemes
JulyMember Drop-InTues 4 July at 9:30amAll Members
JulyNRTF Open SpaceTues 25 July at 2pmMembers – Artists
SeptemberMember Drop-InTues 5 Sept at 9:30amAll Members
SeptemberWhat Next? RuralTues 26 Sept at 2pmEveryone
OctoberMember Drop-InTues 3 Oct at 9:30amAll Members
OctoberNRTF Open SpaceTues 24 Oct at 2pmMembers – Schemes
OctoberNRTF Open SpaceTues 31 Oct at 2pmMembers – Venues/Promoters
NovemberMember Drop InTues 7 Nov at 9:30amAll Members
NovemberWhat Next? RuralTues 28 Nov at 2pmEveryone