Environmental Sustainability of Rural Touring – Study

The National Rural Touring Forum are working with Julie’s Bicycle to gather information on the environmental sustainability of rural touring. This is the biggest survey on this topic that Julies Bicycle or NRTF have ever done!

This survey should provide us with details on the current impacts of rural touring, the ability for venues, artists and schemes to improve the sustainability of their practice and highlight any support which is needed to help our members with this.

NRTF are asking members to provide data from your last two touring seasons, it would be very helpful if you could specify the dates of your seasons when asked at the beginning of the survey. Please provide as much data as possible but don’t worry if there are gaps or missing data.

NRTF Director, Holly Lombardo “I am so delighted to be partnering with Julies Bicycle on this exploration. It is the first time we have been able to, not only look at what data is collected nationally, but also explore what it is telling us about our sector specifically”

Project Goals

Aim 1) of the exploration is to see what data is submitted, see what is missing, and see which methodologies we can use to get the data we need to tell our story successfully
Aim 2) see if there is a way to calculate a carbon footprint approximation
Aim 3) to have the knowledge evidence and tools to use to make a case for our sustainability
Aim 4) to explore a green charter and methods of increasing our sustainability and environmental responsibility response

Link to the survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/79QPHMW

About Julies Bicycle

Julie’s Bicycle is a pioneering not-for-profit, mobilising the arts and culture to take action on the climate and ecological crisis.
Founded by the music industry in 2007 and now working across the arts and culture, JB has partnered with over 2000 organisations in the UK and internationally. Combining cultural and environmental expertise, Julie’s Bicycle focuses on high-impact programmes and policy change to meet the climate crisis head-on.

Passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

All at the National Rural Touring Forum are greatly saddened by the death of Her Majesty the Queen.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the King and the Royal Family.

A statement from Arts Council England – A statement on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II | Arts Council England

A statement from SOLT / UK Theatre – Updated statement from Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre – SOLT

A statement from FST – Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96 – Federation of Scottish Theatre

A statement from Arts Council Wales – Advice and guidance following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 8 September 2022 | Arts Council of Wales

A statement from Arts Council Northern Ireland Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II | Arts Council of Northern Ireland (artscouncil-ni.org)

NRTF Annual General Meeting Notice 2022

The AGM of the National Rural Touring Forum will take place on Thursday 4 October 2022, 11 am – 12 noon (approx), Online via Zoom (link will be sent to members of NRTF 1 day Prior).

Zoom Link: TBC

Minutes for 2021 AFM can be found here – https://www.dropbox.com/s/vpkpsr0mc0t3mlo/AGM%20NRTF%202021%20-%20MINUTES.pdf?dl=0

Report and Annual Account Draft 2022 – https://www.dropbox.com/s/hwj6t06k7v72qjn/NRTF%20end%20of%20year%20report%20and%20accounts%202022%20DRAFT.pdf?dl=0

AGM Agenda

  1. Meeting open
  2. Attendance & Apologise
  3. Minutes of last AGM
  4. Matters arising from the minutes
  5. Annual Trustee Report
  6. Annual Accounts
  7. Appointment of auditors: Re-appoint Aspley’s, 21 Bampton Street, Tiverton EX16 6AA
  8. AOB
  9. Close Meeting

Dance in rural areas given green light as third phase of Rural Touring Dance Initiative receives national funding

Partnership between National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF), The Place, Take Art and new partners Highlights and Sonia Sabri Company awarded funding of £400,000 from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and £450,000 from Arts Council England

I Infinite by Tom Dale Company
RTDI 3 image I Infinite by Tom Dale Company Photographer Rachel Bunce

Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI), a sector-defining partnership that brings high quality dance to rural audiences across the UK, has been awarded national funding of £400,000 from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and £450,000 from Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants. These two funding awards will ensure RTDI continues its important work over the next four years, building on its success by working with and supporting more rural touring schemes, venues and dance artists across England, Wales and Scotland.

As well as supporting 10 new associate venues to programme dance in rural areas and market towns, many of them in Levelling Up for Culture places, the funding will enable RTDI to support eight dance artists & companies per year to tour their work to rural areas, with over 200 performances and 90 workshops expected between autumn 2023 and summer 2026.

RTDI was launched in 2015 when The Place, National Rural Touring Forum, China Plate and Take Art joined forces to address the lack of quality dance in rural spaces. From the start, RTDI has introduced some of the UK’s top dance companies to rural touring including Ben Duke’s Lost Dog, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein, Uchenna Dance, Tom Dale Company, Scottish Dance Theatre, Mr & Mrs Clark, Jo Fong and George Orange, and Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash.

The Place is delighted that Arts Council England and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation have recognised the importance of RTDI in the dance and rural touring ecologies with these significant grants. RTDI has had a transformative effect on the dance artists who have toured through the programme during the first six years. They tell us how much they enjoy the welcome they receive from rural audiences and how it now influences their approach to making, touring and talking about their work. We look forward to more magical moments of brilliant dance across the UK for another four years.” Christina Elliot, Senior Producer, The Place

NRTF is honoured to have played a founding role in an initiative that has continued to develop audience connection to dance performances, alongside introducing the magic of rural and community touring to professional artists. We are excited for this next phase and can’t wait to see more amazing work in extraordinary places. Thank you to our funders for enabling this initiative to happen.” Holly Lombardo, Director, NRTF

The first phase of the project, RTDI 1, ran from 2015-2018 and was made possible by a grant from Arts Council England’s Lottery funded Strategic Touring Programme. Due to its successes, in November 2017 the project was given a further £417,000 to develop a second phase of the project which ran until 2021.

Over the years RTDI has transformed UK rural dance touring. An evaluation report of the project’s second phase published in 2022, highlighted that 98% of audiences enjoyed watching the performances, with 88% saying the experience made them want to see more dance, demonstrating demand for high quality touring dance.

It is hard to put into words how special rural touring is. It is almost like visiting family you haven’t yet met.” – Artist, from the RTDI 2 evaluation report.

RTDI 3 will build on the lessons of the past two phases. RTDI 3 is anticipated to run from 2023-2026, and will see new partnerships with Highlights, a rural touring scheme working across the north of England, and Sonia Sabri Company, a Birmingham-based dance company presenting Kathak dance in a contemporary context.

RTDI 3 call out

Today, the partners announced a call out for artists to take part in RTDI. Artists with dance performances available to tour in autumn 2023 and spring 2024 are invited to apply via The Place’s website before 8 September 2022.

Artists will be supported through residencies in rural and community spaces, such as village halls, and via bursaries to adapt their existing pieces for rural touring, to develop the accessibility of their work, and to tour in an environmentally sustainable way.

For more information about RTDI, visit: Rural Touring Dance Initiative – NRTF

Call out for artists to apply to RTDI 3: https://theplace.org.uk/opportunities/rural-touring-dance-initiative-call-out-for-artists

Boost! Touring Lab

Applause are pleased to launch Boost! , a free, two-day residential training and development Lab.

The purpose of this Lab is to upskill and prepare artists and choreographers/devisers working in contemporary dance, krump, hip hop, kathak, bharatanatyam – or contemporary circus who are interested in extending their work to outdoors or developing their understanding of the outdoor touring sector. This Lab forms part of Applause’s ongoing commitment to support global majority led performance and broaden the range of work currently on offer for small-scale touring environments.

The two and a half day Lab will include a varied programme of workshops, seminars and creative tasks in order to expand participants’ development and thinking in different contexts. It will feature contributions from sector organisations as well as practical performance workshops from theatre, dance and circus companies successfully making work for these contexts.

Priority will be given to artists from minority ethnic and migrant backgrounds who are working in the Creative Estuary region of North Kent and South Essex. However, Applause would also like to hear from underrepresented artists who may be working outside the CE region but are based in the Southeast.

Boost! is an Applause and Creative Estuary Co-commission in collaboration with 101 Creation Space and Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch.

Applause is an ACE funded National Portfolio Organisation based in Kent that has developed a highly successful outdoor touring scheme for rural locations and semi-urban communities. Each year they support artists to create and tour small scale shows across their network of volunteer hosts and festival promoters in Kent, East and West Sussex, Essex and the wider region.

Details of Lab: Mon 12 – Wed 14 September

The Lab will be fully catered with two nights’ accommodation at a local hotel in Hornchurch. We have ten places available in single occupancy rooms. We would also welcome applications from local artists who are able to attend without an accommodation requirement.

Click this link for more information and to apply.

Ragged Edge Productions are seeking new Trustees

Ragged Edge Productions are seeking new Trustees to increase the skills, knowledge and lived experience of our Board and to support our work in the years ahead.

While we are keen to hear from anyone with an interest in developing work in Cumbria and rural touring more generally, we particularly encourage applications from people with disability, people from culturally and socio-economically diverse backgrounds, young people and people who identify as LGBTQIA+.

We are also specifically seeking candidates with these skills:

  • Community based projects
  • Press and communications including digital marketing
  • Growing organisations
  • We are also open to what you might like to offer us!

About Ragged Edge Productions

Ragged Edge is an award-winning theatre company making entertaining and engaging shows which take a fresh look at current issues and ideas. We celebrate the power and creativity of theatre with quality shows at a time when funding for the arts is scarce. We take theatre to places on the edge of arts provision, in our countryside, towns and cities.

In its work Ragged Edge recognises that the local delivery of live performing arts is really important in maintaining the quality of life in a thriving rural community. It provides access to the arts for those that may not have the means to travel (particularly important in economically challenging times). We aim to be relevant to and appeal to rural communities and their culture.

We produce work for rural touring as well as theatres and community spaces. Recent activity includes a range of Audio Adventures – both professional performances and participatory projects working with community groups.

The Role of the Trustee

Ragged Edge is a registered charity (no. 1164255). The Trustees are legally responsible for the organisation. As a Trustee, you will help ensure that Ragged Edge complies with its governing documents and legal requirements, as well as supporting the company’s work. You will bring an external perspective and help the organisation in a way that suits your skills. You will act as an ambassador for Ragged Edge. There are four Trustee meetings each year, usually held in Cumbria but we have also met via Zoom. Take a look at the Ragged Edge Website here: https://raggededgeproductions.co.uk

For an informal chat about being a Trustee please get in touch with Stefan Escreet, Artistic Director StefanEscreet@raggededgeproductions.co.uk Or Heather Askew, Chair of Trustees heatheraskew27@hotmail.com

To apply please send a CV and covering letter to Stefan Escreet, Artistic Director StefanEscreet@raggededgeproductions.co.uk by 15 th August 2022.

Pentabus Launch 2022 Season
Plus Announce their New Associate Artist

Today Pentabus announce their 2022 Season which features a new commission touring in the autumn, the return of Pentabus Young Writers live production and three new digital projects including full length pieces written by their two most recent Clive Richards Foundation Writers-in-Residence.

  • Back to the Light by Pentabus Young Writers, nine new short plays which will be showcased at the Courtyard Hereford on 12 and 13 July 2022.
  • Little Bits of Ruined Beauty a new play by Tom Wentworth, commissioned with Unlimited and touring the West Midlands this autumn.
  • Two new digital theatre pieces written by the most recent Pentabus Writers-in-Residence – DESTINY by Florence Espeut-Nickless and The Silence & the Noise by Tom Powell, a co-production with Rural Media.
  • I’m Here, five new short digital commissions including the winner of the inaugural Pentabus Young Writers Alumni award.
  • For two weeks only, from Friday 24 June, free access to watch the live capture of Matt Hartley’s Idyll which toured outdoor venues across the West Midlands and the Marches to critical and audience acclaim in summer 2021.
  • Ten professionally produced new audio dramas written by Pentabus Young Writers National Group, to be released in September 2022.

In addition to this smorgasbord of new work, Melina Barnett joins Karishma Balani, Izzy Rabey, Sophie Stone, Anoushka Warden, Ross Willis, and Young Associates Callum Beardmore and Ruth Cowell, as a Pentabus Associate Artist.

Elle While, Pentabus Artistic Director said: ‘This season is full of hope and conversation and celebration as we step forward together in these challenging times. We are championing some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights to tell stories that will reach across generations and cultures to bring people together.’

For press enquiries please contact Catrin John – catrin@pentabus.co.uk or Verity Overs Morrell – verity@pentabus.co.uk
Pentabus.co.uk | Youtube: PentabusTheatre | Instagram: Pentabustheatrecompany
Facebook: PentabusTheatre | Twitter: @pentabustheatre

National Rural Touring Forum seeks new Trustees for its Board

Would you like to shape creative opportunities for rural areas?

National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) is looking for new Trustees, including a Treasurer, for its Board of Directors.

This is a fantastic opportunity to bring your skills, knowledge, experience and passion for the arts to a national charity that supports creative work in communities around the UK.

Could you contribute in one or more of these areas?

  • rural, community and/or youth work;
  • artistic leadership and/or practice;
  • data systems and/or digital media;
  • disability practice;
  • environmental sustainability;
  • finance/fundraising.

We are particularly looking to recruit people of colour, who are LGBTQIA+, disabled, younger and/or from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

You don’t have to have been a trustee before to apply. If you have the skills, knowledge and experience we need, we will support you through training and mentorship if needed.

The closing date for expressions of interest is 7 August.

Link to Trustee Recruitment Pack

Link to Plain Text Recruitment Pack

Applause launch Autumn 2022/Spring 2023 menu

Applause are excited to launch their newly chosen indoor shows for Autumn 2022/Spring 2023.


The line-up for Autumn 2022 – Spring 2023 touring is filled with theatre, family shows, puppetry, dance, music and more! With some returning favourite companies as well as some exciting new artists.


Click here for more information, and to see the current offering of shows from Summer 2022 – Spring 2023.

Carn to Cove new leadership for rural touring

Following the recent departure of Tim Smithies from the leadership of Cornwall’s rural touring scheme, Creative Kernow have promoted Claire Marshall to take on the Director’s role. Claire has worked closely with Tim since 2006 and has been deputising for him since 2019.

Since its formation 20 years ago, Carn to Cove has grown from 6 villages to encompassing with C Fylm more than 100 active communities and 350 volunteers putting on events all over Cornwall.  Since 2013, Carn to Cove has been joined by C Fylm, the network of community film clubs that run throughout Cornwall, and Claire will work closely with Imogen Weatherly, to develop an amazing programme of live events and screenings.

Creative Kernow Chief Executive Fiona Wotton paid tribute to Tim Smithies and Claire Marshall’s work developing and with leading the scheme, “Together Tim and Claire have achieved fantastic reach into communities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly bringing high quality cultural experiences of regional, national and international significance.”

Claire spoke of her delight in being able to continue to deliver the amazing work of the rural touring scheme in Cornwall, and grow the schemes national and international credentials: “It’s such a privilege to work with all the performing artists, all the volunteers and promoters scattered all over Cornwall who love making things happen in their communities, and the audiences who support the event”.