The National Rural Touring Forum is an organisation that networks, develops, supports delivery of high quality creative experiences across the UK. The aim of the Forum is to support the strengthening of communities to bring professional work to rural venues.


What does the NRTF do?
NRTF is a member network that advocates for the importance of rural arts and touring. It ebales channels of communication between the rural touring sector and those wanting to be a part of it. NRTF supports rural touring schemes to better support their promoters and artists. NRTF runs an annual conference and hold resources and toolkits for the benefit of its members. It also undertakes national research studies and strategic projects to enhance and explore areas of rural arts. NRTF is a registered charity and a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.

What is Rural Touring?
Rural touring is where professional performances take place in rural venues. These rural venues usually take the form of a village hall or community centre, but can also be pubs, libraries, and outdoors. They are rarely fully equipped arts venues. These performances are programmed by a rural touring scheme. Like with a traditional Arts Centre, these schemes will programme a varied season of events, but instead of all the events taking place in a couple of rooms in one building, they take place in lots of venues across a specific geographical area, sometimes whole counties or further.⠀

Does the NRTF programme tours/shows/artists?
No that is the job of schemes and their local promoters. To see a full break down of how rural touring works click here. (link to blog post)


What is a Rural Touring scheme?
Schemes, along with their promoters, programme each season and over see all the marketing and logistics that go on with any live arts event. They put together professionally curated programmes of events. They coordinate with artists to make sure that their shows technically fit in their venues.
Schemes take different shapes and sizes and often run other projects alongside their rural touring. But at the heart of them they are ensuring rural areas and audiences have access to high quality professional arts.

What is a scheme Menu?
Rural touring schemes work in partnership with venues and promoters to programme their seasons. This process begins with their menus. Schemes put together a menu of shows/artists for their promoters to choose from. These menus are curated by the scheme programmers so that they can offer a balance of art forms and ensure the quality of the work.

Is there a Rural Touring scheme near me?
You can find out by browsing our scheme members and looking at our map here.


What is a Rural Touring Promoter?
They are the ones who choose which shows they want to come to their venue. They are the ones who know and develop their audiences. They are the marketing department, and the box office. They are the programmer for their venue and the technical team. They are often also the bar staff, front of house and the fundraisers. They’re not always just one person, but they are usually volunteers who do all of this, not because it is their job as an arts professional but because they are passionate about making things happen in their rural communities.

How do I become a promoter?
If you have a space and are interested in hosting rural touring productions the best thing to do is look and see if you have a local schemes [Link to map]. If you have a local scheme then get in touch with them for more information and link ups. If there isn’t a scheme near you, you can still promote work see – I’m a rural venue but not a part of a scheme, can I join the NRTF?

I’m a rural venue but not a part of a scheme, can I join the NRTF?
Yes, we welcome all rural venues and promoters to join us, but we can’t offer the same financial or logistical support as your local scheme can. We have a map of all our scheme members here so you can find your nearest one. If there’s no scheme in your area, then we are happy to help in any way we can and you may want to email us for more support.

Does Rural Touring only happen in village halls?
No. Rural venues and their promoters come in all shapes and sizes! Our schemes work with pubs, community centres, schools, libraries, pubs, indoors, outdoors and even one or two fully equipped arts centres.


I’m an artist new to Rural Touring where should I start?
Right here: https://www.ruraltouring.org/resource/are-you-an-artist-new-to-rural-touring-start-here/

We’ve put together a page that collates all our resources and useful blog posts in one place just for you!

Is it all community theatre or plays about rural life?
NO! This is the biggest myth when it comes to rural touring!

How do I get my show booked?
If you are interested in rural touring there are a few ways to approach rural touring schemes, firstly to make sure you are suitable or appropriate to the individual schemes who are all very different (blanket emails normally don’t work).
Rural touring is competitive, make sure you do your research on the schemes and personalise emails accordingly. Stating why you have chosen their scheme specifically, say if you are a member of the NRTF, if you have RT experience and where.

How do I get involved in Rural Touring Dance initiative?
If you are a professional contemporary dance artist or company and want to be considered for a menu or be informed about when the next call out is please email dance@nrtf.org.uk

What is the financial deal for artists in Rural Touring?

How do I join the NRTF showcase?
Every year the NRTF presents a conference for the rural touring sector. As part of this conference there is a professionally programmed showcase. Work for the showcase comes recommended by rural touring schemes and related projects. Work is also found by programmers of rural touring work. There are approximately 12 showcases at each conference.

Our Mission

National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) will work strategically with partners to develop a programme that delivers high quality artistic work and cultural experiences, broadens and deepens audience engagement, and strengthens rural and other communities.

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