NRTF is a membership led organisation with two types of membership: Full Rural Touring Schemes and Associate Members. Touring schemes vary enormously: The most widespread model is the independent, not for profit company, usually with charitable status. Associate Members are individuals and organisations with an interest in promoting professional arts with rural communities and include performers, companies, promoters, small venues, festivals and producers.

Touring Schemes

Touring schemes vary enormously: The most widespread model is the independent, not for profit company, usually with charitable status; some schemes form part of local authority arts provision and others are based on a contractual relationship with a service provider. In some counties rural touring is managed, on behalf of a consortia of local authorities by arts consultancy companies or by freelance administrators.

Many of the touring scheme members applied successfully to become part of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

For some the promotion of community based shows is the main or only activity: For others touring support is a cornerstone of a much wider arts programme which may include participatory work, issue base programmes artists’ residencies and much more.

Although touring schemes vary enormously, they are all concerned with helping local people, financially and otherwise to promote professional arts in community spaces. Each scheme offers a range of arts events at an affordable price to a network of voluntary promoters. These volunteers then promote and sell tickets for each event in their own village, nurturing their audience and building confidence in the quality of what is on offer.

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Associate Membership

Who are our Members?

Rural touring wouldn’t happen without high quality performers who enjoy the unique nature of a rural tour. Exciting and unpredictable, rural touring demands commitment and openness. It can offer a closeness that can be elusive in larger venues. It places the connection between artist and audience at the heart of the experience – where it belongs.

Voluntary Promoters
Most villages have a village hall committee planning activities for their community. Many villages have a handful of enthusiastic volunteers or a passionate individual who wish to see high-quality arts events taking place in their village. These are the local voluntary promoters and they are at the heart of rural touring.

Venues and Festivals
Rural Touring happens in many ways and across the country there are a growing number of small and medium-scale rural and community venues and festivals that promote high-quality arts events. Venues used for rural touring and festivals include village halls, churches, outdoor spaces, the local school, pubs and arts centres. Increasingly touring schemes, voluntary promoters, small venues and festivals are working together to ensure artist and companies reach as much of the country as possible.

A growing number of producers are working with artists, companies, venues, promoters and touring schemes to develop new, high-quality work specifically for rural and small scale touring. NRTF associate membership offers producers valuable opportunities to connect with a national network of individuals and companies who are passionate about bringing high-quality performances to rural communities.

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Benefits of Membership

Training, Information & Networking

NRTF supports an annual conference, showcase events and regional meetings and keeps in regular touch with all its members via email bulletins and online via the discussion forum. Members receive advance booking opportunities and reduced prices for the conference and other networking events.

Advice & Resources

All members can ask for information, help and advice from the central office and from other members and are able to keep in touch with each other via the NRTF web site. NRTF carries out research and provides publications, toolkits and other resources which are available to members via the website.

Innovative Work, Partnerships & Commissions

NRTF is keen to increase the amount of high quality work available for rural touring and to develop opportunities for artists and venues. Touring scheme members can share touring opportunities via the online touring event diary. Companies can post details of their forthcoming tours and bring their work to the attention of the touring schemes, promoters and venues. NRTF and its members work in partnership to develop high quality product suitable for rural touring.

Research & Advocacy

NRTF promotes the understanding and benefits of rural touring through its relationship with key stakeholders and policymakers, through representation at meetings and conferences and through its research and publications programme. It provides a forum to discuss the latest developments in the promotion of professional arts at a rural and community level, with the website acting as a useful platform for members to share information and discuss new developments.