Spot On Lancashire: Digital Commission Call Out

Spot On have secured funding from Arts Council England to develop a new digital arts strand. This will be the first commission in what they hope will be a long series of commissions over the next few years.

The plan is for the finished piece to ‘tour’ to libraries and village halls across Lancashire in October/November 2019 with a possible launch during National Libraries Week in 7-12 October 2019. At the beginning of December, the work will be shared nationally as part of our new digital gallery on the Spot On Website.

Does this sound like something you might be interested in? Take a look at the full brief and make an application.

Deadline: Monday 1st July, 12 noon.

Download the brief ‘Spot On digital commission 2019 call out brief’ from the box on the right.

North East Arts Touring awarded Young Start Community Fund grant

North  East  Arts  Touring(NEAT)are  delighted  to  announce  that  they  have  been  awarded twoyear  funding  from  the Young StartNational Lottery Community fund to continue and develop their Young Promoters Scheme. The initiative is aimed at young people aged 13 –25 years; enabling them to programme professional theatre productions and cinema screenings  in  their  communities. The  scheme  focuses  on  empowering  young  people  to  become  active  volunteer promoters in their community while learning transferable skills in event and arts management. 

The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that North East Arts Touring has been successful in securing Young Start funding. This award will make a big difference to the lives of local young people who will be at the heart of both project design and delivery. I wish the Young Promoters Scheme every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project to help young people reach their potential.”

The scheme was initiated by North East Arts Touring’sactive role in the creation of Youth Arts Collective North East, as part of Creative Scotland’s “Time to Shine” Initiate.The  Young Promoters Scheme  was  delivered in partnership with Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 2015.

Since its initiation ithas gone from strength to strength with over 312 young people in rural towns and villagesacrossAberdeenshire learningskills in programming and promoting professional theatre and dancein their community,with a further  2956  young  people  engagedin a  range  of  creative  learning and performance-basedopportunities.Adrianna Butka  a  young  promoter  from  Banff,  said “Through the process of the scheme it was amazing to work with arts professionals and know your part of something big. Promoting these shows gives me a big boost of confidence”

As an outcome of the project, NEAT is delightedto see a significant rise in young people attending professional theatre and danceperformances in rural communities.Lynn Shaw, NEAT’s Young Promoters Coordinator, said “Many of the young people we work with are isolated either geographically or through social deprivation. Up until now the scheme has been delivered in areas such as Banff, Whitehills, Alford and Peterhead. Receiving support from the Young Start fund will give us the opportunity to reach out to more young people in other rural communities across Aberdeenshire”

This is the only scheme of its kind in Aberdeenshire. Emyr Bell, Executive Director of the organisation, said, “Creativity plays  such  an  important  part  in  the  development  of  young  people,  having  the  opportunity  to  learn  life-long  and transferable skills is vital; we are so excited to embark on this new phase of the project through support from Young Start.”The scheme will restart at the beginning of June2019.

Arts Council England Chair supports vision for the sustainability of rural arts

Arts Council England Chair supports vision for the sustainability of rural arts during visit to brand new National Rural Touring Forum Head Quarters.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chairman of Arts Council England, met with rural arts organisations at the headquarters of National Rural Touring Forum in the village of Stanford Dingley, West Berkshire. Sir Nick was joined by local ACE National Portfolio Organisations Water Mill Theatre, Corn Exchange Newbury, and personnel from cultural organisations such as LIVR, Metis Theatre, New Adventures, McCurdy & Co., Farnham Maltings and Julie’s Bicycle to discuss the sustainability of rural touring. The group spent time discussing green touring initiatives, the sustainability of rural arts, the relevance of professional rural touring and what it might look like in 10 years. The outcome is an aim for a greater understanding of the potential for rural and green touring in England.

One of the top priorities of NRTF is advocacy on behalf of the sector. The visit was inspired by the appointment of NRTF Director, Holly Lombardo, the migration of its headquarters to the South East and the alignment of the ambitions of the sector with Arts Council England’s 10 Year Strategy consultation.

“Rural communities make up nearly 20% of the UK population. Rural touring not only contributes to local economic growth it increases wellbeing, confidence and a sense of belonging in communities. Nick Sertoas visit marks an important shift in the value given to rural arts, and we are delighted to be leading the discussion”. Holly Lombardo, Director – National Rural Touring Forum.

During the meeting Sir Nick stated how important networks like the NRTF are for supporting the sector, sharing resources and the distribution of data.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Touring is an essential means for many people across the country to experience great arts and culture, particularly those who live in rural areas. But at the same time, we must take into consideration the environmental impact of touring. These calculations are complex, but It was incredibly positive to hear that these questions are front of mind for organisations like the National Rural Touring Forum and its stakeholders. I hope that we will continue to raise the profile and importance of touring, balancing any environmental impact against the need for people who live in rural areas to have the opportunity to experience art and culture”

NRTF is an ACE National Portfolio Organisation supporting and promoting the importance of the rural arts and touring sector. With 30 member schemes, 1,650 promoting groups, 110,000 voluntary hours, 332,000 audience, over £1,000,000 box office sales this is a thriving sector, that via high-quality programming and commissioning, delivers community cohesion in rural settings and touring opportunities for performing companies.

Across the UK there are currently 30 NRTF member schemes who annually work with 1,650 promoting groups, undertaking 110,000 voluntary hours, putting on productions to 332,000 audience members, who spend over £1,000,000 in box office sales.

To hear more about rural touring, please visit our website –  www.ruraltouring.org and watch our film https://www.ruraltouring.org/work/rural-touring-advocacy-film

Rural Touring Dance Initiative announces call out for artists

  • The consortium seeking to bring more dance to rural venues is on the lookout for artists to take part in its next phase
  • The project is supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring programme and an award from Arts Council Wales
  • The RTDI is keen to maintain a diverse programme and is interested in hearing from BAMER, disabled artists and those creating work suitable for children and families in particular

Application deadline: 12 noon, Thursday 5 th September 2019

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI), a partnership between The Place, Take Art the National Rural Touring Forum and China Plate has launched a call out for dance artists to tour their work to rural
spaces across the UK. The project is made possible by a second major award from Arts Council England Strategic Touring program and an award from Arts Council Wales.

The project, which has previously supported artists including Lost Dog, Protein, Joan Cleville, Uchenna Dance and bgroup, is an opportunity to tour existing work to rural locations. In addition to guaranteed show fees there is a limited number of bursaries averaging £1200 for artists with existing shows to adapt shows for rural touring. Companies who have toured with the RTDI have averaged 7 supported shows with fees varying from £850 to £1400 depending on scale and cost. There is also a paid for residential workshop exploring touring dance to
rural locations to prepare artists for the experience.

The RTDI is keen to maintain a diverse programme and welcomes applications from disabled and BAMER artists. And in addition to its usual program for adult audiences is invested in touring work suitable for children and families.

The deadline for applications is midday on Thursday 5 Sep 2019. Artists will be notified that they have been selected for the 2020/21 menu the week commencing 7 Oct 2019, followed by a Practical Introduction to Rural Touring for Contemporary Dance Lab 13 – 15 November 2019 in Dorset.

For the RTDI, Project manager Claire Smith said “The RTDI is going from strength to strength –dance is being repeat programmed by promoters who would not have thought about promoting dance a few years ago
and audiences are loving it  – so apply and get involved ! “  

Find out how to apply here: https://www.theplace.org.uk/rural-dance-touring-initiative-call-out-artists

@Ruraltouring | #ruraldance | https://www.ruraltouring.org/

Ten Companies Dance into Rural Village Halls

Dance treats from the Rural Dance Touring Initiative sees returning favourites and new offerings in rural villages

bgroup, Point Of Echoes 9 Feb – 17 Mar
Splitmilk, The Little Love Cabaret14 Feb – 10 May
Luca Silvestrini’s Protein, May Contain Food – May Contain You 23 Feb – 28 Mar
Keira Martin, Here Comes Trouble 2 – 3 Mar
Lost Dog, Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) 
8 – 17 Mar
Just Us Dance Theatre, It’s Between Us 9 – 16 Mar
Joan Clevillé Plan B For Utopia 23 – 24 Mar
James Wilton, Last Man Standing 13 – 24 Apr
Hiccup, May-We-Go-Round 26 Apr
Curious Seed Chalk About 11 May – 1 Jun

Continuing to bring new and adapted dance work to village halls and other small rural venues across the UK often unreached by touring arts companies, the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) is serving up a feast of performances with ten dance companies in Spring 2018. The National Rural Touring Forum’s (NRTF) three-year dance focused scheme – which has now been extended for another three years – served up its first ‘menu’ of work to regional touring schemes in 2016, and their Spring programme is a continuation of their second menu which started last Autumn.

Point of Echoes by bgroup is the first new work commissioned by the RTDI, especially for the rural touring circuit. Set on an unnamed lighthouse, at an unknown time, somewhere on the coast of England, Point of Echoes is created by renowned UK choreographer Ben Wright and musician and writer Stuart Warwick. After performances in RTDI’s second menu in Autumn 2017, it receives a full tour this Spring.

Other shows continuing to tour with RTDI from last Autumn include James Wilton Dance’s Last Man Standing based on Terry Pratchett’s The Last Hero, Here Comes Trouble choreographed by Keira Martin and directed by Charlotte Vincent, Just Us Dance Theatre’s It’s Between Us, and The Hiccup Project with May – We – Go – Round.

From the first menu of work presented in Autumn 2016, three favourites will return to RTDI: Luca Silvestrini’s Protein, May Contain Food, May Contain You, a witty dance and music production encouraging audiences to bring their own locally produced food to the theatre and consider the sensory, cultural and social implications of food, Joan Clevillé’s Plan B for Utopia about how creativity and imagination can change the world, and Lost Dog’s Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) which won the Most Innovative/Inspirational Show at the inaugural Ticketsource National Rural Touring Forum Awards in June.

Two brand shows to tour RTDI this spring are The Little Love Cabaret from Spiltmilk is a scrapbook of real-life love stories from contributors aged 2 – 93 from across the country. Somewhere between a sketch show, dance performance, confessional, and a gushing love letter, Spiltmilk Dance rejoice in all things that make life brilliant. Finally, Chalk About from Curious Seed turns the stage into a gigantic chalkboard to explore the nature of identity.

Speaking about the tours, Claire Smith, Project Manager of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative said We have been delighted with the response to our fabulous cohort of companies in this our 2nd RTDI Menu – companies new to Rural Touring and those returning for a second time are very excited by the reaction of audiences. We have seen audiences new to dance returning to see more – they liked it so much first time round!”

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative is an ongoing scheme which has recently been extended until 2021 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.

@rural_dance | #ruraldance | www.ruraltouring.org

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

bgroup, Points of Echoes 

Live and Local  Friday 9th Feb – Saturday 10th Feb
Night Out Wales Thursday 15th Feb
Wiltshire, Rural Arts Friday 16th Feb
Carn to Cove, Cornwall Weds 21st Feb  – Saturday 24th Feb (no performance Thursday)
Highlights, Cumbria Friday 2nd Mar
Workshops Fleetwood Thursday 8th Mar
Spot On, Lancashire Friday 9th Mar
Live Lincs Sunday 11th Mar
Night Out Wales Saturday 17th Mar
    
Spiltmilk, The Little Love Cabaret 

Black Country Touring –  Wolverhampton  Wednesday 14th Feb
Black Country Touring – Smethwick Thursday 15th Feb
Wiltshire Rural Arts Friday 16th Feb
Spot On, Lancashire Saturday 3rd Mar
Night Out Wales Thursday 10th May
    
Luca Silvestini’s Protein, May Contain Food, May Contain You 

Arts Alive, Shropshire/Hereforshire Friday 23rd Feb
Spot On, Lancashire Saturday 10th Mar
Highlights, Cumbria Friday 16th Mar – Saturday 17th Mar
Take Art, Somerset Saturday 24th Mar
Night Out, Wales Wednesday 28th Mar
    
Keira Martin, Here Comes Trouble

Take Art, Somerset FrIday 2nd Mar
Air in G, Gloucestershire Saturday 3rd Mar
    
Lost Dog, Paradise Lost  

Carn to Cove, Cornwall Thursday 8th Mar – Saturday 10th Mar
Artsreach Dorset Saturday 24th Mar
Arts Alive Shropshire Wednesday 21st Mar
NEAT Scotland Friday 16th Mar – Saturday 17th Mar
   
Just Us Dance, Its Between Us 

Theatre Artsreach, Dorset Friday 9th Mar
Carn to Cove, Cornwall Saturday 10th Mar
Arts Alive Mini residency, Thursday 15th Mar & Friday 16th Mar
    
Joan Clevillé, Plan B for Utopia 

Rural Arts On Tour, N. Yorkshire  Friday 23rd Mar – Saturday 24th Mar

    
James Wilton Last Man Standing 

Independent -Theatre Orchard Friday 13th Apr

Beaford Arts, Devon Saturday 14th Apr

Carn to Cove ( Leviathan ) Tuesday 24th Apr

    
The Hiccup Project, May-We-Go-Round

Independent – Strike A Light  Thursday 26th Apr

    
Curious Seed

Highlights, Cumbria Friday 11th May
Cheshire Rural Touring Arts Sat 12th May 2pm
NEAT  Scotland Thursday 18th May – Friday 19th May
Carn to Cove, Cornwall Saturday 26th May
Wiltshire Rural Arts Sunday 27th May
Creative Arts East – Youth Residency Tuesday 29th  – Thursday 31st May
Black Country Touring Friday 1st June
 
Notes to editors

The NRTF has identified a paucity of dance on the rural touring circuit and the development of a dance project is evident in its business plan. As a result of a fruitful relationship that has developed with The Place and a successful dance showcase at the New Directions Conference 2014, curated in partnership with China Plate, there is momentum to develop dance and rural touring – 89% of conference attenders scored the dance showcase highly or very highly. Through its members the NRTF can access a huge rural touring circuit with over 2,000 promoters. Individual rural touring schemes will play an integral role in the successful roll out of the project.


The Place has been a driving force for contemporary dance in the UK for 45 years. The Place is unique and is comprised of; a training organisation, a producing and receiving theatre, a home for a national touring company and a hub for hundreds of independent artists. Our artist development department provides professional development, training, residencies, commissioning and producing support for dance artists at each stage of their career. Having developed a relationship with the NRTF and after attending the New Directions Conference there is an understanding, excitement and new commitment to supporting dance artists and the dance sector to engage with and take advantage of rural touring opportunities.


China Plate’s portfolio of activity encompasses developing, making and programming new work. They have worked closely with the NRTF for a number of years and curated the New Directions Showcase Festivals in 2012, 2014 & 2016 and programmed the Edinburgh Village Halls Project 2011 – 2013. They are interested in the interrogation of ideas and form and believe that rural communities should have direct access to the highest quality contemporary work. The cross over between dance and theatre is of particular interest and over the last few years China Plate has developed close links with Dance East, programming dance with them into the Pulse theatre festival and worked with Warwick Arts Centre to programme, commission and develop work with a number of choreographers including Charlotte Vincent, Tom Dale and Aakash Odedra.


Over the last decade Take Art has hosted the Somerset county dance agency, supporting the infrastructure for the development and promotion of professional dance in Somerset.  It has also run a rural touring scheme since 1987 and the services have worked and gained experience together. Take Art was the lead county dance agency in Up Close, the first south west rural touring dance project in partnership with Dance South West in 2007. The current Dance Director toured rural schemes extensively as a dancer with Pretty Good Girl Dance Theatre in 2009 and 2010. Its hands on experience of and commitment to dance and rural touring at a local level provides the partnership with a grounded perspective.


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.

RTDI Company Profile: Find out more about bgroup

Each month we’ll be profiling one of this seasons Rural Touring Dance Intiative companies! First up we have bgroup who won the first ever RTDI comission to make a dance show specifically for rural touring.

What are you most looking forward to?

A warm welcome for the most part 😉 Point of Echoes is an exciting return for us to touring work in the UK. After spending the last three years choreographing more large scale work for Opera and Theatre stages in Sweden, this challenge of developing an intimate work specifically conceived to work in non-theatre spaces has been extremely engaging. We are looking forward to the proximity of performing up close to our audiences whilst retaining certain epic proportions within the production.

What have you packed in readiness for rural locations?

An area Press coffee maker, a full bag of Huel ‘nutritionally complete food’, oh and a van packed dot the hilt with set costume and lights.

How do you think it will be different from touring to towns?

I guess it’s the intimacy of the communities involved. We have already been bumping into individuals here in Langport who came to see one of out dress rehearsals, I like the immediacy of the conversation that can ensue. In many ways it feels like the circus has come to the village and it is exciting to be at the hub of that curiosity.

Can you sum up your show in 3 words ?

Kinetic creepy storytelling.

What would you say to anyone who has never seen dance /theatre?

Don’t come with preconceived ideas. We have developed a show that draws on the full spectrum of my working experience and curiosities. Point of Echoes is blend of genres and disciplines. Although the work is based on a script by Stuart Warwick our storytelling methods drift between movement, song and spoken word. I am interested in working expansively, creating a sense of boundlessness, the categorisation of the show is less interesting to me than getting an engaged and curious audience involved. Think an episode of Tales of the Unexpected or The Twilight Zone performed by dancers.

2018 Applause Outdoors – Commission Opportunities

New commission opportunities for Outdoors work

In summer 2018, Applause Rural Touring will be programming outdoor performances into existing, locally organised village fetes, community events and Festivals in Kent and Sussex. These events take place almost exclusively at weekends from May to September.

They are looking to commission companies/artists with an established interest and track record of working outdoors and interactively who would like to be part of this programme.

All work should entertain and engage audiences, be self-sufficient (i.e. not require technical or other support/involvement by the host organisation) and be able to be accessed by diverse, non-age specific audiences. They can be walk about or static productions but they are intended to suit a range of time frames(i.e. does not require the audience to arrive at a certain time and remain for a set amount of time).

For 2018 we are also looking to commission one new outdoor work inspired by spoken word that we can tour as part of our Inn Crowd project that brings exceptional live events to rural/community pubs – http://inncrowd.org.uk

We are offering the following opportunities and expect to take out between 6-8 shows this season:

1 x Inn Crowd (spoken word inspired outdoor work) – commission fee between £3000 – £6000
AO new commissions for outdoor works – commission fees between £3000 – £8000
AO reshaping/development awards for existing works that requires some reshaping to tour rurally – development fees between £500 – £2500
For full details on the application process, including information for companies, and application forms visit http://www.applause.org.uk/outdoors/

Deadline 5pm Sunday 1st October

Jackie Hagan wins Best Spoken Word Show at the Saboteur Awards

Jackie Hagan’s show Some People Have Too Many Legs, developed and toured as part of the NRTF and Contact Theatre partnership, has been awarded Best Spoken Word Show in the Saboteur Awards 2015.

The Saboteur Awards celebrate the best in independent literature (poetry, short stories and live performance) and winners are selected via a public vote.

Huge congratulations to Jackie from all of us here at the NRTF!