A new year of rural dance: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Spring

A new year of rural dance: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Spring

Rural Touring Dance Initiative kicks off its 2020 with a programme of seven works from leading dance companies comprising new shows and returning favourites

  • Luca Silvestrini’s Protein – The Little Prince 25 Jan – 7 Feb
  • Mr and Mrs Clark – Louder Is Not Always Clearer 29 Feb – 19 Mar
  • Patfield and Triguero – Gibbon 5 – 14 Mar
  • Altered Skin – Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer 14 Mar – 1 May
  • Sadhana – Under my Skin 20 – 27 MarLost Dog – Juliet & Romeo 22 Apr – 12 Jun
  • Dan Watson – VENUS 24 Apr – TBC

Kicking off the start of a new decade and celebrating five years, the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) will tour a fresh selection of shows created by dance companies whose work has been enjoyed on both national and international stages and can now be seen in village halls and rural venues across the UK. The shows on offer have been selected by local promoters from ‘menus’ which enable them to choose the work that best suits their venue. 

The Spring touring shows are an eclectic mix of dance adaptations of classic novels and real-life stories and will visit an ever-growing audience in rural communities, taking them from East London to India, from holiday camps to operating theatres. The initiative is a partnership between the National Rural Touring Forum, The Place, China Plate and Take Art.

Based on the internationally adored story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince is brought to life using Luca Silvestrini’s Protein’s award-winning mix of dance, humour and text, inviting us to look at the world through one’s heart and to reconnect with our inner child. Upon landing on planet Earth, the Little Prince is welcomed by a mysterious snake and a truly wise and friendly fox before encountering the lone pilot. Together they discover the power and beauty of friendship and the complexity of love.

As a child Dan Watson lost a British holiday-camp dance competition, largely because he totally misunderstood what competitive dance was, and they didn’t play his song of choice: Venus by Bananarama. Combining contemporary dance, confessional and comedy, VENUS is the dance he would have performed had he known better, had he been braver.

Breakout juggling stars Chris Patfield & José Triguero present Gibbon, 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.

Developed in association with a leading surgeon Under My Skin is a show about surgery and operating theatres drawing on classical Indian dance technique Bharata Natyam and real-life surgical procedures. Three razor-sharp dancers invite the audience to share an insider’s perspective on surgical procedures, where intricate detail, timing and precisely controlled exchanges are not just an artistic goal, but a matter of life or death.

Louder Is Not Always Clearer follows Jonny, a teacher, an artist, a campaigner and an avid football fan. He’s just become a father, and he is deaf. He loves to dance, but he can’t hear the music unless the bass is turned right up. Louder Is Not Always Clearer focuses on the importance of connection with others and the struggle to do so affectively and a warm, humorous and honest portrayal of a man perceived to be full of confidence, who is inwardly vulnerable and at times isolated.

After winning the 2017 Rural Touring Award for the most innovative and inspirational show for their previous show, Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) Ben Duke’s Lost Dog return with Juliet & Romeo which imagines Shakespeare’s infamous lovers as middle-aged and in therapy. Through its playful blend of dance, theatre and comedy, Lost Dog picks apart out cultural obsession with youth and our inability to accept uncomfortable truths.

And returning to the rural touring circuit after Autumn touring dates, Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer sees Complicité Associate Shane Shambhu reflect on his personal journey of growing up in east London, learning and performing Indian dance in the UK, and plays with the ways in which race, language, identity and culture have defined him.

Speaking about the forthcoming season RTDI Project Manager Claire Smith said “Rural schemes and audiences are so looking forward to the RTDI spring season. Across the country we are seeing audiences confidence and enthusiasm for our RTDI brand of dance/theatre grow year on year. People who have never thought of going to see dance are returning, showing a loyalty to companies who are returning with their second or third show as well as embracing companies that are new to the scheme. The quality and diversity continues to impress.”     

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 July 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.

Listings information 

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

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein – The Little Prince

Mr and Mrs Clark – Louder is Not Always Clearer

Patfield and Triguero – Gibbon

Sadhana – Under My Skin

Lost Dog – Juliet & Romeo

Dan Watson  – VENUS

Altered Skin – Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer

Rural Touring Dance Initiative Autumn 2019 Dates

This Autumn seven dance companies will tour rurally with the support of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative.

To find out more information and individual ticket prices and box office numbers please visit the Scheme websites directly. Wherever possible links direct to event pages are listed.


Nikki and JD – Knot

24 Sep The Guildhall, St Ives TR26 2DS | Carn to Cove (Cornwall) https://www.carntocove.co.uk/
27 Sep West Buckland School Theatre EX32 0SX | https://beaford.org/
29 Sep, 7:30pm. Gillingham School Hall, SP8 4QR.  https://artsreach.co.uk/
2 Oct Steiner Academy, Much Dewhurst, HR2 8DL | Arts Alive, Shrop. Herefordshire www.artsalive.co.uk
4 Oct University of Worcester WR2 6AJ | Live and Local www.liveandlocal.org.uk
5 Oct Dance Blast Abergavenny NP7 5UD | Night Out, Wales www.nightout.org.uk

7th Oct Allendale Village Hall, Leadgate, Allendale, N’land NE47 9PR  www.highlightsnorth.co.uk

11 Oct Goxhill Memorial Hall DN19 7JJ| Artery/Live Lincs, East Riding/Lincolnshire https://blaize.uk.net/category/livelincs/
12 Oct Appleby Hub CA16 6QR | Highlights, Cumbria and Northumberland www.highlightsnorth.co.uk

Mr and Mrs Clarke – Louder is not always clearer

14 Nov TBC | Air in G – Strike A Light https://www.strikealightfestival.org.uk/

Alleyne Dance – A Night’s Game

21 – 22 Oct Gloucester University | Air in G – Strike A Light https://www.strikealightfestival.org.uk/

Thu 7 Nov 7pm Assembly Rooms Barton Upon Humber DN18 5QP https://blaize.uk.net/category/livelincs/

9 Nov Newlyn Village Hall TR18 5AR | Carn to Cove, Cornwall https://www.carntocove.co.uk/
14 Nov Drimpton Village Hall DT8 3RT| Artsreach, Dorset https://artsreach.co.uk/

Patfield and Triguero – Gibbon   

21 Nov Portsoy  Church Hall AB45 2QB| NEAT http://neatshows.co.uk
22 Nov Lindow Hall  Bowness-on-Solway CA7 5AF | Arts Out West, West Cumbria www.kirkgatearts.org.uk/arts-out-west/ 
23 Nov St. Thomas Church Hall, Stanhope DL13 2UE | Highlights, Cumbria and Northumberland www.highlightsnorth.co.uk

James Wilton – Leviathan

26 Oct Lyceum Studio, Crewe CW1 2DA | Cheshire www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk
23 Nov Bolton Abbey Village Hall BD23 6EX | Rural Arts North Yorkshire https://www.ruralarts.org/
26 Nov The Pound Arts Centre, Corsham SN13 9HX | Wiltshire http://www.poundarts.org.uk
28 Nov Wem Town Hall SY4 5DG| Arts Alive, Shrop. Herefordshire www.artsalive.co.uk
30 Nov West Buckland School Theatre EX32 0SX | https://beaford.org/

Lost Dog – Juliet and Romeo

17 & 18 Aug Jevington Barn BN26 5QB | Applause, Kent/Sussex https://www.applause.org.uk/
18 Oct Grand Pier, Weston Super Mare BS23 1AL | Theatre Orchard, Somerset http://theatreorchard.org.uk
19 Oct Brimpsfield Village Hall GL4 8LD | Air in G http://airing.co.uk/
24 Oct Thimble Mill Library, Smethick B67 5RJ | Black Country Touring http://bctouring.co.uk/
26 Oct Colston Bassett Events (Nottinghamshire) | Live and Local http://www.liveandlocal.org.uk/
27 Oct Dronfield Heritage Trust S18 1PX| Live and Local http://www.liveandlocal.org.uk/

Altered Skin – Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer

19 October Weaver Hall, Northwich CW9 8AB | Cheshire Rural Touring Arts www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk
1 Nov Calstock Arts PL18 9QX | Carn to Cove https://www.carntocove.co.uk/
9 Nov Tarvin Community Centre CH3 8LY | Cheshire Rural Touring Arts www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk
10 Nov Goostrey Village Hall CW4 8PE | Cheshire Rural Touring Arts www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk
15 Nov Roadwater Village Hall, TA23 0RE | Take Art (Somerset) https://takeart.org/