Rural dance returns: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Autumn

Rural dance returns: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Autumn

Rural Touring Dance Initiative brings dance back to rural venues with a programme of seven works from leading dance companies comprising new shows and returning favourites.

  • Mr & Mrs Clark – Louder is Not Always Clearer 23 Sep – 25 Nov
  • Sonia Sabri Company – Same Same…But Different 1 Oct – 14 Nov
  • Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash – Blacklist/Fig Leaf 6 Oct – 14 Nov
  • Scottish Dance Theatre – Antigone, Interrupted 7 – 15 Oct
  • Jo Fong and George Orange – The Rest of Our Lives 21 Oct – TBC
  • Edifice – Salomé 27 – 30 Oct
  • Chris Patfield & José Triguero – Gibbon 12 – 13 Nov

A fresh selection of shows covering ageing, masculinity, Greek myths and table tennis, created by dance companies after an open call-out which attracted more than 70 applications, is set to take to village halls and rural venues across the UK this Autumn. The shows have been put through a rigorous selection process by the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, and have been selected by local promoters from ‘menus’ which enable them to choose the work that best suits their venue. They represent an incredibly diverse canon of work that offers a very current and exciting view of what contemporary dance can be, and in small rural spaces where you wouldn’t expect to find it. As well as selected pieces, the menu will include specially commissioned works Antigone Interrupted from choreographer Joan Clevillé for Scottish Dance Theatre, and The Rest of Our Lives from Jo Fong and George Orange. The initiative, which aims to find new audiences for dance and making the art form accessible to everyone by presenting in local spaces, is a partnership between the National Rural Touring Forum, The Place, China Plate and Take Art.

Ralph Lister from Take Art said on behalf of RTDI: “After all the disruption and uncertainty of the last 18 months, we are delighted to once again be offering a full live programme. We know rural audiences and artists enjoy the intimacy and shared experience of rural touring and look forward to many more memorable shows. Many shows were postponed in 2020 and earlier in 2021; during this tough time we supported RTDI artists through a programme shared digitally and provided them with ongoing support to bring us to this exciting moment.”

A young girl ready to die to defend what she thinks is right. A king determined to impose his will as the rule of law. Commissioned by the RTDI and presented by Scottish Dance Theatre, Antigone, Interrupted re-imagines the 2,500 year-old Greek myth for the modern world through the body and the voice of a single performer. From the team that brought you Plan B for Utopia and The North, this new work by choreographer Joan Clevillé packs all the drama, passion and big ideas of a Greek tragedy into a one-woman tour de force by acclaimed performer Solène Weinachter. 

Also specially commissioned by RTDI, The Rest of Our Lives by Jo Fong and George Orange is a cabaret of life – and near death. Jo is an old dancer, George an old clown. They’ve both reached the mid-way point of their lives, and now they’re wondering, what next? Armed with a soundtrack of floor-fillers, a book of raffle tickets and a sprinkling of eco-friendly glitter, they joyfully negotiate middle-life together with humour, tenderness and outlandish optimism. There will be table tennis!

Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash is known as one of the UK’s leading Krump dancers, a highly athletic form of street dance characterised by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movement. He presents a double bill of shows for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. Blacklist is an explosive piece asking how we cope with inner conflict, which delves into brotherhood, isolation and friendship explored through hip hop, Krump and theatre. Fig Leaf questions what it means to be a man, and when masculinity becomes toxic. Joshua and RTDI recently released short film Burnout which explores the struggles of today’s youth, especially in light of the pandemic’s enforced isolation. Set in London and the stunning rural North Devon coast, with three professional adult dancers and eighteen youth dancers, Burnout highlights the importance of connecting with the natural environment and can be viewed here: http://www.ruraltouring.org/burnout/ 

EDIFICE Dance Theatre’s thrilling new take on Oscar Wilde’s classic Salomé takes audiences on an extraordinary journey into a world of rejection and religion, lust and death. Through their unique hybrid language, which combines live classical music, ballroom, Latin and contemporary dance, choreographer-dancer duo Carmine De Amicis and Harriet Waghorn tell the tragic story of the Biblical princess in a completely unique way

Same Same…But Different from Sonia Sabri Company is a fun family show about our curiosities and fears, the times we feel different and when we belong. Blending Kathak, hip hop and beatboxing styles, three performers create a playful, colourful world celebrating our individuality, diversity and the bonds which connect us all.

Returning to the rural touring circuit in autumn, Louder Is Not Always Clearer from Mr & Mrs Clark is a funny and honest portrayal of difference and empathy. Meet Jonny. He loves to dance, but he can’t hear the music unless the bass is turned right up. Jonny was born deaf and grew up in a hearing family, surrounded by hearing friends who did not use the word deaf. In a hearing world Jonny is different and Louder Is Not Always Clearer highlights those differences in a warm and humorous way.

Also returning is Gibbon, from breakout juggling stars Chris Patfield & José Triguero, 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.

Speaking about the forthcoming season Christina Elliot, Senior Producer and RTDI partner from The Place, said “We have been delighted with the enthusiasm with which venues and audiences have embraced dance through this project. This enthusiasm is matched by the artists taking part. In many cases it has been a revelation of what touring can be – warm welcomes, open minds and hearts, and an intimate connection and conversation between an audience and the work on stage. In those moments when the magic of live performance is palpable, it’s clear that, despite the different priorities and challenges we might juggle, we – artists, promoters, programmers, producers – are all working towards this same uniquely special moment.”     

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 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. The Rest of Our Lives is supported by Arts Council of Wales

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

Local young people feature in professional dance film shot on Woolacombe Beach

  • With choreography by Joshua Nash, Burnout uses raw and energetic krumping in a film about frustration and young people’s wellbeing
  • The film will be shot between London (14 May) and Devon (6 June) by North Devon film maker Gemma Pons Alsina
  • The dance film has been commissioned by the Rural Touring Dance Initiative and Beaford

@rural_dance | #BurnoutDanceFilm | www.ruraltouring.org | beaford.org

For a raw and powerful dance film about the importance of space and time off for mental health, about looking after yourself in isolation, and releasing frustration, Burnout will see students from Unlimited Dance Company in Barnstaple perform together on Woolacombe Beach on Sunday 6th June. The Devon dancers have rehearsed with the London dance company during lockdown, learning Joshua Nash’s choreography over Zoom, and will perform it together with Joshua for the first time when it is filmed. Reflecting the journey of young people during the pandemic, the film will be a chance to let it all out through the physicality of krumping, and to reconnect with friends and loved ones. They will be joined by professional dancers recording their parts in London, juxtaposing the urban city and the rural North Devon coast. The film has been commissioned by Beaford and Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI); earlier this month, RTDI and The Place co-commission In A Nutshell by Lost Dog was nominated for Best Short Dance Film at the National Dance Awards.

The final film will be released to the public on 7th July on social media.

Joshua Nash is a freelance hip hop theatre artist whose movement language is focusing on Hip Hop, Krump and House. He is reputable as a core member of Botis Seva’s company Far From The Norm, with performance credits including Channel 4 Random Acts, BBC Performance Live with Studio Wayne McGregor and Sadler’s Wells 20th anniversary triple bill Reckonings. He was due to perform a rural tour with RTDI in 2020, 

North Devon professional freelance film maker Gemma Pons Alsina, a keen dancer herself, has already filmed and edited five adult community dance routines during the Covid-19 lockdown year on location within the North Devon Biosphere – including Braunton Burrows, Ilfracombe Harbour and Barnstaple. The first ballet piece, performed by dancers of mixed abilities, received over 100,000 views globally. Gemma is Spanish-born and based in Croyde, North Devon

Joshua Nash said, “This has been such an exciting project to work on over the past few months. It’s been incredible working with the young people at Unlimited dance over Zoom to choreograph a film which has been born directly out of the pandemic. Krump is an artform which is still quite new within the hip-hop dance world, so having the opportunity to share it with young people who live in Devon and might not have done anything like this before has been special. The film will be a real celebration of people coming back together, difference and how we can all start to look ahead after a difficult year.”

Beaford is England’s longest-established rural arts initiative, supporting rural creative development and providing access to high quality arts experiences across rural north Devon for more than 55 years. We are innovators in rural community engagement, cultural education, and artistic leadership, always looking to seek out entertaining and extraordinary ways to explore our land, lives and future beaford.org

The RTDI is a partnership between the National Rural Touring Forum, The Place, China Plate and Take Art.

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.

Lost Dog Dance stream ‘Paradise Lost (lies unopen beside me)’ with RTDI partners The Place

Lost Dog Dance (RTDI Alumni) are streaming the Rural Touring Award Winning show ‘Paradise Lost (lies unopen beside me)’ with RTDI project partners The Place.

Saturday 5h & Sunday 6th June
Tickets £10 online here

A show for anyone who has created anything (child, garden, paper aeroplane) and then watched it spiral out of control.

Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) is a one-man adaptation of Milton’s epic poem and is conceived, directed and performed by Ben Duke for Lost Dog.

“The comedy is divine, but the images of love and loss are achingly human” ★★★★★ 

The Independent

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/