We are delighted to announce that the NRTF has been successful in its application to remain an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) for 2015-2018.
This continued support from Arts Council England means that the NRTF will be able to continue our work in strengthening and supporting the rural touring sector and promoting a better understanding of the value of rural and community touring. We carry out this role through the provision of networking, training and information services to members and through initiatives including:
- – An annual conference and showcase event. This year’s New Directions showcase in York saw 37 innovative companies and artists present work to an audience of over 120 touring scheme representatives, promoters, venues and funders. Some of those showcasing are new to rural touring, all of them are taking their work in new directions.;
- – Our Edinburgh Village Hall project provides bursaries for touring schemes and voluntary promoters to attend the Edinburgh Fringe. The NRTF also hosts a popular Introduction to Rural Touring event, where artists and companies can meet promoters and representatives from touring schemes and find out more about developing work for rural touring;
- – Professional development opportunities and bursaries for members, enabling them to attend showcase events and visit other touring schemes and promoters to share practice and develop new projects;
- – Working with producers, artists and touring schemes to commission and develop work specifically for rural and community venues. Our partnership with Contact Theatre is now focusing on the third national tour, working with young promoters. NRTF are also working with touring schemes in the North and South East, the Royal Court and House on a rural tour of The Wolf from The Door, a new play by Rory Mullarkey. Its premiere at the Royal Court studio in Autumn 2014 will be followed by a rural tour the following year.
- – We are about to see the third group of Jazz artists touring thanks to our on-going partnership with Jazz Services. Fumi Okiji, Heads South and Sue Richardson follow on from high quality jazz musicians Stu Brown, Christine Tobin and Michael Janisch, touring to small village and community venues throughout the country from Autumn of this year.
NRTF membership is open to Rural Touring Schemes, venues, artistic companies and performers and voluntary promoters from across the UK. Several of our Touring Scheme members have also been included in the Arts Council England NPO portfolio for 2015-2018, meaning that the NRTF is at the heart of a strong strategic network of organisations focused on the development of the rural touring sector in England. For more information on Rural Touring Schemes, please visit our Members pages.
The NRTF is absorbing the NPO decisions and their effect on rural touring nationally and is also tracking changes in local authority funding. Our membership of the Arts Council convened Rural Stakeholder Group enables the NRTF to table pressing issues faced by its members.
Looking to the future, there will be a new LEADER programme running from 2015 to 2020. Funded by the EU, there has been an expansion of rural areas nationally that fall within the orbit of the programme, which will be delivered by Local Action Groups. Local Development Plans are due to be signed off by November and funds will be available from January 2015. Culture and heritage are one of the 6 priorities of the forthcoming programme. ACE have produced a briefing paper for Local Action Groups, outlining ways in which the arts may address some of the objectives of the programme and this is being circulated to NRTF members.