National Rural Touring Forum is celebrating Village Halls week by commissioning a poem by well-known UK Stand-up poet Kate Fox. Kate has written a piece amusingly encapsulating the breadth of events and happenings you might take part in during a week at your local Village Hall. She will premiere the poem by performing it live on BBC radio stations Monday 21st January and via NRTF website.
Village Halls Week is the brainchild of national charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). NRTF is a part of their week-long campaign to celebrate England’s 10,000 Village Halls. Village Halls are an integral part of rural communities but are often overlooked. This year we think about how Village Halls provide a space for communities to come together, something ever more pertinent with the rising number of people affected by loneliness.
Rural communities are seeing diminishing services and social areas, such as the closing of pubs and shops. When these community spaces disappear, it becomes harder to connect, meet new people and have that much-needed interaction. ACRE & NRTF believe Village Halls play a huge part in tackling these issues, for example providing community shops, performance spaces and pop up pubs where there are none, as well as social groups for older and younger people alike.
Kate Fox is a British poet, author, and comedian. Her solo comedy shows have toured from the Edinburgh Fringe to the Southbank Centre and been broadcast on Radio 4. She lives in North Yorkshire and has recently made two comedy series for BBC Radio 4 called ‘The Price of Happiness’.
“Some of my best gigs in the past have been rural touring in village halls. The homemade cakes! The friendly & surprisingly diverse audiences! It’s been lovely to be asked to write a poem in celebration of spaces that are more precious now than ever as community spaces are eroded.” Kate Fox
NRTF support Rural Touring programming and development organisations called Schemes to bring professional performance to rural audiences. Village Halls are widely used in Rural Touring for theatre and dance spaces.
From 22 January to 28 January 2019, every county will see a series of events to bring people together and celebrate these crucial rural spaces.