Contemporary dance companies join forces with the National Rural Touring Forum

02 November 2015

National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) and their partners China Plate Theatre, The Place and Take Art are proud to announce the companies that have been selected to be part of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. Eight companies have been chosen to tour their existing shows in 2016-17 with a further five shortlisted to create a new work to tour in 2017-18. 

Four of the eight companies selected for 2016-17; Panta Rei, Phoenix Dance, Spilt Milk and Sonia Sabri Company, were pre-selected as part of the bi-annual New Directions showcase 2014. The other four companies; Lost Dog,Protein, Joan Clevillé Dance andLîla Dance applied as part of the open call which saw 155 companies and independent artists apply to the Rural Touring Dance Initiative.

A further five companies; James Wilton Dance, Sarah Blanc’s Moxie Brawl, Tom Dale Company, Greg Wohead and Ben Wright’s bgroup, have been shortlisted to receive a potential commission of £45K to create a new show. As part of the initiative these five companies will take part in a week long residency, The Darkroom, where their ideas will be developed and explored further.

All companies attended The Lab, a three-day specially designed course held at Halsway Manor in Somerset from 19-21 October. The course focused on addressing the challenges of re-working a production so that it can adapt to the variety of spaces that make up the rural touring network. 

Commenting on the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, the NRTF’s Development Director, Ralph Lister, said: “The response we received was beyond our wildest expectations. Contemporary dance is not something you would normally associate with rural locations so it is particularly encouraging that so many people working within this area of the arts are positive to the idea of exploring the concept. Due to the superb quality of the applicants it was hard to select just the nine – in fact we originally only intended to take eight forward. The final list though is a wonderful blend of people we have worked with previously and shows that have already been well received in places such as the Edinburgh Fringe, with others that we are starting new collaborations with and ideas that are at the very beginning of their journeys.”

James Wilton of James Wilton Dance expressed his delight about being involved with the initiative: "I am thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative for many reasons. I am really excited about my choreographic idea and the intimate rural touring setting would be the perfect setting for it. I relish the challenge of having my work in many venue types-from large scale venues to village halls and believe that the physicality is capable of reaching out to people in all environments. Also, having grown up in, and now living in a rural setting it is essential for me to present work within these communities and settings."