The Rural Touring Dance Initiative makes it into The Stage!

02 July 2019
Lost Dog’s Juliet and Romeo - as featured in The Stage

The News!

We want to give a big shout out to the fantastic Rural Touring Dance Initiative (featured in @TheStage in May). This is a brilliant project taking professional dance companies into rural communities and settings.

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) was launched in 2015 with the aim of bringing exciting and innovative dance theatre and dance performance to rural locations, using the established rural touring schemes to help make this happen successfully.

Take Art are one of the partners within the project, alongside leading dance institution The Place; Birmingham-based independent producing studio China Plate; and the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF), the membership body for rural touring schemes in the UK. Please visit the National Rural Touring Forum's website for full information about this project, along with archives, resources and full UK listings


Rural Touring Dance Initiative: Contemporary dance heads to the UK’s furthest corners

by Rachel Elderkin - May 15, 2019

Since 2015, the RTDI’s mission has been to bring pioneering dance companies to village halls and community venues from north-east Scotland to the tip of Cornwall. Choreographers and organisers tell Rachel Elderkin about the challenges and rewards of touring to far-flung places

Six years ago, contemporary dance made up just 2% of the rural touring sector. Here was a gap waiting to be filled, but the question was: could a genre often considered niche and inaccessible really work in a village hall?

In 2015, the National Rural Touring Forum joined with contemporary dance centre the Place, rural touring scheme Take Art and theatre company China Plate to launch the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. The move followed Arts Council England’s rural evidence and data review, which showed that only 2% of dance companies receiving national portfolio organisation funding toured to rural areas.

With the RTDI in its second three-year funding cycle from ACE and with 160 performances to date, it seems contemporary dance and rural touring might prove a successful partnership.

It’s not a new idea for contemporary dance to visit small venues or outlying areas – numerous works are created for outdoor performance, specific locations and non-theatre spaces – yet rural touring itself is not widely considered when making new work. As Claire Smith, project manager for the RTDI, points out, that lack of prominence not only prevents many people from seeing contemporary dance but from discovering they might like it. “Tickets are expensive. You might need childcare and have to travel an hour to get there – if you’re not a real enthusiast why would you go and see something? But if it’s at your village hall, then you’re far more likely to try it.”

This experience was shared by David Lane who, since 2012, has been a ‘volunteer promoter’ for Live and Local – a network of more than 280 village halls and other community-run organisations that bring performances to village halls, churches and schools, and one of the 30 member schemes under the NRTF umbrella. Through these schemes, volunteer promoters at rural venues across the UK help set up, run and promote visiting shows to their local community. “Where we live is quite isolated,” says Lane, promoter for Crich Glebe Field Centre in Derbyshire. “There’s no public transport after 7pm, it’s 13 to 15 miles from a main theatre – finding stuff to see isn’t easy.”

CLICK HERE to read the full article on The Stage website

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