Rural Touring

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Fine Chisel, Neither There Nor Here. Photo by Paul Blakemore

What is Rural Touring?

Rural touring is about more than just performances... it plays an important part in the social life of small communities, it involves people of all ages and backgrounds, it can be a catalyst for community development

Only Connect Report by Francois Matarasso

We believe people living outside cities and large towns should have access to the best live arts experiences at an affordable price. That's why we started the Take Art Rural Touring scheme, which has been successfully serving the villages, towns and communities of Somerset since 1987.

What is Rural Touring?

The Rural Touring service is a very well-established and successful scheme for Somerset with an exemplary track record, set up to bring professional, high quality music, theatre, dance and performance to local venues and communities across Somerset.

It relies on the partnership between local volunteer promoters and Take Art - by working together, memorable social events are organised in rural areas where people live and meet. These events can help play a vital role in keeping villages alive and vibrant, strengthening communities and improving health and wellbeing. The Take Art Rural Touring team have years of expertise to share with promoters.

When are the shows and how do I see them?

You can book tickets either online or by calling the local promoter. It is advisable to call direct to check ticket prices and get info about refreshments, access, disabled parking facilities etc. Many halls run a bar, sell refreshments, or even offer a meal at the event but you may wish to check in advance. Whatever the arrangements, you will be guaranteed a warm welcome, a friendly atmosphere and a memorable experience.

You can opt to receive email alerts about upcoming shows via either email or post through our mailing list. For a large print version of the Take Art programme please contact 01460 249450.

Bringing great touring shows to the UK

Here's the video summary of Spanish circus company D'Click, depicting their passage through the South of England with their circus theatre show Isla, which they presented in village halls, churches and community settings, along with accompanying workshops. The film gives a really great glimpse into life on tour and the realities, challenges and joy of bringing an international show onto the UK rural touring scheme.

Take Art and Carn to Cove in Cornwall made the tour possible by supporting D'Click's tour, getting them bookings and providing them with their set and equipment. 

"It has been a beautiful experience. Thank you very much to all the people who with their effort have made it possible...!" D'Click

Rural Touring Advocacy Film created by the NRTF

Watch the film narrated by ian Mcmillan for a lovely first introduction to Rural Touring in the UK.


The Take Art Effect

For the 2017/2018 Rural Touring Season, which ran from September to April, Take Art put on 55 shows in 35 villages, working with 20 companies; entertaining and enthralling over 4,000 audience members from across Somerset.  

  • ProjectRIOTE2

    Outdoor theatre companies from across Europe are getting together to share skills and ideas, to look at setting up a rural touring network, to develop a theatre skills sharing programme and to develop new theatre methods. November 2017 – August 2019

    More info
  • ProjectHopper

    Taking place over two-years, Hopper brings specially created theatre shows into, pre-schools, nurseries, theatres, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from less advantaged areas.

    More info
  • ProjectRural Touring Dance Initiative

    The Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) brings exciting and innovative dance theatre and dance performance to rural locations, using the established rural touring schemes to help make this happen successfully. 2015 - present.

    More info

  • Get in Touch

    We are always interested in your feedback. If you have any comments to make please email Sarah Peterkin, Director of Rural Touring.

    If you've enjoyed a great show, we'd love you to leave feedback on our Facebook page to tell others!