Rural Touring Dance Initiative

What is the Rural Touring Dance Initiative?

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.

The aims of the project are:

  • To seek out great dance companies that are excited to tour rurally
  • To support rural promoters and schemes to build audiences for dance in rural spaces

The project offers:

  • Some of the most dynamic and charismatic contemporary dance companies in the UK. They are Lost Dog, bgroup, Phoenix Dance Theatre, James Wilton Dance, Lila Dance, Joan Cleville Dance and Uchenna Dance. They are joined by Corali, Shane Shambhu and Tom Dale Dance. 
  • Induction into Rural Touring for companies new to the sector and ongoing support
  • Commissioning opportunities
  • ‘Go and See’ opportunities for promoters, schemes and artists
  • Participation opportunities particularly for Young People

The Take Art Effect

So far the scheme has worked with 40 companies, promoting 140 shows to just under 13,000 audience members in rural venues across the UK. It included touring shows by Uchenna Dance, Lost Dog, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein and Joan Clevillé Dance.  The project has received overwhelmingly positive response from participating rural touring schemes and promoters.

The Partners

Take Art are one of the partners within the project, alongside leading dance institution The Place 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.

RTDI 3 will see new partnerships with Highlights; a rural touring scheme working aross the north of England and Sonia Sabri Company; a Birmingham-based dance company presenting Kathak dance in a contemporary context.

The Next Steps for the RTDI    

Since 2018, the RTDI partners have consulted widely with colleagues across the sector – including promoters, scheme managers, artists and producers – to develop a plan for the future of RTDI. We are hugely grateful to all who have taken part in this process and given generously of their time and enthusiasm.

In July 2022 RTDI were awarded funding of £400,000 from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and £450,000 from Arts Council England. These two funding awards will ensure RTDI continues its important work over the next four years, building on its success by working with and supporting more rural touring schemes, venues and dance artists across England, Wales and Scotland.

As well as supporting 10 new associate venues to programme dance in rural areas and market towns, many of them in Levelling Up for Culture places, the funding will enable RTDI to support eight dance artists & companies per year to tour their work to rural areas, with over 200 performances and 90 workshops expected between autumn 2023 and summer 2026

“Establishing a network of Rural Touring Scheme Dance Ambassadors is a key development for the next phase as is greater involvement of children and young people. We are excited to be part of this ground breaking audience development initiative and are determined to make it a great success”

Alison Lord, Director of Dance, Take Art

Watch our original feature film below which shows what we successfully acheived within the first three years of the project.

Find out more about RTDI  

If you want to keep in touch with what’s going on in RTDI you can visit, where you will find a wealth of information about the project including latest news, company profiles, previous menus and programmes.        

If you’d like to be added to the rural dance mailing list, to be among the first to know the latest project news, please email  

Contact Alison Lord, Director of Dance 

Twitter: @rural_dance  #ruraldance