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 as follows;

  • 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 the following;

  • 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

Since 2015, 115 RTDI performances have been staged in rural venues across the UK, 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; 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.

The Next Steps for the RTDI  

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) in partnership with The Place, Take Art and China Plate are continuing to support the touring and making of dance for rural areas through a second major award from Arts Council England Strategic Touring programme, and a new award from Arts Council Wales.

We are seeking artists to take part in this project. There are opportunities to tour existing shows to rural locations, and we are offering two commissions of £10k to make a new show for rural touring, which will support a residency in a village hall. There are a limited number of grants of up to £5,000 for artists with existing shows to adapt shows for rural touring. Companies interested in applying should visit for further information.

Additionally, over the next three years the RTDI aim to involve more children and young people, as well as support workshops for promoters interested in staging dance performances in village halls and rural venues around the UK, many of whom are volunteers working to stage high quality performance in the heart of their communities.        

RTDI will also develop partnerships with Pavilion Dance South West and DanceEast, capitalising on this burgeoning new dance audience.

 “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, Dance Director, Take Art

Find out more about RTDI  

Whoever you are – 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 Alice Porter at  

Contact RTDI Manager Claire Smith 

Twitter: @rural_dance  #ruraldance