Totally Local

Local and Live. Community-owned. Artist-led.

A new local arts and community network for Somerset for 2021. Precipitated by Covid-19, Totally Local will strengthen and develop Take Art’s existing rural touring scheme and will establish a new network between our volunteer promoters and the wider Somerset performing arts sector.


What’s our purpose?

Following Covid-19 disruption to community rural life, we want to:

• Encourage village residents to safely re-emerge and reintegrate with their neighbours and community, thus building public confidence to socialize and make new memories

• Support the fragile Somerset arts sector (mainly freelancers) recover their lost business and transform into a new way of working locally

• Set up a one-year programme of activities, including online events between Nov 20-March 21, and a range of outdoor performances between May- September 21


The Background

For Summer 2021, we are adapting our conventional programme of offering professional touring work from national and international pool of performance companies to include this new project. 

The outcome of the Totally Local network will enable both individuals and companies to connect and form strong relationships going into the future that will have a lasting benefit for both rural communities and the companies that live within the county.

A steering group made up of 5 rural promoting groups and several Somerset freelance theatre-makers have been meeting regularly since November 2020 to get this project off the ground. These include volunteer promoters from Churchinford, Hatch Beauchamp, Norton sub Hamdon and Curry Mallet.

The theatre-makers include Esme Patey-Ford from Kerchief Theatre, Jenny Grant & Joe Garbett from aKa Dance and Jackie Clementines.

The promoters are representing the wider Somerset network of 30 different rural communities and the theatre-makers are representing the wider Somerset performing arts sector.

What will happen in 2021?

Take Art promoters and Somerset performers have all been invited to join the network. Performers have submitted their outdoor shows for consideration to make up a Summer 2021 programme of work.

A selection panel made up of six promoters, an independent artist and Take Art, have chosen over a dozen different performances to tour between May-September 21. The criteria was for work that is generally enjoyable, memorable, ambitious, well-performed, affordable and entertaining. Performances that contribute to a balanced programme with appeal to a wide range and mix of audiences, ie family-friendly shows that reflect the needs, wishes and tastes of local audiences.

All rural promoters currently on Take Art’s database are invited to make their booking choices by Easter. If you are a volunteer promoter who would like to be on this database, contact sarah@takeart.org before 15th March.

Outdoor performances taking place between May-September 2021 will be advertised via Take Art’s website and through Totally Local’s wide network of village promoters and Somerset artists. 

This is a one-year project funded by Somerset local authorities through the Business Rates & Retention grant programme.


Testimonials from artists & promoters:

'We really need this. Artists need the opportunity to build deeper relationship with rural audiences.' Nick White, Wassail Theatre

'This network has enabled me personally to feel supported at a very challenging time for freelancers.' Esme Patey Ford, Kerchief Theatre

'Hatch Beauchamp is planning to open the village hall after lockdown and planning a Take Art open theatre event on the field will help to launch the hall opening.' Sue Comer-Jones