Professionals & Artist Development

Rural Dance Touring Initiative: Call Out For Artists

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 program, and a new award from Arts Council Wales.

We are seeking artists to take part in this project. This is an opportunity to tour existing work to rural locations; in addition to guaranteed show fees there are a limited number of bursaries averaging £1200 for artists with existing shows to adapt shows for rural touring. Companies who have toured with the RTDI have averaged 7 supported shows with fees varying from £850 to £1400 depending on scale and cost. There is also a paid for residential workshop exploring touring dance to rural locations to prepare artists for the experience.

Previous artists supported by the project include Lost Dog, Protein, Joan Cleville, Uchenna Dance and bgroup.

We are particularly keen to hear from disabled or BAME applicants to increase the diversity of dance touring rurally.

In addition to our usual program of work for adult audiences, this year we are particularly interested in touring a greater proportion of work suitable for children and families.

If you are interested in these opportunities please read all the guidelines fully, including the FAQs. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why tour rurally to village halls?

In the UK there is a wide network of rural touring schemes which work with voluntary promoting groups (village hall committees, pubs, local schools, church halls, community groups) to bring professional performing companies and artists to perform in their village or community venue. Rural venues are those outside towns and cities – from Surrey to the Highlands of Scotland.

Across the UK there are currently 30-member schemes, 1,650 promoting groups and 110,000 voluntary hours involved in rural touring resulting in 332,000 audience members and over £1,000,000 in box office sales.

The audiences and venues in rural areas are as diverse as in urban areas. Many artists have discovered how rewarding and enriching rural touring can be. It is a chance to share your work with different audiences, who have fewer opportunities to experience dance, in unique and distinctive venues, in often beautiful locations.

“We are in a state of bliss. I’ve never experienced dancers and crew being more satisfied and wanting to do more….” Luca Silvestrini, Protein Dance.

This is an opportunity for artists to extend the touring life of their work, and reach new audiences. Lost Dog Dance created Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) in 2015. In 2016/17 it toured to 11 venues, reaching an audience of 660. This show toured again in 2018 to 9 additional venues all through the RTDI. Having secured a reputation their new show Juliet & Romeo has secured 19 dates in 18/19.

Through the Rural Dance Touring Initiative 2 we seek to work with dance artists to develop and tour dance work to rural audiences and village halls. Dance is underrepresented on the rural touring circuit and we want to increase opportunities for rural audiences to experience brilliant new contemporary dance.

We’re looking for….

Artists who have an existing show which you think is ready to tour rurally, or ready with some adaptations, and is available to tour in autumn 20/spring 21.

Further information

If selected:

  • You will attend the Practical Introduction to Rural Touring for Dance Lab on 13-15 Nov 2019 in Dorset. This Lab is compulsory

The Lab is an opportunity for a representative from the selected companies to meet people from all aspects of the rural touring ecology and think about how we can make better dance shows for rural venues/ village halls and audiences. You will learn about how rural touring schemes work, think about how to adapt your work within the constraints of village hall touring, and how to make shows for communities in rural locations.

You will receive a fee for taking part in the lab.

  • If required, you will make adaptations to your show so that it is suitable for rural touring.

There are bursaries of on average £1200 available for artists to make adaptations to shows to make them more appropriate for the practical challenges of rural touring. If you are selected to tour your show, we will talk to you about whether this is required for your show.

  • Your show will be featured in the fifth national dance menu (20 20/20 21)

The menu will be distributed to rural touring schemes in January 2020. A ‘menu’ is a selected group of shows which is offered to rural touring schemes and their local promoters, to choose which show they want to put on in their venue. A Project Manager will broker potential interest from schemes and local promoters alongside the availability of the dance companies they are interested in.

There is no guarantee that your show will be chosen for touring. However, we expect that each show on the menu will be booked for four to eight performances each. The touring fee is subsidised through this scheme and will be negotiated on a case by case basis. Companies selected for menus so far during the life of the project have received fees ranging from £850 - £1400 per performance. This is inclusive of VAT and also includes any wraparound activity linked directly with your show – workshops if offered can be paid for separately.

There will be eight companies on the menu.

Touring will take place between September 2020 and June 2021.

If you plan to apply, and there are opportunities to see your work live between 3 May and 6 September 2019 then please invite us to see your work by emailing Claire Smith on We cannot guarantee that someone will be able to attend.

Click here to apply