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National Rural Touring Forum & China Plate seek artists to perform New Directions 2018 showcase

1 November 2017

The Bi-annual rural touring showcase will return in June at Worcester University.

Theatre and dance companies interested in introducing their work to the rural touring sector are invited to apply to participate in the New Directions showcase, taking place at Worcester University from 26-28 June 2018.

New Directions 2018 will bring together rural touring schemes, venues, voluntary promoters and artists to sample shows, see work, share experiences with other promoters and broaden their knowledge of work available.

It also offers theatre companies the opportunity to highlight the quality and style of their work by participating in the showcase festival, programmed by independent producing studio China Plate and hosted by the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF), the membership organization for rural touring schemes, with Live & Local, a rural & community touring scheme covering parts of the East and West Midlands.

For the showcase they are seeking entertaining, surprising and stimulating performance reflecting the best of contemporary theatre, performance and dance available for rural touring in 2019. All work featured at the showcase will be selected on the basis of quality and appropriateness for the rural market.

Speaking about the showcase John Laidlaw, Executive Director of Live & Local and NRTF board member said

“We are looking for bold and exciting work from a diverse range of artists – performances and people that reflect and celebrate the best of Britain and beyond and we welcome applications from all artists undertaking innovative work in disciplines such as theatre, physical theatre, digital art, dance, spoken word and circus arts. We are keen to hear from artists and companies who are not currently making work for rural touring, but who have a genuine desire to engage with rural audiences, and to change or adapt how they work to become suitable for rural touring.”

The showcase programme will be selected by a working group of China Plate, Live & Local, Worcester University Drama Department and the NRTF. The working group are particularly looking for tour-ready work however a limited number of shows in development will also be considered.

All participating artists/companies will be offered a small showcasing fee to cover expenses.

Audiences for rural touring are growing in the UK with the NRTF’s most recent survey results indicating a 26% growth in audiences over the past decade. 

Interested artists who fit the eligibility criteria outlined at RURAL TOURING SHOWCASE 2018 are invited to complete the online application form. Applications will close at 5 pm on 16th February 2018.

All applications will be considered by a short-listing panel of China Plate, Live & Local and NRTF.

This collective will make the final decisions with regard to the showcase shortlist by the end of March 2018, at which point unsuccessful candidates will be notified.

There will not be room in the showcase programme for every shortlisted candidate to be offered a place, but all shortlisted candidates will be kept informed of the progress of their application as the collective finalises the programme. All shortlisted candidates will be notified, and the full showcase line-up confirmed, no later than the end of April 2018.

We regret that it may not be possible to follow up all companies and that we will be unable to give feedback on the work submitted for consideration.

About the NRTF
The National Rural Touring Forum is a member-led organisation that works strategically with partners to develop work and deliver high quality art experiences that strengthen rural and other communities. It provides the rural touring network with training, information and networking services and enable international partnerships and commissions. The organisation aims to promote better understanding of the value of rural and community touring through research and advocacy.

About China Plate
China Plate is an independent theatre studio that works with artists, venues, festivals and funders to challenge the way performance is made, who it’s made by and who gets to experience it. Launched by Ed Collier and Paul Warwick in 2006, the company is currently collaborating with Caroline Horton, Chris Thorpe / Rachel Chavkin, Contender Charlie, Dan Jones, Rachel Bagshaw, Inspector Sands, Joan Clevillé, David Edgar, Katie Lyons / Ella Grace, Ben Wright, Christopher Haydon and Urielle Klein Mekongo. China Plate are Associate Producers at Warwick Arts Centre where they develop and commission new work, Artistic Associates at the New Wolsey Theatre where they are Directors of PULSE Festival, Programmers of New Directions (the NRTF showcase) and Programme Consultants for Hull City of Culture 2017 (Back to Ours Festival). They are producers of innovative development programmes including The Darkroom, The Optimists (producer training), The First Bite and Bite Size Festivals and the NRTF Rural Touring Dance Initiative

About Live & Local
Live & Local Ltd. is a not-for-profit organisation providing high quality, professional and diverse arts experiences to communities across the Midlands, championing and developing great art and culture for everyone, and enhancing life quality, civil society and local economies. It co-ordinates seven Rural & Community Touring Networks across eight counties: Live & Local Derbyshire, Live & Local Staffordshire, Live & Local Warwickshire, Shindig Worcestershire, Centre Stage Leicestershire & Rutland, Lincolnshire Rural & Community Touring, and Village Ventures Nottinghamshire.

Live & Local is also engaged with a range of initiatives supporting: community film screenings (Big Picture Show and Moving Pictures Community Cinema Networks); artist development (DART: Developing Artists & Arts for Rural Touring); engagement with children and young people (Launchpad CYP); arts in health and wellbeing; outdoor arts; and economic and tourism development (RAW: Rural ArtWorks / Discover: Storytrails).