National Rural Touring Forum Conference July 2011

During July several of the Live & Local team along with two Promoters from Warwickshire and Worcestershire (Shindig) headed down to Carleon near Newport to attend the annual National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) conference.

The conference is a huge event on the rural touring calendar, attended by rural and community touring schemes from across England and Wales as well as performing arts companies, promoters and Arts Council representatives. This year’s conference, ‘Extending the Reach’, took place at the University of Wales, Newport in Carleon, a beautiful spot with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Our schedule for the three days was jam packed with showcases, discussions, presentations and networking. We chatted and compared notes with other schemes, met artists, saw some fabulous showcases and enjoyed listening to some of the local promoters viewpoints as part of the conference’s ‘Promoter Voice’ sessions.

There were presentations that explored subjects such as how to make rural touring even more environmentally friendly, exciting examples of how digital technology can be used to extend reach, including live streaming and site specific work and working with young people.

A key part of the conference was the opportunity to see showcases from 21 performing arts companies across a wide range of artforms. There were some excellent show excerpts including a marvellous upbeat performance by Jamie Smith’s Mabon and an offbeat but hilarious performance by Paul Granjon who demonstrated some of his electronic machines, including a disco dancing robot and electronic tail and animal ears!

To read more notes from the conference, including some videos of the sessions visit

Emma Lewis

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