We enjoyed a fantastic few days at Worcester University for the New Directions Showcase 2018 and this year it was our turn to host the event alongside NRTF (National Rural Touring Forum).
After many hours of decorating, the sports hall was transformed into Worcester University’s very own ‘Village Hall’ – the area used by delegates to relax between shows and (more importantly) the perfect place for meeting and talking to other interesting attendees, all with one thing in common: a great passion for the arts and rural touring. The ‘Faceback’ team were also there to assist with creating networking opportunities; those wanting to be involved were given a badge containing a picture of a fellow delegate’s face, they were then set the challenge of tracking down the delegate wearing a badge of their own face and to get their ‘face back’. At the back of the Village Hall was a space for making appointments to meet with one of several Arts Council Touring Reps.
This year’s showcase was curated by China Plate Theatre, who had the difficult job of choosing a selection of shows from over 250 applicants, and they did not disappoint! Described by one delegate as ‘a great selection of work’, shows included everything from a dancing dog to spoken word artists. One of the many highlights was Little Earthquake’s two-man show, ‘I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost!’ a darkly-comic tale of Gareth, who shares his home with a mischievous ghost. Another firm favourite was Nikki & JD’s performance ‘Knot’; the story of a modern-day affair told sensitively through the mediums of dance and acrobatics.
The much-anticipated National Rural Touring Awards Ceremony took place on the Wednesday night, hosted by writer and performer Ian McMillan (and former poet-in-resident of Barnsley Football Club, Northern Spirit Trains and Humberside Police). Congratulations to all who were nominated for an award as well as the winners. Following the ceremony, NRTF Director Holly Lombardo acknowledged how privileged she felt to be part of the awards: “hearing people talk about why they value the productions and people in Rural Touring Network and why they have made a difference to lives and their area has been heartwarming and inspiring.”
For more information about the event and to see a full list of nominees and winners visit the NRTF website.
After three fantastic days filled with talented performers, networking opportunities and many ice creams, the New Directions Showcase 2018 came to a close. All that is left to say is: well done to those who won one of our fabulous Village Hall themed raffle prizes and thank you for your support.
“The programme was varied, well constructed and managed to allow a little time for reflection on what we had seen.”
“The whole conference had a lovely tone to it. Thanks to all.”
“I congratulate everyone on the smooth running of the conference, would like to thank you for the hospitality. The balance of networking time and theatre time felt completely right.”