DART Day February 2022

On 8th February 2022 Live & Local ran its third DART day. DART, Developing Artists in Rural Touring, is Live & Local’s artist development programme. It seeks to support and develop artists in the East and West Midlands who are interested in being involved in rural and community touring. The scheme began in Worcestershire when the then County Arts Officer, Steve Wilson worked with Live & Local to support Worcestershire-based artists. Flash forward eight years and Steve is now working with us as our Artist Engagement Officer, as keen as ever to work with artists taking their first steps into rural touring.

The most recent DART day took place at the National Civil War Centre in Newark for artists and arts organisations who work in or have strong connections to Lincolnshire or Nottinghamshire. The focus on these areas was guided by the fact that in the past we have had few artists from these counties on our Menu*. Rest assured that DART is available in all the counties we work with and there will be future opportunities in these locations.

*Menu = our list of shows published each year for our promoters to choose from.

The primarily-online recruitment process was accompanied by Steve’s trip to Lincoln where he met with staff from The University of Lincoln to raise awareness of our work and the scheme. We put out a call across our networks and on social media and were delighted by the response! From the applications we received, we selected nine companies/artists to attend the day, though due to circumstances beyond our control, six companies/artists were able to attend. Each company/artist received financial compensation as a contribution to their time/transport costs.

These were:

Jellyfish Theatre
a children and family theatre company
Tim Ralphs
a spoken word artist
Casson and Friends
a dance company
Amanda Mitchell
a circus performer and dancer
Red Sea Music
a jazz ensemble
Unanima Theatre
an inclusive theatre company

On the day

After a presentation from Steve about the work of Live & Local and rural and community touring, there was a practical exercise looking at the differences between rural touring and small-scale venue work before each of the companies were given time to talk about their own practice.

One of Live & Local’s volunteer promoters, Isobel Turner from Coddington, also attended to talk about rural touring from a promoter perspective. We were also delighted to welcome Laura from Next Door Dance to talk about her experience as part of a company previously featured on the Live & Local programme.

Feedback from participants

‘It was so great to be able to meet the team and find out more about the programme face-to-face. The chance to ask questions and get more detail was invaluable in getting a good picture of the programme.’

— James Tolhurst, Red Sea Music

The day was well received, and all the attendees were very generous with their time and thoughts. The DART day was just the start for these attendees, as it is part of a wider programme of support. We continue to support these artists in developing their practice and pieces for rural and community touring, with a view to them applying to be on the Live & Local programme in future.

‘Every part of the day was useful and improved my understanding of what the programme involves. It gave me all the information I needed to start thinking about how my work fits into the programme.’

— Tracy Radford, Unanima Theatre

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