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Rural touring dance scheme extends after landing £500k Arts Council boost

Scene from Point of Echoes, the the Rural Touring Dance Initiative's first commission. Photo: Ed Collier

The scheme set up to bring the “most exciting contemporary dancers” to rural areas around the UK is to extend its work for three more years after receiving £500,000 in funding from Arts Council England.

The National Rural Touring Forum teamed up with dance institution the Place, producers China Plate and Somerset-based dance agency Take Art to set up the Rural Touring Dance Initiative in 2015 [1]. Its work will now continue until at least 2021.

It was formed in response to the Arts Council review that found that only 2% of dance companies in ACE’s national portfolio toured their work to rural areas.

The scheme’s initial three-year period ends in July 2018, with the RTDI’s first commission, Point of Echoes, touring from spring next year.

RTDI will now receive a further £416,855 from the Arts Council’s strategic touring fund, and aims to provide 195 performances in the UK over the next three years, up from 115 performances staged in the scheme’s first three years.

The next phase of the initiative will also focus more on involving children and young people, and RTDI will develop partnerships with Pavilion Dance South West and DanceEast.

Ed Collier, director of China Plate, said: “This significant second tranche of funding from ACE will allow us to really embed a culture of making dance for rural audiences amongst the most exciting contemporary dance practitioners and companies.”

Eddie Nixon, director of theatre at the Place, added: “The success of this initiative in the first two years has shown there’s a huge appetite for dance performance among audiences in rural venues and a real desire among dance companies to tour there.

“This support from Arts Council England means we can allow this interest to flourish well into the future.”