The annual National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) Conference took place at Wymondham College in Norfolk, across three days in July. As part of DART, three performing companies got the chance to attend the conference, to learn more about rural touring and what it means to work on such a big, national scheme.
One of the performers who attended the conference was Leila Sykes from Anonymous Is A Woman Theatre Company, who make innovative, challenging and collaborative theatre with women at its centre.
Leila has written about her time at the NRTF Conference and how it was inspirational to her…..
“As a company new to rural touring we were excited and a little nervous about attending the NRTF Conference. We knew we had a lot to learn! When we arrived at the conference we were kindly greeted by Live & Local staff who were quick to put us at ease and introduce us to the other associates of the scheme.
The schedule was packed, and every spare minute of the three days was taken up talking and networking with other delegates. It was a tiring, instructive and inspiring few days. During the opening speeches, we were a little worried that much of what was to be discussed would go over our heads, but with the help of the regular delegates we soon picked up the lingo.
We didn’t have enough time to talk to all the interesting people we heard speak, but luckily we had our handy business cards ready and have been able to follow up. As an emerging theatre company keen to bring our brand of innovative and high quality theatre to rural areas we were interested to hear debate from schemes and promoters about how they could encourage more of this work to be taken up.
Alongside the obvious benefits of us meeting schemes and promoters the conference also offered us the opportunity to talk to performers with rural touring experience. We learnt a lot about what to expect as performers and what audiences expect. They offered us candid advice and honest anecdotes which I’m sure will save us a lot of shocks and heartache in the future!
Through what we learnt we found the perfect structure for a story that has sat with us for sometime. We think it could find its home on the rural touring circuit. So not only was the conference informative but it was also inspirational! We met some brilliant people, learned invaluable lessons and had a lot of fun too! A Brilliant Experience – Thank you Live & Local and the NRTF.”
Leila Sykes from Anonymous Is A Woman Theatre Company