DART East Midlands Call



DART (standing for Developing Artists/Art for Rural Touring) is an initiative run by Live & Local with the objective of helping emerging (or established) companies and artists take their first steps in rural touring. Its key aims are those of identifying and nurturing new talent, developing exciting new work for rural touring audiences, and deepening audience engagement with the arts by bringing them closer to the art itself. The East Midlands DART Day aims to launch this strand of work within the region and provide an opportunity to artists and companies from or working primarily within Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Who We Are — Live & Local, Little Earthquake and the DART Board

Live & Local has grown in twenty-four years from a pilot project in Warwickshire into a confident and effective broker for a range of arts activities across Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Leicestershire & Rutland, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, and an essential part of the arts infrastructure in the East and West Midlands. Live & Local contributes to improving the quality of life within the participating communities by enabling arts activities through community self-help. Success stems from its partnerships within the participating communities and working with appropriate professional artists and a widely skilled staff team and Board. The organisation’s greatest asset is a network of approximately 300 voluntary groups from a wide range of rural and other communities, without whose support this activity would not happen as it is they who choose and run the events. Live & Local is a Band 2 National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) of the Arts Council England and also works with a range of other funders and partners.

Little Earthquake is a theatre company based in Walsall, which Co-Directors Gareth Nicholls and Philip Holyman have been running since 2005. Back in 2013, Live & Local supported Little Earthquake’s very first show for rural touring, The Tell-Tale Heart, which went on to be picked up by a further four schemes in other regions. Phil attended the 2014 National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) New Directions Showcase in York as a Live & Local Supported Artist. Phil is now one of the two artists on the National Rural Touring Forum Board, with a particularly strong role in conference and showcase curation and delivery, and on representing artists’ interests at Board level.

Alongside the Live & Local and Little Earthquake team, you’ll get to meet a crack squad of people who are passionate and knowledgeable about rural touring — and we call them the DART Board. The panel will be made up of experts drawn from different aspects of the sector — actual village venue promoters; theatre, dance and spoken word/live literature practitioners and producers; consultants from funding bodies, local authorities and other support organisations.

Who It’s For

Live & Local has already led DART programmes for people in its West Midlands patch: the 2018 DART Day is the first one dedicated exclusively to artists and companies based and working in the East Midlands. We’re defining the East Midlands as the following areas (the counties and any city authorities which exist within the counties):

Derbyshire Leicestershire Lincolnshire
Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire Rutland

While there’s room for a wide range of work to tour rurally, we’re concentrating on three main areas for DART this time round: (1) theatre, (2) dance and (3) spoken word/live literature. Within those categories, there’s still huge scope for you to push at the limits of what’s possible in the field of performance — in live work, digital work, or work which combines the two.

DART is all about introducing artists and companies to rural touring who have no experience of taking their work to rural communities and have never worked with rural touring schemes before. It doesn’t matter how long or how short a time you’ve been practicing your art form — the important thing is that you’re genuinely interested in finding out more about rural touring and in starting a new journey of discovery with us. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out, we want to hear from you!

That does mean that if you’re NOT based and working in the East Midlands — if you’re NOT creating theatre, dance, spoken word or live literature performances — or if you DO already have some experience of rural touring, then this particular opportunity isn’t the right one for you. (We therefore won’t be able to consider an application from you, even if you go to the trouble of submitting one.)

What Will Happen

After the deadline, the Live & Local team will read all submissions received and will prepare a shortlist for the DART Board to consider. Between them, Live & Local and the DART Board will then select and invite six artists/companies to take part in the DART Day. (At this stage, we expect to invite two artists/companies from theatre, two from dance and two from spoken word/literature to join us.).

The DART Day will take place at a rural venue located centrally within the East Midlands in June. Little Earthquake will facilitate the day itself, with a mixture of showcases, presentations and tailored conversations. It’s an opportunity for artists and companies to find out more about the wonderful world of rural touring from people who love it, live it and breathe it. It’ll also be a perfect introduction to the practicalities of performing in a typical village hall venue — a chance to experience the unique relationship with promoters as well as to embrace the creative challenges of working in a space with little or no technical infrastructure. (We will provide a basic lighting and sound rig, similar to those you would use in a rural tour).

It’s an opportunity for Live & Local to meet some exciting artists and companies working on our East Midlands patch — and a chance for everyone involved to make some new connections and to learn more about what each other does. It’ll be fun, informal and fuelled by tea and cake: it’ll reflect the very greatest values of rural touring!

Every artist and company who takes part will be offered follow-up resources, information and support from Live & Local and Little Earthquake. There’s no secret cash prize, no magical commissioning pot and no guarantees of immediate tour bookings — but DART Day is the first step that will help artists and companies make the giant leap into getting more involved with the rural touring network. And the rest will be up to you…!

What’s In It For You

Each artist or company will receive the following:

  • An opportunity to showcase their work (in extract) to Live & Local, Little Earthquake and the DART Board in a representative village hall venue and in a supportive environment to a select audience made up of the other Artists/Companies, The DART Board and other interested invited guests;
  • Follow-up feedback and recommendations from the panel on the “rural readiness” of their work, particularly in relation to current market forces, promoter and audience appetite for similar work and logistical considerations;
  • Document packs, web links and other key resources containing useful information on all major aspects of rural touring;
  • Some mentoring and/or advisory contact after DART Day, through in-person, Skype or telephone meetings with Live & Local and/or Little Earthquake to provide bespoke support;
  • An up-to-date list of information on all active UK rural touring schemes, including contact details for each scheme;
  • A free copy of Eyes Wide Open, a practical guide to rural touring for performers and companies (worth £5);
  • A complimentary ticket (one per artist / company member) for a Live & Local-promoted performance of their choosing (subject to availability — rural touring shows often sell out in advance!);
  • A one-year Associate Membership of NRTF (worth £25 for new members) which gives access to opportunities, newsletters, events and discounts (on things like NRTF Conference bookings);
  • Reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses for attending DART Day;
  • Lunch and refreshments throughout DART Day.
  • Copies of any photographs, video/audio recorded during the DART Day to use for promotional purposes.

How To Get Involved

To apply, please visit the following link and complete the online application form:

DART East Midlands Application Form

Online submissions and additional materials should be submitted no later than 12pm on 15th March 2018. Additional materials can be emailed to Chris Davis on chris@liveandlocal.org.uk or sent by post to Live & Local, Pageant House, 2 Jury Street, Warwick CV34 4EW.


Here are the important dates in the DART schedule:

Wednesday 7th February 2018 DART call-out launched
Thursday 15th March 2018 @ 12pm Deadline for submissions from artists/companies
Wednesday 18th April 2018 DART Board meets to select artists/companies
Thursday 19th April 2018 All applicants notified of outcome
Friday 18th May 2018 Deadline for technical information from artists/companies taking part in DART Day
Thursday 7th June 2018 DART Day (venue tbc)

After the DART Day on Thursday 7th June, the DART Board will meet again to formulate the specific offers of support tailored to each artist/company that has taken part. Live & Local will follow up with each artist/company to share more information after that meeting has taken place (before the end of June 2018.)

Contact Details for further info

If you would like any further information about DART or the East Midlands DART Day, or have any questions about the process please contact Chris Davis at Live & Local.


Tel. 01926 402 173

If you wish to download a PDF copy of this call – you can do so HERE

You can find out more about Rural Touring by downloading the NRTF’s “Rural Touring in a Nutshell, a brief overview for companies and performers” HERE

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