Husband and wife team from Jestaminute Theatre tell us about their time at the NRTF Conference 2015…

Following on from Leila Sykes’ (Anonymous Is A Woman Theatre Company) post about her time at this year’s National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) Conference, we will now hear from husband and wife team, Andy and Jan from Jestaminute Theatre, who also attended the conference as part of DART.

Jestaminute Theatre is based in Redditch and the company uses performance and media arts to enhance the life and well-being of the residents in the Midlands.

Andy and Jan tell us about their time at the NRTF Conference….

“After a smooth journey across country we arrive in lovely Norfolk. After a little detour (!) around the area  to find a café for lunch we settle  on somewhere in Wymonham for a toasty sandwich. A retracing of steps  back to Wymonham College to register  – a slight disappointment as, after packing two cases and two sets of toiletries, we discover we are sharing room! So no peace from the snoring then!

Wanderlust by The Gramophones

Wanderlust by The Gramophones

A lovely friendly atmosphere and welcome from NTRF and Live & Local staff. A quick cuppa and settled down for opening presentations – very inspiring.

A little look at our first showcase – ‘Pubbetry’ by StrangeFace – and then off with a little trepidation to our meeting with Relationship Manager Jill Brown from ACE.  No need to have worried – a brilliant chat and good advice – hope it translates into a successful outcome for our current G4A! 

Schooldays memories for dinner in the canteen and then off on the coach to The Regal Cinema, Wymondham. for some more showcase performances – highlights were inspiring dance ‘H2H’ by Joli Vyann and music by Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb.

A drink in the bar and some good networking with someone who does folk music and lives on a canal – a useful good contact as we are (subject to funding) going to be doing some oral history and music work on our local canal. 

A good night’s sleep before a full day of activities starting with more showcases – puppets, balloons  and books; and then some more informative presentations before lunch, (no good for the diets!!) . Then a dividing of effort as we head off to the parallel sessions – Andy off to ‘What does “strategic” mean for rural touring?’, and Jan off to ‘Using research to evidence the social impact of rural touring’; followed by sessions on ‘Reimagining the Rural Tour’ and ‘Focus on core income’. We met up with our fellow Worcestershire thespians  Anonymous is a Woman Theatre Company and had some lovely chats, before one of them was drawn from the audience into another showcase, ‘L’Hotel’, and was married off!

Another trip out – this time Connaught Hall, Attleborough, for dinner and some more inspiring showcases.  Highlights were ‘Amsterdam’  by Chanje Kunda  – a one person show (again useful for us as our next main project will be a one man show), and ‘Wanderlust’ by The Gramophones – based on oral testimony (again something which chimes with our work).

Off to the bar and a fortuitous meeting with an actress whom we’d worked with in the past and had engaged to work with on our next project, and another networking opportunity with a theatre company who are based in Brighton, so some good conversations around the festival.   

On the final day, the last few showcases / presentations included highlights ‘The Powercut Compendium’ by Cartoon De Salvo, ‘The Boy who Became a Beetle’ by Little Earthquake & Black Country Touring (another good local contact made!), and finally the utterly brilliant ‘My Big, Fat, Cowpat Wedding’ by  Kali Theatre, Black Country Touring & Arts Alive.  Another breakout session  with some useful lessons about crowdfunding.

The final round up and then off home. A good few days, new friends made, and full of inspiration.”

Jan and Andy are from Jestaminute Theatre

To find out how you can benefit from the DART programme, please click on OPPORTUNITIES FOR ARTISTS or OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROMOTERS & AUDIENCES.

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Performance company, Anonymous Is A Woman, tell us about their time at this year’s NRTF Conference…..

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.

FANY by Anonymous Is A Woman

FANY by Anonymous Is A Woman

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

To find out how you can benefit from the DART programme, please click on OPPORTUNITIES FOR ARTISTS or OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROMOTERS & AUDIENCES.

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Pentabus group – first meeting

The first meeting of Pentabus Theatre Co and the group of Live & Local/Shindig promoters and Friends met on an evening in June in Maxstoke as the sun set behind the village hall…

 Maxstoke

The meeting was a round table discussion between commissioned playwright Hattie Naylor, Pentabus Artistic Director Elizabeth Freestone, and people who promote and attend performances within rural touring schemes and who were interested to come together to be involved in the development of Pentabus’ new touring play for 2016. The discussion ranged from the practicalities of village hall performances to the experiences of rural living, how these might be ‘truthfully’ represented in a play for a rural audience, or whether a more fantastical and transformative experience was what audiences wanted.

 

As Development Manager for Live & Local I was involved in setting up this up this project with Pentabus, and my experience of attending the first meeting of the group was a happy one, feeling that the conversation was flowing and the participants were finding the experience of participating enjoyable and stimulating. The project will continue with more development meetings through to opportunities for the group to attend an actors’ workshop with the script, rehearsals and of course the play on tour.

Sally Rew

NRTF Conference 2015

The National Rural Touring Forum Conference took place last week in Wymondham, Norfolk, and we provided six artists with bursaries to attend.  The companies attending were Jestaminute Community Theatre and Anonymous Is A Woman Theatre Company from Worcestershire, and PAD Productions from Derbyshire.

We will soon post blogs from these companies to tell you all about their NRTF Conference experiences.

Follow the DART blog to be kept up to date with future opportunities like this one.

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NRTF Conference – bursaries deadline 18 May

Reminder that Live & Local has bursaries available for performing artists in the Midlands to attend the NRTF Conference – the event is sold out but we have our places booked, so please make your expressions of interest by next Monday!  See Opportunities for Artists page.

Promoter and audience development opportunity with Pentabus Theatre Co

Live & Local / Shindig is putting a call out to promoters and enthusiastic audience members in the communities we serve in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire to take part in an exciting opportunity to be involved in the creative process of making a new play with Pentabus Theatre Company – see Opportunities for Promoters & Audiences page for further information!

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Presentations for higher education performing arts students

Live & Local is offering a presentation on rural touring to students on performing arts courses in higher education. For further information on this new intiative within DART go to the OPPORTUNITIES page.

NRTF Bursaries

Live & Local is pleased to announce the availability of bursaries for performing artists from the Midlands to attend the NRTF Conference 2015. See the OPPORTUNITIES page for further details

DART-Day a great success

The culmination of the first stage of the Developing Artists in Rural Touring project took place in a lively, interactive “DART-Day” on the 20th November. Five artist groups gathered at the vibrant Number 8 Community Arts Centre, Pershore, to perform extracts from their work and attend advice sessions with Sarah Benn, Live & Local’s Marketing Officer, on marketing and with Steve Wilson, County Arts Officer for Worcestershire, on opportunities for creating and performing work in Worcestershire. A panel including representatives from local authorities, rural touring programmers, experienced touring performers and producers were on hand to feed back on the work that was shown, and after a very thorough and collaborative day the companies felt they had enjoyed and benefitted from the experience. Thanks to all who made the day such a success, particularly our panel members and participating artists, Jestaminute Community Theatre, Mumbo-Jumbo, Parlor Dance, Remi Harris Gypsy Jazz with Deborah Rose and Tin Box Theatre.

The panel will be meeting again soon to discuss future DART activity.

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DART-Day selected artists announced

DART is very pleased to announce the performing artists and groups that have been selected for DART-Day on Wednesday 20th November.

A panel of experienced promoters and artists met together to select the groups that will be participating next month, which are:

– Jestaminute Community Theatre
– Keneish Dance
– Mumbo-Jumbo
– Parlor Dance
– Remi Harris Gypsy Jazz with Deborah Rose
– Tin Box Theatre

DART is very excited to be working with these artists and groups to support their development towards opportunities in Worcestershire and in the wider rural and small-scale touring contexts.

Check back on this site for further opportunities to work with Developing Artists in Rural Touring.