National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) and their partners China Plate Theatre, The Place and Take Art are proud to announce the companies that have been selected to be part of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative

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Contemporary dance companies join forces
with the National Rural Touring Forum

A collection of eight renowned contemporary dance companies and artists are set to take dance to a new level – the rural stage. 
National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) and their partners China Plate Theatre, The Place and Take Art are proud to announce the companies that have been selected to be part of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. Eight companies have been chosen to tour their existing shows in 2016-17 with a further five shortlisted to create a new work to tour in 2017-18.
Four of the eight companies selected for 2016-17; Panta Rei, Phoenix Dance, Spilt Milk and Sonia Sabri Company, were pre-selected part of the bi-annual New Directions showcase 2014. The other four companies; Lost Dog, Protein, Joan Clevillé Dance and Lîla Dance applied as part of the open call which saw 155 companies and independent artists apply to the Rural Touring Dance Initiative.
A further five companies; James Wilton Dance, Sarah Blanc’s Moxie Brawl, Tom Dale Company, Greg Wohead and Ben Wright’s bgroup, have been shortlisted to receive a potential commission of £45K to create a new show. As part of the initiative these five companies will take part in a week long residency ‘The Darkroom’ where their ideas will be developed and explored further.
All companies will attend ‘The Lab’ a three-day specially designed course to be held at national folk arts centre, Halsway Manor in Somerset 19-21 October. The course will focus on addressing the challenges of re-working a production so that it can adapt to the variety of spaces that make up the rural touring network.
Commenting on the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, the NRTF’s Development Director, Ralph Lister, said:
“The response we received was beyond our wildest expectations. Contemporary dance is not something you would normally associate with rural locations so it is particularly encouraging that so many people working within this area of the arts are positive to the idea of exploring the concept”
Ralph continued:
“Due to the superb quality of the applicants it was hard to select just the nine – in fact we originally only intended to take eight forward.  The final list though is a wonderful blend of people we have worked with previously and shows that have already been well received in places such as the Edinburgh Fringe, with others that we are starting new collaborations with and ideas that are at the very beginning of their journeys.”
James Wilton of James Wilton Dance expressed his delight about being involved with the initiative:
“I am thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative for many reasons. I am really excited about my choreographic idea and the intimate rural touring setting would be the perfect setting for it. I relish the challenge of having my work in many venue types, from large scale venues to village halls, and believe that the physicality is capable of reaching out to people in all environments. Also, having grown up in and now living in a rural setting, it is essential for me to present work within these communities.”


Shortlisting Process

The shortlisting and selection process was carried out by Ed Collier (China Plate Theatre), Katey Leader (Take Art: Dance Service), Eddie Nixon (The Place) and Ralph Lister (NRTF) supported throughout by Catherine Greenwood (The Place). In addition a number of touring schemes were asked to comment on a long shortlist of companies prior to final selection and they included The Touring Network (Scotland), Carn to Cove (Cornwall) and Take Art: Rural Touring Service (Somerset).
About The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF)

NRTF represents a number of mainly rural touring schemes and rural arts development agencies, across England, Wales and Scotland that aim to help local people to promote high quality arts events and experiences in rural and other community venues. NRTF members include rural touring schemes, voluntary promoting groups, performing companies, artists, musicians, producers, small venues and festivals.

About The Place

Leading the way in dance training, creation and performance since 1969, The Place is an exciting, innovative dance hub, where artists come to push creative boundaries, experiment and to perform outstanding new work for audiences who want to be inspired and delighted. It is an international hub for dance development presenting cutting-edge performance, providing conservatoire level dance training, commissioning new work, supporting artists to take creative risks, and offering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy dance.

About China Plate Theatre

China Plate is an independent theatre studio that collaborates with artists, venues and funders to make original, inspiring new work. Our activity encompasses producing, touring, programming and training. Artist development provides the engine room for all of our activity and is the foundation from which the company grew. In addition to The Darkroom, our artist development and commissioning schemes include, The Optimists, The Spring Festivals Commission, The Bite Size / First Bite Commission, The Suitcase Prize, this_is_tomorrow and [email protected] China Plate are Associate Producers at Warwick Arts Centre and The New Wolsey and have a long term relationship with the NRTF with whom they program the New Directions showcase.

About Take Art
Take Art is a pioneering arts charity based on a farm in rural Somerset. Uniquely it houses both a County Dance Agency and also a Rural Touring Service (alongside other Services). It has a commitment to both supporting the development and promotion of high quality arts practice, working with artists and companies locally, nationally and internationally. It also aims to enable Somerset residents to experience and participate in high quality arts activities.
Websites for further information

Dance Companies / Artists
James Wilton Dance –
Sarah Blanc –
Tom Dale Company –
Greg Wohead –
Lost Dog  –
Joan Clevillé Dance –
Lîla Dance –
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