Rural touring is where professional performances take place in rural venues. These rural venues usually take the form of a Village Hall or Community Centre, but can also be pubs, libraries and outdoors. They are rarely fully equipped arts venues. Performances are programmed by a rural touring scheme and in Somerset this is TakeArt. They curate a varied season of events. Instead of all the events taking place in a couple of rooms in one building, they take place in lots of venues across a specific geographical area, sometimes whole counties, sometimes even further.

Rural touring work is very different from touring to city centres or venues in urban areas. Artists express high regard for rural touring venues and the level of professionalism from the promoters. They often talk about their appreciation of a certain “magic” and warmth of the audiences that happens at rural events which aren’t the same at larger halls or festivals.

“The heart of the reason why it’s different from a town centre art centre is that the audience knows each other. That contributes to the other thing that is distinctive, which is that rural touring events become part of shared memory, part of what builds community. So, for both of those reasons, I think that it is a very distinctive kind of artistic experience.”

François Matarasso, March 2019
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February 11, 2021
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events, rural, takeart
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