Rural Touring Lab


Mon 19 Jul - Wed 21 Jul 2021, 101 Outdoor Arts and online

Produced by 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space and Applause Rural Touring

A two-day residential training and development lab to upskill and prepare dance and contemporary circus artists for creating and touring outdoor work within rural locations and urban communities.

This practical event delved into the nuts and bolts of outdoor rural touring, offering detail and insight about where to look for commissioning and touring opportunities, examples of tried and tested techniques, and approaches to making work for these settings. There was also advice on building partnerships with promoters and rural communities.

The two and a half day Lab included a varied programme of workshops, seminars and creative tasks in order to expand participants' development and thinking in different contexts.

The sessions featured contributions from sector organisations including Applause Rural Touring, The National Rural Touring Forum, Live & Local & Creative Arts East, as well as practical performance workshops from theatre, dance and circus companies successfully making work for these contexts.

The Lab included a welcome dinner and opportunities for 1 to 1 mentoring sessions throughout the event to enable participants to explore their own artistic practice and its suitability.

Two people in masks lean over a table writing on large pieces of paper.
Participants at the rural touring lab.

The participants were mainly artists who were looking for opportunities to be commissioned by rural touring networks for small-scale outdoor work. The Lab had to go online after the first day due to a covid case but managed to deliver most of the intended content.

The participants could request one to one sessions with Applause, Live & Local or 101 – several took up this opportunity and went to apply successfully for commissions.

"The format worked really well. Hearing from touring networks first gave us a platform to understand the inner workings and structures of the organisations and to visualise what rural touring is like. This was then enhanced by hearing directly from artists, to understand and visualise how to best create and place your own work into rural touring settings."

Participant feedback.