Rural Touring Dance Initiative

Making the best dance happen in small spaces


About the project


China Plate are delighted to announce a brand new partnership with NRTF (National Rural Touring Forum), The Place and Take Art to increase the reach and impact of dance in rural settings.

In March 2015, Arts Council England’s ‘Rural evidence and data review’ (March 2015) found that only 2% of NPO funded dance companies toured to rural areas in 2012/13. The three year project starting in May 2015, will engage eight companies in both the presentation of existing work (2016/17) and the development of new work ( to tour to rural settings.


The project will be delivered in partnership with one of the UK’s premier centres for contemporary dance, The Place, the leading organisation that looks after rural touring projects and venues, NRTF and Somerset’s rural touring scheme and county dance agency, Take Art.  Activity will include dance performance touring to rural areas, with a total of 115 shows being promoted in partnership with NRTF member rural touring schemes UK-wide through two menus of work running September to May 16/17 and September to May 17/18. The first menu of work will be offered to schemes in January 2016, and will include work from Phoenix Dance, Sonia Sabri, Spilt Milk, Norwegian Dance Company Panta Rei.

Participating Artists

We're delighted to announce the eight companies who will be presenting their work throughout 2016/17 as part of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative.

Panta Rei

Phoenix Dance

Spilt Milk

Sonia Sabri Company

Lost Dog


Joan Clevillé Dance

Lîla Dance

We are also working with five companies who have been shortlisted to receive a commission to make a new piece of work for the rural touring network.

James Wilton Dance

Sarah Blanc's Moxie Brawl

Tom Dale Company

Greg Wohead

Ben Wright's bgroup

Watch this space for more information about upcoming performances and project developments.


Companies Touring in 2016

Touring to various rural touring venues throughout October/November. For full listings and dates click here.


LOST DOG | Paradise Lost (lies open beside me) | 7 - 15 October

JOAN CLEVILLE | Plan B For Utopia | 11 - 12 November

PANTA REI | I Wish Her Well | 2 - 9 October

SPILT MILK | Say Dance | 13 - 15 October & 25 - 26 November

SPILT MILK | Blast From The Past | 21 - 23 October

PROTEIN | May Contain Food - May Contain You | 6 - 29 October

LILA DANCE | Deluge | 18 - 19 November



Project Partners

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF)

The National Rural Touring Forum 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.

The Place

The Place has been a driving force for contemporary dance in the UK for 45 years. The Place is unique and is comprised of a training organisation, a producing and receiving theatre, the home of Richard Alston Dance Company and a hub for hundreds of independent artists. Our artist development department provides professional development, training, residencies, commissioning and producing support for dance artists at each stage of their career.

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.

The Strategic Touring Programme

The Strategic Touring programme is designed to encourage collaboration between organisations, so that more people across England experience and are inspired by the arts, particularly in places which rely on touring for much of their arts provision. Its aims are that people across England have improved access to great art visiting their local area. 

This includes:

·         better access to high quality work for people in places in England which rely on touring for much of their arts provision
·         more high quality work to reach people and places with the least engagement
·         more high quality work on tour connecting more effectively with people across a wide range of venues
·         stronger relationships forged between those involved in artistic, audience and programme development on both the supply and demand side of touring
·         a wide range of high quality work on tour, including in particular more work by and for children and young people, and more work by and for people from diverse backgrounds