A Very Special Thank You to Barbara Slack



As 2018 finishes as does Barbara Slacks' time as co-director of the rural touring scheme Highlights when she retires at the end of the month. Barbara has been at the helm of Highlights, and a much treasured rural touring colleague, for over 20 years. Back in summer, we celebrated Barbara and all her wonderful work, with the much deserved, NRTF Special Award. Her colleague, friend and Highlights co-director, Rosie Cross, gave a speech which left many of us with tears in our eyes.

To say thank you once again to Barbara for all the wonderful work she has done for Rural Touring in the UK, we wanted to share Rosie's speech once more. Don't worry though, we're not letting Barbara go that easily - Barbara will continue to host rural touring events as a voluntary promoter in Appleby, Cumbria, for years to come! 

NRTF Director goes to Juliet & Romeo




It was a dark and cold Sunday November evening, the type of evening you might light a fire and curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate... Not me!! I keenly left the house at 6pm in the pitch black to drive to a village called Collingbourne Duces in Wiltshire to see Juliet and Romeo.

Welcomed to a large village hall by the lady at reception who also manages the hall. I didn't catch her name but she was very friendly and accommodating and looking forward to seeing the production. The hall was already full, despite arriving in good time, bar open lots of chatter.

I sat on an agility table at the back, higher than the chairs, and normally used by the children's gym classes held there in the week. I was grateful as I could see the dancers feet this way! I got chatting to the couple in front of me. She commented that normally she knows everyone but this evening she didn't recognise most people. She believed people are travelling long distances to see the renowned dance company Lost Dog.

It starts, conversation aimed at the audience about a marriage in trouble, the audience finds itself part of some kind of interactive, memory based, marriage guidance counselling.

Heartbreak and humour, surrounded by beautiful dance and evoking memories. Anyone who's been in a long-term relationship can relate to aspects of this performance. It's self reflective, emotional and truly stunning. As it completes I need to take deep breaths and look at the ceiling, please don't cry!

I hung about to say hello to Ben Duke & Solene Weinachter who devised and performed Juliet and Romeo. I met Ben in 2004 at the very conception of Lost Dog Dance, when I was running a Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe (The Roman Eagle Lodge). So it was great to catch up being in my role as Director of NRTF.




Juliet & Romeo is touring as part of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative
more information on all the Dance tours can be found here - http://www.ruraltouring.org//rural-touring-dance/rural-touring-dance-initiative-dates-autumn-2018 

Attending a Menu Launch Party


Attending a Promoters’ show menu launch event is a bit like opening a box of chocolates. 

You know your eyes will light up as you get to see everything, you know you’ll get a bit of guidance, but then you know you’ll be left to just sit back, feel spoilt, and get to pick the ones you really like.

Top Tip for Promoters: Talk us through your apprehension



This week's top tip comes from Carn to Cove Scheme Manager, Claire Marshall and is aimed at venues and promoters.

The main points are:

  • If you're worried about taking a show for any reason talk to your Scheme
  • Schemes are here to make things work for everyone involved
  • Schemes can't help if they don't know there is a problem
For all our Rural Touring Tops Tips, for artists, promoters, venues and schemes click here.

NRTF Board Away Day

NRTF Board Away Day

The National Rural Touring Forum Board of Trustees and observers consist of promoters, performers, senior schemes staff and Arts Council. We meet at least 4 to 5 times a year to ensure the success and good governance of NRTF.


Stanford Dingley Clubroom

This September we had an away day, which was a chance for me, the Director and the Trustees to have the space to explore ideas, innovative initiatives and to better understand the needs of our members.


All set for the away day











As I reach my 6-month-in-the-job mark I decided to invite the board to my village to see NRTF HQ, our local Clubroom (where we held the meeting) and also to see where I am from. 

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