We are delighted to announce that we have won a substantial award from the Arts Council of England ‘Strategic Touring Fund’ to develop our work in rural communities in Cornwall, Devon and the South West with a new project ‘Locomotor’ to support our role in making the best in the arts available for rural communities. There are three strands of new activity which Locomotor will deliver:
First is the development of a sustainable rural touring offer in neighbouring Devon. We have been working with Villages in Action, the Devon charity which suspended rural touring performing arts in March 2017. The objective is to secure and resource the volunteer network in Devon active in their local communities to provide “Great Art for Everyone” with high quality performances and to build capacity for the sector there. This will include advocacy to local authorities around the social and economic impacts of arts activity, developing new partnerships in Devon and Cornwall, and testing new models of working between villages and market and coastal towns.
Secondly, the award will support an international programme to present more diverse work of different cultures in the South West. This builds on our hosting the ‘New Directions International’ showcase in Falmouth in 2016 for the National Rural Touring Forum and the international partnerships that have emerged from that – including Cornish companies touring overseas (graduate rural touring company Cheap Date Dance touring to Sweden in October 2017). Artists from Spain, Lithuania and Sweden are among those who will be performing and undertaking workshop and participation activity across all the rural touring schemes in the South West of England with partners Beaford Arts (Devon), Air in G (Gloucestershire), Artsreach ( Dorset), Rural Arts Wiltshire and South Glos, Takeart (Somerset) and Villages in Action (Devon). International touring is a priority area in the Strategic Touring Fund criteria and is partly resourced by the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund.
Thirdly, the Locomotor project will enable the development of new online tools and web presence to improve box office income and therefore sustainability of the touring model. Box office income is already the main source of financing for the performing arts in rural spaces at both Carn to Cove and Villages in Action. Providing centralised online ticketing and marketing will improve access to these services to people living in remote rural communities and therefore attendance and sustainability.
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “Our National Lottery-funded Strategic Touring programme takes exciting arts and culture to places and people across the country who might not otherwise get the opportunity to benefit from these experiences. So, we’re pleased to be supporting Carn to Cove to bring the work of talented international artists to the south west, allowing a wide range of audiences to enjoy these shows on their doorsteps.”