Inaugural Rural Touring Awards Launched

Fri 31 Mar 2017

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) has announced the first ever awards celebrating rural touring in the UK.

Anyone working in rural touring from performers, to voluntary promoters and the staff of rural touring networks are eligible to nominate for Rural Touring Awards (RTAs) across six categories.

The shortlist will go before an independent judging panel comprising Guardian journalist Lyn Gardner, writer and researcher Francois Matarasso, Ed Collier of independent producing studio China Plate and Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of The Woodland Trust. Judges will be tasked with looking for brilliant stories, examples of good practice and forward-looking work.

Potential nominees include artists, volunteer promoters, venues and touring schemes, with nominations opening today and remaining open until 5th May when a shortlist will be drawn up by industry peers.

The award categories are as follows:

  • Most welcoming village hall or community venue
  • Most innovative and/or inspirational show seen at a village hall or community venue
  • Volunteer promoter of the year
  • Most supportive touring scheme
  • Rural touring newcomer of the year
  • The NRTF special award

The NRTF special award is open to all - from touring schemes and volunteers to artists or touring companies. They are looking for an amazing story from the world of rural touring to reward long service, dedication beyond the call of duty, reliability or an exciting contribution.

The NRTF is the membership organisation for rural touring and represents 26 touring schemes around the country. It recently announced figures showing a 26% increase in audiences for rural touring over the past decade based on a survey of its members.

Speaking about the awards, director and NRTF board member Elizabeth Freestone said:

“It's thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteer promoters, of hard-working performers, of committed touring schemes and of loyal audiences that rural touring is vibrant and thriving. The RTAs will allow us to publicly show gratitude to those individuals who have made a real difference to a community over the past year.”

Those eligible to submit nominations for the awards can do so here:

Nominations will close at midnight on the 5th May. The winners in each category will be notified by 26th May and the shortlisted nominees will be invited to attend the prize giving at Nottingham University on 28th June as part of the NRTF conference.