Keep Rural Arts Live

The Touring Network launch Major New Crowdfunder Campaign to Support Live Arts in The Highlands & Islands. (Picture Credit Oceanallover)

The Touring Network’s major new Crowdfunder campaign to Keep Rural Arts Live in the Highlands & Islands launched 9am yesterday, Monday 17 August.

The campaign is asking its loyal audiences across rural Scotland to donate anything from the price of an interval drink or a Friday night gig ticket to ensure that a thriving live arts scene can return to rural Scotland when safe to do so. 

The Keep Rural Arts Live campaign has been selected to take part in Creative Scotland and Crowdfunder’s Crowdfund Creative Scotland scheme, which offers the chance for some match funding from Creative Scotland if the campaign is quick to hit its fundraising targets. 

The Touring Network’s Members (who range from village hall committees and pub landlords to professional programmers and performers) are found all across a region which covers half the land mass of Scotland, stretching from Shetland to Campbeltown.

They believe passionately that everyone has the right to experience high-quality performance without having to travel long distances and in 2019 staged nearly 900 events.

For over 40 years they have worked year-round to stage a diverse, world-class programme of live music, theatre, dance, comedy and arts right on the doorstep of Highlands & Islands communities, and are dedicated to getting live performance back up and running once it can safely return. 

The Keep Rural Arts Live fundraising drive will ensure that it will be affordable, safe and sustainable for professional artists to perform across the Highlands & Islands, and for audiences to come out to watch them.

The fund will directly help subsidise any potential lost ticket income due to socially distanced reduced capacity, meaning performers and their crews won’t be out of pocket; it will ensure tickets remain affordable for the whole community without substantial pricing increases; it will help a vital part of the Highlands & Islands economy to stay buoyant by continuing to welcome the travelling companies and the money they spend in the local area in terms of venue hire, accommodation, hospitality and more, and it will offer invaluable opportunities for up-and-coming local talent to share the stage with some of the biggest names in the Scottish and UK arts scenes.

The Keep Rural Arts Live campaign is asking for donations from £2+, with Thank You packages available to local businesses who may be in a position to donate more.

The target is £20,000 and the faster the money is raised the more likely it is that Creative Scotland will be able to match some of the donations.

Donations are open now and you can donate by clicking this link.

As part of the Keep Rural Arts Live campaign, The Touring Network will be broadcasting “The Spotlight Sessions” to 8 rural communities across Scotland on Thursday 20 and Thursday 27 August at 8pm.

The Spotlight Sessions will offer rural audiences a preview of what could be touring to their community post-COVID.

Each session will showcase a series of online extracts from new shows that are looking to tour the Highlands & Islands in 2021 with highlights including acclaimed singer-songwriter Horse, Edinburgh improv troupe Men With Coconuts and Nicolette MacLeod’s witty solo show about Scotland’s aquatic treasures The Sea and Me, all compered live by award-winning writer and performer Alan Bissett.