ON TOUR: New places for arts touring
Discover how Creative Scene has developed new audiences by working with local people to bring professional touring work to buildings in their towns across North Kirklees – from libraries to sport clubs, community venues and pubs.
Creative Scene is the Arts Council England Creative People and Places programme for North Kirklees, West Yorkshire.
We're working with local people to create a place where people not only participate in the arts but they make them happen, working together with professional artists, arts organisations, and producers. It is all about making art a part of everyday life.
North Kirklees is a cluster of small towns with no arts centre and therefore limited access to professional arts activity. Just beyond these towns lie Bradford, Wakefield, Leeds and Huddersfield all with professional arts centres. However, audience data shows that very few people are travelling to these neighbouring towns to take part in the arts.
Our On Tour programme seeks to explore how we can develop new audiences by working with local people to bring professional touring work to buildings in their towns.
- To develop a more sustainable touring model enabling local people to access high quality activities on their doorstep
- To establish two Urban Touring Circuits that capitalise on existing non-traditional venues and bring them together around two distinct audience groups
- To bring high quality professional touring work into North Kirklees to inspire local audiences
- To develop local people as promoters with responsibility for selecting and promoting work that is relevant to their communities
The target audience
We aim to work with a diverse bunch of people who reflect the demographics of the area and thus the audiences we are trying to reach. The demographics of the area are very mixed with poorer socio-economic areas and audiences with little or no engagement with the arts alongside pockets of more affluent areas with more frequent engagement with arts and culture.
For this particular project we were looking at targeting potential venues and groups that would enable us to take our arts and cultural activity into familiar spaces and places in order to reach people - while also looking at supporting existing groups with audience development.
In order to map potential venues across the area we identified some basic criteria that would need to be met in order for us to work effectively with them over a two-year period to develop audiences for touring work. These included:
- Being accessible by public transport
- Having a warm welcoming feel with accessible facilities
- Likely to be open for the foreseable future
- An enthusiastic management team who could see the potential of the programme
While the mapping was taking place we dipped our toes in the water of touring by working with libraries to programme family show The Adventures of Walter Lemon Face into five of the towns. The appetite for family work in the areas was proven to be very promising with a sold out run across all five venues, meaning that programming work geographically quite close was not splitting audiences.