Friday, 28 August 2015

A Rural Review: Week 1!

Welcome to 'A Rural Review' - a new weekly blog from Rural Arts where we recap all the exciting things that have been happening over the last week, and point you in the direction of more exciting events to look out for in the near future!

What's been happening

Summer Slam!
This thursday saw our final performance of the 'FRESH' season, the Summer Slam, a night with 3 poets, a packed courthouse and plenty of Pimms! We were thrilled with how the event turned out, and want to thank everyone that attended for making our final 'FRESH' performance so special. We also need to say a massive thank you to our three poets, Keelan Swift, Laurence O'Reilly and Andy Humphrey, who lit up the evening with their enthusiasm, wit and talent.

P.S although finished for now, this is not the last you will see of 'FRESH'…. it will be returning in Spring and we need YOU! If you are an artist who has recently graduated and would like the chance to exhibit your work in a purpose-built gallery (who wouldn't?!) contact

Papercutting Workshop
On Saturday Rural Arts was awash with the sounds of cutting and sticking. Claire Brewster, a talented local artist, came in and did a fabulous paper cutting workshop with young people. We don't need to say much more - the pictures speak for themselves!

Innovation Project
The Outreach time has also been busy over the last few weeks - our 'innovation project' working with elderly people to reduce loneliness and isolation all across the North Yorkshire region has just come to a close. It has been a wonderful new venture for us and we have loved being a part of it. We even made it into the Ripon Gazette!  

Edinburgh Fringe
Over the last two weeks, three members of the Rural Arts team have travelled up to Edinburgh to try and tackle the exhilarating insanity that is the Fringe Festival. We have seen a little bit of everything, from children's shows to comedies, dance to live art, with shows ranging from tackling tourettes to a 70's cops pastiche with a performance including a live working Robot thrown in for good measure. 
Our personal highlights include: 
  • My name is… - a powerful theatre performance about religion and race set in Glasgow
  • Bromance - a truly unique circus show with three performances exploring what it is to be a male friend
  • Backstage in Biscuit Land - A show about living with Tourettes and how to celebrate, not be ashamed of, your differences. 

These are just a few of the shows we saw - if you have been to fringe we would love to hear what your favourite show was - get in contact with us via Facebook or Twitter (@ruralarts).

Whats coming up

Every Brilliant Thing
This uplifting and heart-warming show comes to us with critical acclaim and an 4 month transfer to New York under it's belt. Every Brilliant Thing is in North Yorkshire for one night only, the 8th September at Gilling East Village Hall, before another national and international tour. Tickets are selling very fast indeed so get yours now! Click here to hear the co-writer and star Johnny Donahoe talk more about the piece.

To book call 01845 526 536 or follow the link to book online:

Brochures Galore!
In the upcoming weeks look out for ON Tour brochure, detailing all the performances that could be happening in a village hall near you up until spring 2016 - and our Courthouse Brochure which lets you know all the fun things that will be happening at our Courthouse up until Christmas time, will be released! This is the best way to keep up-to-date with everything Rural Arts is involved with (apart from this blog of course!)

Art Clubs
The Rural Arts art club is back by popular demand! If you are between 5-18 and would like to give arts a go- sign up now for our weekly club that starts in September on a Thursday or Saturday, taught by professional artists with a wide range of skills. To find out more or to book call 01845 526 536 or follow the link to our website:

Also, new for this season, we are hosting an adult art club! Sessions are on from 10:30-12 on a Wednesday, beginning on the 16th September. These sessions are tailored to everyone, regardless of creative ability. Come along, explore a new style of art or develop a new technique - and hopefully take something unique home at the end.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Rural Arts prepares for a ‘brilliant’ season!

We are kicking off our ON Tour 2015 season with a play that has wowed audiences and critics alike across the globe.

For one night only, Gilling East Village Hall is hosting a performance of Every Brilliant Thing- a hilarious and uplifting tale about the lengths we go to for those we love. After a tour of the U.K and a hugely successful transfer to New York, Pentabus’ theatre event is one guaranteed to make you laugh and maybe even shed a tear or two! In a 4 star review, Time Out London suggests that Every Brilliant Thing is “filled to the brim with joy…beautiful, heart wrenching and very funny.”

Here's a sneak preview of what you will get to see:

Every Brilliant Thing is the opening act of our ON Tour Autumn 2015 season. A scheme that has been running for over 15 years, ON Tour delivers professional theatre out into the rural areas of North Yorkshire. This means that everyone in the region is given the opportunity to see performances of the highest quality.

“This performance is extra special to us because it is the first date of our brand new tour” says Pentabus, the theatre company who created Every Brilliant Thing. “ We’re super excited – we can’t wait to visit!”

This is only the first of a fantastic number of events and performances in the ON Tour Autumn season with upcoming performances from Newcastle band Holy Moly & the Crackers, as featured on the BBC introducing stage, and West Yorkshire Playhouse’s first ever rural tour; so keep you eyes peeled for these exciting events coming to a venue near you!

And don't forget our final FRESH 'pay-what-you-think' performance, the poetry Summer Slam, is happening on Thursday 27th August (with free Pimms on arrival!!!!) For more details on what is sure you to be a fantastic event click HERE

Every Brilliant Thing is being performed at Gilling East Village Hall on the 8th September at 8:00pm. Doors open at 7:30. Please note there is no bar at this performance, but this is a ‘bring-your-own-bottle” event, so feel free to bring a drink (or two!) of your choice from 7:30 onwards.

Tickets can be reserved over the phone on 01845 526 536 or by following the link:

Join the conversation online at @RuralArts #ONTour15

Friday, 23 May 2014

Keep Calm and Co-work at The Courthouse!

All rights reserved. Image taken from The Keep Calm-o-Matic

Calling all home workers, mobile workers, freelancers and home based business, the aim is to bring professionals together in an informal working environment in a new idea from Rural Arts...

What is Co-working?
Co-working is a style of work in a shared working environment. Unlike in a typical office  where people are employed by the same company, those co-working are usually freelancers, entrepreneurs, or have home based businesses.

People who Co-work are usually independent professionals who work better when they are amongst other people, than they would alone.

#Infographic: All rights reserved. Image from Copley Road Project

Why Co-work?
Co-working is a great way to get yourself and your business out of the house to network with other creative like-minded people, to maximise creativity and minimise the isolation of sole working.
Co-working differs from networking in that the aim is not to find new clients, sell yourself or your business, but you might be able to exchange help and advice.

Co-working events are taking off across the UK. 42% of businesses are home based and the stats are higher in rural areas.

Rural Co-working at The Courthouse:
Have a day with difference.

The ethos of Thirsk's first ever Co-working day is to be flexible. The Co-working events will take place on the second Friday of every month.
Valuable expertise can be just a few seats away because small interactions can spark ideas, projects and contacts.

Just bring along your work and laptop for the day, connect to Wi-Fi and do what you had planned in the company of others.

Important details:
When: 13th June, 11th July, 8th August, 12th September, 10th October, 14th November

Where: Rural Arts, The Courthouse, Thirsk

Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm

Charge: £15.00 including lunch

To book a place:
Spaces are limited to 25 people for the first event and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
To book your place, please call Janice on: 01845 526536 or e-mail or you can book online, HERE.

For more information:
If you have any questions, please call Nick Scott on: 01765 609971/07714145354 or e-mail:

Friday, 16 May 2014

Meet our Up-Cycled Cyclist!

(All rights reserved; click to view Le Tour Yorkshire website)
It's happening. The Word's biggest cycle race - the Tour de France -  is coming to Yorkshire. This is Yorkshire's chance to welcome the world, where millions of fans will be joining together to cheer on their heros!

To celebrate the arrival of the Grand Depart, Rural Arts will be holding both Yorkshire and cycle-themed events to inspire people to create and engage with the art God's Own County has to offer!

Hurtling into the Courthouse on the 1st July is our Made in Yorkshire Exhibition, featuring work from professional artists across the county.

And just like the Grand Depart has three stages, we're got three exclusive events revolving (get it?!) around the art of up cycling - giving something old and unwanted a new lease of life, often in a different form.

1) Up-Cycle Exhibiton - Be inspired by our exhibition featuring Cheryl Feakes, Caroline Brodgen and Suzanne Decker and pick up the perfect present - we've got everything from bike-part birdcages to driftwood angler fish! (Yes really!)

2) Makers Market - Come along to our upcycle themed Makers Market, featuring jewellery, homeward and furnishings from independent designer-makers and be-spoke furniture by the Boot Shop in Easingwold.

3) Up-Cycle Family Workshop - Create wonderful pieces of art out of old bike parts! A steal at only £2.50 per family.

That's not all! The young people at our Saturday Art Club have been creating fantastic upcycled sculptures to be installed into the Courthouse garden to complement our Le Tour banners. They have been looking at the work of artist Robert Bradford, who makes sculpture out of discarded plastic toys and are making a life-size cyclist on a real bike to put up in the Courthouse garden.

Here is an example of Robert Bradford's artwork:

Image taken from Daily Mail. Click here for full article

And now our kids from art club..!

Art club children working on their own work inspired by Robert Bradford

Man in the making!
Meet Bruce!

Bruce will be living in our Courthouse garden throughout Le Tour. Why not call in and meet him for  a coffee?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

#CREATEtour 2014 in Norton, Malton


Last week saw the first #CREATEtour of 2014. The project was launched by us in 2013 and takes place in The Wolds, East Cleveland and Selby District at different points in the year. It gives young people the chance to work with a professional performance company for four days, creating a short performance which then opens for the professional company on four dates as part of Rural Arts ON Tour. The project is completely free thanks to funding and support from Arts Council England, Ryedale District Council, North Yorkshire Youth Service, and Ryedale Youth Support Service. A big thanks to North Yorkshire County Council for providing us with a dance floor for the week too.

Last week, we worked at Brooklyn Youth Centre in Norton, near Malton with Phoenix Dance Theatre.  14 young people took part, and this week, from the 23rd to 26th April, they'll be opening for Phoenix Dance Theatre's REfined at Stillington Village Hall, Thirsk High School, Milton Rooms, Malton and Kirkbymoorside Memorial Hall. REfined is a mixed bill of Phoenix's most popular work of the last five years and offers a rare chance to see some of the world's most talented dancers up close. You can purchase tickets here

One of the professionals that the young people will be opening for this week.

Below, Jasmine, one of the young people who is taking part in the project, tells us about her experience working with the company:

I have loved my experience with Rural Arts because Amanda and Carmen [from Phoenix Dance Theatre] really helped us all to progress. I have learnt some really cool dance moves and I am dancing to music I don't normally dance to. The music we are currently dancing to has no lyrics which means I don't have as many cues. 
Amanda Lewis from Phoenix Dance Theatre starts putting the piece together

The dancing does have it's challenges because we have to work out the counts ourselves because Phoenix Dance Theatre won't be on stage to count for us so we have to count ourselves.
Also, I have made new friends here. I can also talk to some people that I see at school because they come too! This insures that I can have friends to talk to in my break.

Young people have a well earned break

Sophie, Chloe, Libby and the rest of the Rural Arts and 4 Youth  [Ryedale Youth Support Sevice] crew have become my new friends too. They're fun and bubbly and very supportive.
Overall my experience at The Create Tour has been awesome and I definitely want to come back next year for another fun packed activity week!

Young people get to grips with a tricky dance move

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Novice Detective

This week ON Tour Project assistant fills us in on the launch of our Young Promoters Scheme in Redcar and Weaverthorpe....


This week comedian and writer Sophie Willan, the winner of the 2012 Flying Solo Commission at Contact Manchester performed her hilarious show The Novice Detective as part of the Rural Arts leg of her tour. This was two performances in two very different locations, with the first show taking place in Redcar at Tuned in, then the following evening going to Weaverthorpe which ended The Novice Detective shows in our programme.

Having never seen Novice Detective before, I can say it was by far one of the funniest shows I have seen. My personal highlight of the performances was the moment when audience members are asked to join Sophie on stage. She is great at on-stage banter with her newly appointed sidekick who warily steps out of the audience but ends up loving their new role, of being assistant to the star of the show. This allows many off the script moments that make the performance so different each night. The performance centres around Sophie's missing father but it is more about her journey to closure and the funny ways she achieves this. 

These performances where also linked to a project, Young Promoters, two groups of young people who undertook the task of promoting The Novice Detective in their area. Over the last few weeks they were promoting the show via social media and marketing it in their community. These events also gave us a chance to see the Young Promoters finish their project by running front of house and meeting the cast and crew.

Feedback for the show has been fantastic, with one audience member describing the one woman show as "clever and poignant" while another said "every moment was a complete surprise, worth travelling a long way across Ryedale for".

This project happens all over the country but it was the first time us at Rural Arts have done a Young Promoters scheme, all the young people involved did a brilliant job promoting the show and ensured people in their area saw this hilarious show.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

"From Hand to Market" project

"From Hand to Market" is an arts project where the aim is mainly focused on engaging wives and partners of the Armed Forces in the creation of unique artwork made under the guidance of professional artists. This project has invited them to venture out of their isolated military houses and to integrate into the local community.

The Military wives, based at Dishforth Airfield and Allanbrook barracks have been involved in a series of textile based craft workshops led by contemporary textile artist Dionne Swift, where they have learnt a range of techniques such as screen printing, fabric painting, batik and embroidery. Upon completion of each project, each unique design can be used as an accessory or furnishings to be used in the home.

Professional artist, Dionne Swift studied Embroidery at Goldsmith’s College and after completing a master’s degree at the University of Central England, Dionne has progressed her career to lecture at Higher Education level for over 20 years.

The workshops occur regularly and are designed for the Military partners to learn new skills that can be used wherever they go. In addition to weekly workshops, weekend master class sessions are also offered where other professional artists teach their own specific trades. Previous workshops and master classes have focused on producing cushions, curtains and lampshades, upcoming workshops will focus on hat making, screen-printing and dressmaking.



Glasses cases:

As well as making items for gifts or for personal use, the focus of the project is to take the finished article 'to market'. Where there is an opportunity to exhibit and sell work at craft and trade events, as well as larger events such as the Deer Shed Festival in Topcliffe next year.

The Deer Shed festival is a music and arts festival located in Baldersby Park in North Yorkshire. The Military wives and partners will be designing and creating banners to be displayed throughout the grounds. This year, the festival will be welcoming many acts, such as hip-hop duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip.

Following many sessions and workshops, Dionne will advise and support the Military partners in website development and setting up their own small business in order to sell their handmade products online using various e-commerce websites, such as Folksy and Etsy.