Bringing joy to village halls
Dorset Magazine|March 2020
Artsreach co-director, Kerry Bartlett reveals the important role of rural promoters in bringing exciting art and culture from across the world to Dorset’s villages

Throughout 2020 Artsreach, Dorset’s rural touring arts charity, is celebrating 30 years of bringing outstanding professional performing arts from around the globe to communities across the county, as well as working with a dedicated network of community partners. It is a mutually rewarding relationship.

The programme of events is run by a small team of core staff at the Artsreach office at Little Keep, Dorchester. From here they curate and arrange an extraordinarily diverse range of performances, workshops, children’s activities, and visual arts exhibitions in some 50 Dorset communities. They also work closely with volunteer promoters to present more than 140 live performances every year, mainly in village halls, but sometimes in other community spaces such as churches, pubs or school halls.

What makes Artsreach special is that these volunteers are able to choose the events they will be promoting. This means that they have a vested interest in making sure the show is a success, because their community venue will directly benefit. The income generated from ticket sales not only supports the work of Artsreach but also the individual rural communities in which events take place.

The promoters also organise the evenings, which may include a bar and refreshments and a fundraising draw. They all enjoy meeting the performers, and regularly accommodate the musicians, dancers or actors in their own homes.

THE WORLD COMES TO WOOTTON FITZPAINE AND YETMINSTER

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