The Future of the Local Arts Scene.

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A recent meeting between Cheshire Rural Touring Arts (CRTA) and some of the local promoters took place on May13th at Tatton Park. Though the scheme remains in a buoyant mood there is no doubt that the reduction in arts funding is staring to have an effect.

Though the Autumn 2015 programme signals the start of the next 3 year funding phase, the organisers are acutely aware that this financial commitment is not a water-tight promise. Given that 'austerity' is a key part of the new Government's programme, it might be unwise to assume that there will not be financial pressures ahead.

One result of the cuts in recent years, now feeding through to the rural touring programme, is the reduction in the number of established, larger companies that are involved in this sector. This means that while there are dozens, if not hundreds, of new theatre companies, they are often small, insecurely funded, have less technical ability and are unused to the challenges of rural touring.

To counter this, CRTA, along with similar bodies, is establishing links with larger theatres that still have resources to develop high quality new work. They already work with the Lowry and are looking to a similar arrangement with the Unity Theatre in Liverpool. There is a move to bring smaller scale pieces of theatre into smaller venues like libraries. The Arts Council funding criteria require CRTA and others to address diversity, encourage new work and to take artistic risks. Moulding this remit to the needs of small rural audiences while offering the highest quality performances is a real challenge.

How will this affect Tarvin and the Community Centre?

The Community Centre Committee is determined to continue its relationship with CRTA. It recognises that developing an audience for adult theatre takes time, but is very heartened by the response it gets for children's theatre productions.

Might there be offerings outside some people's comfort zone? — Possibly.

Will audiences sometimes be asked to accept an artistic challenge? — Certainly.

Will the quality of the performances be worth the ticket price? — Without a doubt.

For information about all CRTA productions go to www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk and for information about the Community Centre go to www.tarvincommunitycentre.org or www.facebook.com/tarvincc

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