It is with great regret that, due to the continuing global public health crisis, and following the Government’s updated advice, rural and community touring arts organisations and schemes have taken the decision to cancel or postpone all forthcoming rural touring and community cinema events. It has been a difficult but inevitable decision in order to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19. The Rural Touring sector’s foremost concern is the safety and well-being of audiences, voluntary promoters, artists and staff.
Rural Touring pledge to artists: To maintain good-will amongst rural and community touring arts organisations and to offer support to artists to get through these difficult and challenging circumstances. Rural Touring organisations have come together to agree, that regardless of contracted obligations and where possible, they will pay a percentage of booking fees to artists as a result of cancellations due to COVID-19. The percentages and payments will differ depending on the agreements and the position of the fee-paying organisation. There is a willingness from schemes to give as much as they can and to not be better off because of a cancellation.
Rural Touring pledge to our communities: The majority of rural arts organisations are fleet of foot and understand they are in the perfect position to keep connections going and support rural and local communities. They are mindful of those in their communities who are older and less-digitally literate and will consider how to keep them in the loop. Where possible, they will support those living in social isolation and loneliness, especially where rural touring events are a support for them. This will be done via regular communications with promoters and audiences alongside the sharing of resources and opportunities.
Message to Rural Touring audiences: In these difficult times, schemes are inviting their audiences to consider leaving their ticket refund unclaimed, turning their purchased ticket into a donation to support the artists and companies whose shows have been cancelled, and who are suddenly losing all their income for the foreseeable future. Audiences that have a ticket to a cancelled performance should contact the point of sale for more information on refunds and donations.
Holly Lombardo, Director, National Rural Touring Forum
March 20th 2020