A two year project which aims were to examine artistic vibrancy, relevance and impact by deepening the relationships between three devising performers and three rural communities.
Who was involved?
Isle of Eigg / Lucy Conway
Argyll Arts Collective / Joni Brown & Ian Prescott
Findhorn Bay Arts / Kressana Aigner
Three Performers / Companies
Birds of Paradise Theatre / Creative Electric – Heather Marshall
Vanishing Point / Matt Lenton & Biff Smith
The Work Room / Saffy Setohy
Co-imagined and designed by
Jo McLean (CEO of The Touring Network 2015-2020) +. Lisa Baxter of The Experience Business
What Is Braw?
BRAW was developed in response to the desire to ensure more fulfilling experiences for promoters, artists and their audiences, and to answer some of the questions we seem to have been asking ourselves for years. Often rural touring venues present performances which are devised by artists working in urban locations; we were curious to see if rural touring needs are different, and if so, how we could respond to those needs to develop better community engagement. We were looking specifically to examine artists’ sensibilities to their audiences (in this case rural and remote communities), the audience’s propensity to engage with new work and a new type of artistic production centred on relevance and impact. Individuals or organisations in the touring ‘triangle’ often operate in silos, which can result in a lack of understanding of the different working processes and perspectives required to make a successful performance and subsequent tour. Collaboration then, is essential to this approach, and would create a new language to explore needs, inform professional practice and develop audience appetite
In order to make a difference, the project had to explore many unknowns; what the barriers are (perceived or actual) for audiences, whether there is an appetite for touring work, and whether promoters and artists are interested in finding out. As well as tackling some of the known issues – ageing and migrating populations, isolation, lack of choice, negative perceptions of rural touring from artists and companies, and the perception of promoters as gatekeepers to name a few.