BRAW is a project which has been 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. Typically, rural touring venues present performances which are devised by artists working in urban locations; we are curious to see if rural touring needs are different, and if so, how can we respond to those needs to develop better community engagement.We are 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 will create a new language to explore needs, inform professional practice and develop audience appetite
In order to make a difference, the project will 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.