I’ve had many discussions about rural touring – the joy of intimate performances; the importance of culture in rural and remote locations – community spaces which provide the back-bone of social interactions; the enduring and special relationships between performer and community; the journey by land or sea; the inspiring landscapes. The struggle…the impact.

This Cove Park Gathering was the beginning of something with a carefully chosen group of people who make things happen, and who will be working together for the next 2 years on something not yet clearly defined. Something I hope will start to break down some of the things that separate us as artists, producers, promoters and ultimately audiences.

With good facilitation It’s easier to talk, explore and celebrate the things that make us similar and different. We did just that. Beautifully. Back in the ‘real world’ of making things happen, it’s more difficult to be generous; to take on anothers’ perspective and run with it to create something you may not have created had you been left to your own devices.

And then even more so to examine the vibrancy of what you have created. Did it work? What did the audience make of it? Did it move them in the way you intended?

This is what we hope to achieve. It starts here. We’re exploring where (or even if) the audience sit in the making of work. There are already differences in opinion about this – and that’s ok. I’m excited by the difference. It’s where we start to make change. By harnessing friction and holding difficult conversations in safe places.

The Touring Network (Highlands & Islands)

Supporting live performance across the Highlands & Islands as part of a central, celebrated and indispensable part of the cultural life of Scotland.

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