Artsreach – bringing professional performing arts to rural Dorset
While some of you might regularly see live music or theatre events being advertised at village halls across Dorset, and many of you might regularly attend these shows, you may not realise that they are being organised by Artsreach; you may not even know what ‘Artsreach’ is….
Artsreach is Dorset’s rural touring arts organisation, giving rural communities all over the county the opportunity to see and participate in high quality arts events in their own villages. As a charitable organisation, Artsreach aims to make ticket prices accessible to everyone and to enable this to happen, it currently receives funding from Arts Council England, Dorset County Council, North, West and East Dorset and Purbeck District Councils.
The first Artsreach programme was launched in February 1990 and featured just nine shows. Now twenty-five years on, (yes, we celebrate our 25th Birthday this year!) Artsreach works with a large network of voluntary promoters to deliver its programme of roughly 150 performances a year to around fifty rural venues across the County. Whilst our main aim is to deliver the arts to rural audiences, Artsreach also plays an important role in providing a source of income to the village halls in which it works, with all venues keeping a percentage of the box office and often making extra income from refreshments and raffles. Without the hard work and commitment of the volunteer promoters and teams in each village, Artsreach simply wouldn’t exist. These volunteers take responsibility for selecting shows, booking the hall, distributing publicity, selling tickets and running each event, often then feeding and accommodating the performer, and all because they each believe in providing their community with the opportunity to come together and enjoy quality performances and events.
Performers and companies such as The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Jacqui Dankworth, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and poet Matt Harvey have all appeared on the Artsreach circuit, as well as international acts such as Harald Haugaard, Tim Kliphuis, Panta Rei and Etran Finatawa.
This coming season sees a programme packed with international musicians, award-winning theatre companies, outstanding children’s performances and even some French new circus, and information on Artsreach events taking place at nearby village halls can be found under the events timeline section of this website. With a huge range of performances taking place all year round, plus a summer programme of children’s activities and frequent visual arts projects and exhibitions, can you really afford not to find out more?
Visit the Artsreach website today for further information, to see the latest programme of events and to join the mailing list for regular Artsreach updates.