Arts that matter in places that matter


About us…

For 25 years, Villages in Action has brought rural touring to life in villages across the lovely county of Devon. Working with volunteer promoters in each of our villages, we have facilitated world class performances and professionally-run arts workshops right on the doorstep of rural communities. Villages in Action went through a major change in 2017, following cuts in public funding.

Our rural touring colleagues in Cornwall at Carn to Cove stepped in to help us to arrange the Spring 2018 season and as we announced last Autumn, Carn to Cove has been successful in a bid for Arts Council England funding to further support Villages in Action.  The ‘Locomotor’ project is being run by Creative Kernow, and will give ViA breathing space until mid-2020 to develop, with existing and new partners, a sustainable model to present Great Art For Everyone in rural Devon.  So if your village, parish or community has been involved in the past or you would like to be involved in presenting events and working together in 2018, please get in touch with Tim Smithies (Project Director) or Claire Marshall (Project Manager) or phone the office 01209 312500.

A Big Thank You!

Rural touring couldn’t work without our local volunteers. We are delighted to work in partnership with them, developing a rich menu of live entertainment for all on your doorstep.  And also a very big thank you to those stalwart funding partners Arts Council of England, East Devon, West Devon and Teignbridge District councils who ‘prime the pump’ for the engine that is Villages in Action and Locomotor’s amazing performances!  Villages in Action and Carn to Cove are charities, we work together to enliven our villages with laughter, tears and drama.  We believe that collectively people can work effectively to enrich life with the arts.

How You can Help

If you share these values and want to help, there are a number of ways you can do so:
– Be an audience member and invite your friends, family and neighbours to attend.

– Become a promoter for your community – join or set-up a group of like-minded people and call 01209 312500.

– Volunteer with your local village promoter to assist in hosting performers, organising and presenting events, etc.

– Talk to your local county, district and parish councillors about how much you value the work of Villages in Action in your community.

– Follow us on Facebook @villagesinactiond or Twitter @VillagesIAction

– Make a Gift Aid donation – for further details please contact 01209 312500.

– Sign up for our newsletter at Contact Us

The ViA Unearth Project

Year one of the ViA Unearth project (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund) has now concluded in the Devon communities of Whimple, Starcross, Rattery and Cheriton Fitzpaine.  Volunteers in each village undertook research into their local history, ‘unearthing’ fascinating stories of old customs, characters, events, and significant happenings. The performance team of playwright Lucy Bell, actors Charlie Coldfield and Kirsty Cox, visual artists Peter Margerum and Kate Green, plus folk musician Jim Causley, then took these stories and wove them into four fabulous and unique performances in each community.

Each show was a rich mixture of stories, images, songs, sound recordings and artwork all relating to the intriguing local tales.  Lots of local people, including school children, became involved in the process to create the performance, joining in with photo scanning, the recording of oral history and shadow and silhouette making workshops. Audience numbers surpassed our expectations and all who came along thoroughly enjoyed the evening and were able to reminisce as well as learn new things about where they live.

Kate is now working with four more rural communities who will be presenting their own Unearth performance in the Summer of 2018. The participating communities are Brentor, Chagford, Buckfastleigh and Crediton. We anticipate exciting tales to emerge and we will keep you up to date with when the shows will be happening. Watch this space!

“Unearth was such a rewarding project! The research process was fascinating and the performance, enjoyed by over 90 intergenerational villagers and friends, was a delightful mixture of drama, art, song and music, delivered with great style, humour and pathos. Thank you ViA – a unique and truly memorable experience.”  Village promoter, Cheriton Fitzpaine.

And now, take a moment to watch this film about why people place such a high value on hosting professional entertainment in their villages: out in the sticks is wonderful!

Villages in Action has been a major player in the vibrancy and social cohesion of Devon’s rural life, and our organisation has been the nursemaid of Devon’s creative talent. We are very proud and highly delighted that all this is set to continue!


© 2018 Villages in Action.