Arts that matter in places that matter

Dance, drama and music, coming to a Devon village near you

As you will have seen from updates on this page and our social media, there’s been a lot of activity behind and indeed in front of the scenes over the last few months – and the wonderful outcome is that Villages in Action’s Rural Touring Scheme is not only most definitely up and running, but the future is also looking very, very positive!  In order to better explain exactly where we are with everything, here’s the text of our latest press release.

“The future is looking bright for the arts in Devon villages, after a rural touring scheme in Cornwall stepped in to help and secured major funding from Arts Council England.

Early last year, the Devon charity Villages in Action (ViA) called a halt to its work with volunteer promoters of bringing world-class music, theatre and dance to rural areas, after losing the majority of its funding. The only guarantee of funding for 2017/18 was from three local authorities (East Devon, Teignbridge and West Devon). Forty eight communities regularly organised events through ViA and, while some decided to ‘go it alone’, others felt unable to do so without the support of ViA, which contracted the performers, agreed their fees, supplied publicity material and helped publicise performances.

However, Carn to Cove, which runs a similar scheme in Cornwall, offered to administer and co-ordinate the spring 2018 tours by performers in Devon, in order to retain the network of volunteer promoters and arts activity in the South West; as well as offering rural communities the chance to see professional acts at competitive prices, the scheme brings the local community together socially and helps sustain the viability of village halls. Amongst the artists who will be appearing in Teignbridge, the South Hams and East, Mid and West Devon in the coming months are City of Light Theatre, Panta Rei, Neil Maya Quartet, Theatre Alibi and the Devon based dancer Crystal Zillwood. Details of all the events can be seen on and the spring season brochure is available in local libraries.

In addition, Carn to Cove has won a substantial award from Arts Council England’s (ACE) Strategic Touring Fund to develop its work in communities throughout the South West. The ACE award, for more than £140,000 over 2.5 years, will enable Carn to Cove, working with the board of Villages in Action, to secure and resource the volunteer network in Devon so that rural communities have access to great art; provide advocacy to local authorities around the social and economic impacts of arts activity; develop new partnerships in Devon and Cornwall, and test new models of working between villages and market and coastal towns.

The award will also support an international programme to present more diverse work of different cultures in the South West and enable the development of new online tools and web presence to improve box office income and therefore the sustainability of tours in rural areas.”

The Board of ViA, all volunteers, were delighted when Carn to Cove came forward to caretake the spring 2018 touring programme and subsequently made their successful application to Arts Council England to further develop their role in the South West.  After a challenging year, we are all very much looking forward to the future!



© 2021 Villages in Action.