REACH – Touring in the North East

REACH was a strategic touring project funded by Arts Council England, designed to increase the amount and quality of contemporary theatre touring into the North East region.

Phase I (2014 – 2016)

Phase I of the project brought some of the most exciting artists and companies in the country to perform at nine venues in the North East. It was underpinned by a programme of support for venues around marketing, audience development and programming.

The project was a partnership between ARC Arts Centre and Dep Arts Ltd, Leeds based theatre and dance producers.

Key people involved were:

Project managers: Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive, ARC and David Edmunds, Director & Executive Producer, Dep Arts

Audience development: Kate Sanderson, Indigo Ltd, Kelly France, Marketing Manager, ARC and Louise Wilkin, REACH Audience Development Coordinator

Production: Hazel Plummer, REACH Production Coordinator

Partner venues:

Alnwick Playhouse
Arts Centre Washington
Bishop Auckland Town Hall
Customs House, South Shields
Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre
Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
Saltburn Community Theatre
Seaton Delaval Arts Centre

REACH presented ten shows in each of the venues (including ARC) between September 2014 and the end of November 2016. Eight of these shows were touring shows, and two were brand new commissions, partly developed in the North East as part of the project.

Kate and her support staff worked with venues throughout the project to support audience development and marketing around the shows, to grow audiences for contemporary theatre.

In addition, there were funded opportunities for programmers to get together, meet other companies and go and see new work, as well as a showcase event in summer 2016 bringing venues and companies together for one day at ARC.

The programme included:

  • 154 Collective – Under the Bed
  • Analogue – Stowaway
  • Redcape Theatre – Be Brave and Leave for the Unknown
  • Stan’s Café – Made Up
  • Tangled Feet – Kicking and Screaming
  • The Paper Birds – Thirsty
  • Theatre Alibi – Fish Eye
  • Third Angel – Cape Wrath & The Life and Loves of a Nobody
  • Unlimited Theatre – MONEY the game show

Download a Summary of the Project Achievements

Phase II (2017 – 2020)

Phase II continued to bring new, contemporary performance to the North East, building on the development work carried out in Phase I. Following annual showcases providing opportunities for programmers to see excerpts of new work, two shows per year were chosen for touring.

Managed by ARC, the six venue partners were:

The programme included:

  • Rhum & Clay – Testosterone
  • Middle Child – One Life Stand
  • Altered Skin – Confessions of a Cockney Rebel Dancer
  • Gracefool Collective – This is Not a Wedding
  • Victoria Melody – Professional Strangers
  • Leo & Hyde – Guy the Musical

Legacy planning is currently underway.