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The Arts Council of Wales' Night Out scheme helps hundreds of community groups across Wales to bring the arts to the heart of their communities by selecting and hosting professional performing arts events in non-traditional smaller scale venues (mostly village halls and community centres). 

Through the scheme small communities can access great art in a familiar, friendly space and artists can enjoy performing in small, informal spaces, with more intimate audiences.

Night Out works throughout the year with local, national and international artists and covers a broad spectrum of the performing arts from theatre and circus to music and puppetry. Literature events however are funded by www.literaturewales.org and choirs and some music societies may wish to investigate funding opportunities from Ty Cerdd

Radyr gents photo Betina Skovbro

Working in conjunction with the local authorities of Wales, the Night Out team operates a guarantee against loss for events where we pay the performer fee and the community promoter pays back ticket income made at the door. 

We never take more than the performer costs and promoters are able to cover their costs after paying the guaranteed amount.

The more money promoters make back the more funds we have available to say yes to another request.  Our promoters may book any professional artists but many come to Night Out for advice on appropriate high quality shows suitable for small community venues.

We receive lots of requests from companies and are not able to respond to all enquiries.

Bangladehi WA audience photo Wales News & Pictures

If you are new to the rural touring sector, we strongly recommend you visit the National Rural Touring Forum and access the guide for companies: "Eyes Wide Open" this will answer most of your general questions.

Our website lists a curated selection of suitable shows which fit our spaces and from this our promoters can make their choices. However it is important to understand that getting on the web site doesn't mean you will be booked, promoters still have to be interested.  

Night Out community promoters actively choose what performances they and their audiences want to see in their venues, with a little expert guidance from us.

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Usually about 250-300 companies/performers get booked through the scheme each year across all the art forms. We average about 580 events a year so many companies get only a couple of bookings through the scheme though some can get longer tours. 

It is important to understand that even if you have a suitable show you might not get on our listings. We may just have too much competition, or someone else is offering a similar show that is more appropriate. It's competitive!

It is probably a good idea to tie in tours, or link up with arts venues and schools to make a rural tour work however performers must also be aware that larger theatres have exclusion zones that prohibit the same performance within a prescribed area or time-zone.

Llanfwrog Community Centre photo CP imaging

Typically with village halls and rural venues weekends are very popular and mid-week can be difficult to sell, because venues are very busy and booked up with regular events (from bowls to tai chi, brownies to Zumba).  However in more urban areas mid week dates are often preferred. 

Community venues generally do not have technical equipment or trained technicians and are nearly all run by volunteers. Changing rooms are a luxury as are back stage toilets and full blackout .  Companies therefore need to be self sufficient, or flexible with lights and sound requirements.

Mabon band front by Pembrokeshire Photography

Excellent, relevant publicity is essential. Although a lot of shows are sold on networking and trust, a poor poster or flyer can undermine you both at the booking, and selling stage. Posters designed for community touring need to do double the work of those designed solely for theatres since they need to sell both the concept of going to see a show and the show itself.

Fees vary considerably, we are limited in how much we can afford and many venues have a small capacity so the ability for communities to make back large sums is difficult. On average we pay about £500 while the normal top fee is £850- fees in excess of this will force promoters to pay more and lose additional underwriting and so often will not get booked. Shows costing more than £1500 are not eligible through the scheme.

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If you get a booking we will pay your fee and then settle up afterwards with the promoter, recouping some of the ticket income.  Payment can only be made after the event, by BACs transfer and you must provide an invoice.  Payment for fees over £850 is split between Night Out and the promoter.