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
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
We receive lots of requests from companies and are not able to
respond to all enquiries.
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
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
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.
Usually about 250-300 companies/performers get booked through
the scheme each year across all the art forms. We average about 530
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
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.
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 £550 while the normal top fee is £900- 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 £2000 are
not eligible through the scheme.
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.