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First live music venues network in the Highlands seeks to make tours more sustainable

By Federica Stefani

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Frankie Morrow.
Frankie Morrow.

Communities in the Highlands are teaming up to boost sustainability of live performances in the region and engage more deeply with local people.

Applecross Village Hall, Ardross Village Hall, Cromarty Arts Trust, Eden Court in Inverness, Nairn Community and Arts Centre, and Resolis Community Arts have collaboratively booked theatre, music, and dance performances, aided by £20,000 and advice from The Touring Network – an initiative supported by Creative Scotland.

Jasmin Vardimon's Alice in VR Wonderland, Stafford & Collett Productions' comedy Gold! and alt-rock band Frankie Morrow's performance are among the tours which will see the benefits of this new network.

Venues worked together through mutually agreed dates and clear routes between locations to make tours more viable financially and environmentally.

By joining forces, resources and expertise, arts venues and village halls can take risks and book and promote performances they might not normally programme.

Claire Mackay, director of The Touring Network, said: “An amazing live performance isn't just something that happens in cities.

"Thanks to our network of 60+ venues and volunteers - all working tirelessly to make their communities better places to live, work and visit - we are seeing more and more wonderful live performances reach the nooks and crannies of Scotland.

"We're delighted to see that our first micro-network will support less 'one-off' dates, meaning a reduction in emissions, less admin and costs for performers and a supportive network for the people booking shows, who are often volunteers. Their programme selection had a common vision to diversify their audiences and get more young people through the doors. I have no doubt that the shows selected will offer everyone a brilliant cultural experience on their doorstep.”

In addition, performers can spend more time in each area, allowing for engagement with schools and community groups, and contribute to the local economy.

The initiative is part of The Touring Network’s commitment to the Green Arts Charter, a collaborative charter designed for and by cultural organisations within the Green Arts Initiative. The charter sets out four core pledges around mitigation, adaptation, collaboration, community and advocating for change. A framework of actions has been developed to guide environmental action planning."

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