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Diverse performances flourishing under new support 

Beeja Dance performing a previous production called Choogh Choogh. Credit: Vipul Sangoi

North Yorkshire charity Rural Arts is hosting a showcase of new performances they have commissioned at their arts centre The Courthouse in Thirsk. 

The work-in-progress showings are the outcome of a competitive application process last year. Four companies were chosen from over 60 submissions, and each has received £2,500 – alongside professional support and free rehearsal space – with which to develop their ideas.  

The commissions are developing new and exciting performances specifically for rural touring – professional performances hosted in community venues such as village halls – and focus on supporting diverse artists who are under-represented within the world of performance. The opportunity is part of Rural Arts’ artist development scheme Flourish, which offers networking, mentoring, training and opportunities to performance artists. 

Maddie Morris – winner of 2019’s BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award

International artist collective ANTS Theatre are creating a piece of immersive theatre, We Still Fax, which sees audiences use a fax machine to help someone trapped in an alternate universe. Musical theatre duo Leo&Hyde present pop musical Pop Art, which follows Mona Lisa as she leaves her frame to visit other paintings throughout the history of art. Contemporary folk musician Maddie Morris will perform a set of story-telling folk songs that capture the varying experiences of Northern LGBTQIA+ people, and classical Bharatanatyam dance company Beeja provide a multi-sensory experience and explore joy through the South Asian festival of light Diwali in Sparklers.  

Max May, Director and CEO, Rural Arts, said:  

“We’re so thrilled to be supporting such an exciting range of artists, and be bringing innovative and ambitious performance to audiences right at the heart of rural North Yorkshire. If your New Year’s resolution was to try something new – or to support culture in your local community – come and check us out! As a ‘Pay What You Can’ experience, there’s literally nothing to lose”. 

Flourish: Four Sharings takes place on Saturday 22nd January, 7.30pm at The Courthouse, Rural Arts, Westgate, Thirsk, YO7 1QS. Tickets are Pay What You Can. Find out more on Rural Arts’ website: