New Places, Extraordinary Spaces - Projects

New Places, Extraordinary Spaces

'New Places, Extraordinary Spaces' is an Arts Council England Strategic Touring Fund programme designed to increase access to the arts, especially in places with low levels of arts engagement and those that rely on touring for much of their arts provision.
In 2012 Creative Arts East was awarded funding for this 3-year rural touring project which focuses primarily, although not exclusively, on working with communities in West Norfolk and West Suffolk to create new circuits for theatre and spoken word performance in non-traditional performance venues such as pubs and libraries.
Natalie Jode Executive Director at Creative Arts East says of this project "This funding has given us an opportunity to develop new venues for live performance, engage with new and wider audiences in rural areas and seek out and commission new work by exciting companies which is appropriate for smaller and non-traditional spaces"
Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: 'Projects under the Strategic Touring Programme represent creative and innovative ways to give audiences across the country access to high quality work, often in unusual venues such as libraries, pubs, schools and outdoor spaces. We're really excited about the potential of these projects to get more people involved in the arts and to ensure that wherever they live, they have the chance to experience and be inspired by the arts'.
To deliver this programme, we have been working with key partners
including district councils and local library services, in particular
these include:
Breckland Council (Norfolk)
West Suffolk Borough Council (Suffolk)
Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk (Norfolk)
Norfolk County Council
Suffolk County Council
Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service
Suffolk Libraries IPS
Writers Centre Norwich
Norwich Arts Centre
In addition, the impact of the programme is being monitored and evaluated by leading partners in this sector, including The Audience Agency and renowned Community Arts expert, Francois Matarasso.
Francois Matarasso is a writer who's fascinated by how people make, use and share art. His latest books are about amateur theatre (Where we Dream) and artists in old age (Winter Fires). Now he's working with Creative Arts East, and illustrator Rose Redzia, to tell the story of what place art has in people's lives and how we learn to like what we like. Francois will compile a short book titled "A Wider Horizon, why do we like what we like?" portraying individual connections with the programme and the wider arts and cultural offer. He will also maintain regular updates via his Regular Marvels blog:
The Audience Agency is a national agency that helps cultural organisations to understand, grow and engage with, their audiences. They will compile interim and final reports on the reach and impact of this programme, assessing the profile of audience members and their value of this work. To date, findings from the interim Audience Agency report tell us that:
  • Rural touring activities triple the reach to people within the "rural solitude" profile group, in comparison to the engagement figures of this group across the east of England;
  • Our work is reaching those people in the "small town diversity" profile group by over 150% above the typical east of England engagement figures.
More specifically:
  • on average audiences for Creative Arts East events come from within a 9 mile radius, proving that these events really are made for and by the communities in which they are held;
  • 4.7 out of 5 was the score given by audience members for the quality of the performances they experienced;
  • 4.7 out of 5 was the score given by audience members for "value for money"
  • 51% of those surveyed said they would not have attended the event if it had not been local to them;
  • 65% counted themselves as "new Creative Arts East audience" members.
If you would like to find out about events taking place in the libraries, pubs and other community venues in West Norfolk and Suffolk please check out the What's On calendar
For more information on the programme please contact: Julie Hewitt, Community Touring Assistant, on or 01953 713391