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New Trustees sought for South East arts charity, Applause Rural Touring

New Trustees sought for South East arts charity, Applause Rural Touring Click to enlarge

05 Sep 2016

Applause Rural Touring supports communities throughout Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex to access professional theatre, music and other performing arts.

By working closely with communities Applause places professional, affordable, exciting arts performances in village halls, community centres and at outdoor events for local audiences to share in and enjoy. Rural touring schemes exist throughout England and Wales and offer life-enhancing experiences to people who often have limited access to the arts because they live outside of major towns and cities where theatres and cultural institutions are concentrated.

Applause works with a predominantly voluntary network of promoters who are the life-blood of any rural touring scheme. The promoters book performances for their village halls and summer fetes. Applause helps promoters with the selection process, marketing and advertising, also providing them with publicity material and tickets to sell.

Since becoming established as an independent organisation in 2002, Applause has:

  • Delivered over 940 performances at local venues and events
  • Worked with 846 artists
  • Developed an extensive network of over 130 promoting groups across Kent and Sussex

“Our village should not underestimate the cultural value that Applause gives us. One of the core elements of encouraging widely accessible theatre, music and performance for the whole community means programming for a range of ages and tastes within the constraints of finance, space and limited facilities. We constantly marvel at the creativity and imagination employed in order to get these productions into our village hall.”

- Applause promoter

Applause Rural Touring has programmed nationally acclaimed small-scale performances for communities working with local volunteer promoting groups for over 14 years. The scheme began as a West Kent Local Authority project in 1998. In 2002 it became an independent organisation and in 2016 became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. It is currently supported by a non-executive board of six trustees and operates from an office base in the borough of Tunbridge Wells. It is managed by its Executive Director Dawn Badland and a small team of full and part-time employees. Principal funders are Kent County Council, East Sussex Arts Partnership, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Arts Council England. Applause also attracts earned income from its activities.

New opportunities

Applause has recently been successful in receiving investment for a large partnership project developing new performance work for rural pubs. The organisation wishes to continue to explore new avenues to enable audiences to access quality arts events that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. By working with similar organisations in the region and making new partnerships from outside the arts sector Applause hopes to secure a sustainable framework for future activity.

New Trustees sought

The role of Trustee is crucial to the governance and strategic development of the organisation. As such Trustees bring vital commercial and organisational experience to the Board which will help to lead Applause through its next exciting phase of growth and development.

We wish to recruit two new voluntary trustees to join our board of trustees. Areas of experience we are particularly interested in are marketing, legal and public health and wellbeing. We are interested to hear from people who have other areas of expertise too and most essentially have an interest in working with us to support access to the arts and vibrant community experiences.

Trustees will be involved in:

  • Regular attendance and contributions to board meetings and our annual away day
  • Acting as a sounding board for our staff team and sharing individual areas of expertise
  • Feeding into the business planning process and policy development to ensure Applause is operating strategically
  • Supporting us to find new sources of income and feeding into the development of our fundraising strategy
  • Bringing a range of connections from the wider artistic and business communities

The time commitment for trustees is attendance at 4-6 meetings per year, plus an annual away day. There may be some work between meetings to help fulfil specific strategic issues, but this will depend on the trustees and their availability.

Board papers are emailed in advance of meetings and preparation prior to the meeting is expected.  We will also encourage trustees to provide additional time to support specific tasks or initiatives and to provide a sounding board to the staff and other board members. Meetings are normally located in the Tunbridge Wells area.

The role of a trustee is a volunteer position and is not remunerated but reasonable expenses can be paid.

We believe it is vital trustees see our artistic work and would also encourage trustees to represent the company at networking and other events.  You can find more information on the company and its current work at

For an initial conversation about Applause please contact Applause Director Dawn Badland to arrange to speak to one of our current trustees.

To express your interest in joining our board of trustees please send your CV and a covering letter.  In your covering letter please outline how you feel your skills and experiences meet the requirements outlined in this document. This should be sent to by 30th September 2016.


Tunbridge Wells Borough CouncilTrinity Theatre
Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1JP
Registered Charity Number 1054547
Registered Company Number 3179063