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Small Venues Campaign for Quality Performance in Yorkshire

Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire arts venues work together to support quality touring theatre and develop audiences as part of the Small Venues Network (SVN).

Ian Morley, Theatre programmer from The Civic, Barnsley said:

“In a competitive industry where talented emerging artists and small scale touring companies can struggle to get their work programmed, the Small Venues Network actively look for opportunities to co-promote work and coordinate short tours.”

The Small Venues Network is supported by Arts Council England, and is an informal organisation made up of 11 small arts venues in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region. Current SVN Venues are: Junction (Goole), The Civic (Barnsley), Georgian Theatre Royal (Richmond), The Carriageworks Theatre (Leeds), Square Chapel (Halifax), The Ropewalk (Barton on Humber), The Courthouse (Otley), Helmsley Arts Centre, Selby Town Hall, Pocklington Arts Centre and Seven (Leeds).

Lizzie Forbes-Rite, Small Venues Network Coordinator said:

“Over the last few years the Small Venues Network has developed into a strong supportive group which has collectively increased the scope and reach of their programming as well as other benefits gained by working together rather as a lone small voice.”

Charlie Studdy, Arts & Leisure Manager from Junction Goole agrees:

“We may be small individually but taken together, the network has more seats than the West Yorkshire Playhouse. We’ve found that by joining forces, we can share our knowledge of all aspects of running a small venue – someone round the group usually has the answer. We can also book tours together more economically, as well as bringing work to our audiences that we might not have been adventurous enough to on our own.” 

Examples of works programmed by the Small Venues Network and at The Civic, Barnsley this May, are The Best Thing by the UK’s leading full mask theatre company Vamos Theatre and Telling Tales by award-winning poet Patience Agbabi. SVN have also commissioned Cardboard Joe, a new work from Yorkshire’s own 154 Collective to tour across all 11 venues in Autumn 2016.

Charlie Studdy concludes: “So much has happened so far and we are only half way through a project funded by Arts Council. To see how other similar venues in the region might benefit from membership of the group, we are planning a conference for March 2017 to share this work.”

To find out more about the Small Venues Network visit

The Best Thing is at The Civic Friday 6 May at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 full price and £10 concession. Recommended for ages 12+

Telling Tales is at The Civic on Friday 13 May at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8. Recommended for ages 14+