George Egg
George Egg

THE popular Highlights Rural Touring Scheme has unveiled an eclectic mix of entertainment for its autumn programme.

From theatre, dance, comedy and live music to Christmas specials and family shows, Highlights is bringing some of the UK’s best touring companies and artists to the heart of rural communities with their 2021 Autumn Season.

Director Kate Lynch said: “The joy for both artists and audiences to be back in shared spaces for live events is unbound and we are thrilled to share the magic of rural touring again.

“We know that the coming months still carry some uncertainty but we are optimistic that we will deliver our full autumn Season as planned and provide lots of opportunities for rural audiences to share a fantastic arts performance together right on their doorsteps.”

Highlights work with an army of volunteer promoters in more than 65 community venues and village halls across the north of England.

This season sees 14 performances in ten village halls and community spaces in County Durham. Kicking things off on October 7, at Cotherstone Village Hall is family storyteller Gav Cross with Twisted Tales for Terrible Children.

Among the theatre highlights are two entertaining plays exploring the experiences of rural communities.

Leaping across landscapes and racing through 600 years, Hefted (Utass, Middleton-in-Teesdale, November 6) tells a powerful, universal tale about the ties that bind communities to the land.

In Jacaranda (Barningham Village Hall, November 20), two unlikely strangers are brought together on a night that will change their lives forever.

There’s plenty to laugh about with some very unconventional comedy performances. George Egg, stand-up comedian and star of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice, shares hysterical tips for cooking on the move whilst whipping up some gourmet food on a car engine live on stage in his show Movable Feast at Mickleton Village Hall on November 13.

Stand-up poet, comedian and BBC Radio 4 regular Kate Fox explores autism and why we need to rethink ‘normality’ through the theme of Doctor Who in her funny show Bigger on the Inside at the Scarth Hall, Staindrop, on Friday, November 19.

There’s a plethora of live music on offer with beautiful evocative music inspired by some of the nation’s best-loved books from award-winning folk duo The Bookshop Band (Cotherstone Village Hall, October 28).

Elsewhere, and seasoned blues musician and one of the world’s finest acoustic guitarists, Martin Harley joins the tour for a rare solo show at Bowes and Gilmonby Village Hall on December 12.

All performances will adhere to the latest Covid-19 guidelines. For booking information and details about the full Highlights Rural Touring Scheme Autumn Season visit