Supporting Act

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Pub is The Hub celebrates support of successful project that helped bring live performances to rural pubs.

Pub is The Hub is delighted to have provided support to arts project INN CROWD to help bring quality live literature and spoken word performances to thousands of people living in rural areas in England.

Its funding support of INN CROWD projects, during the past three years, has helped 67 pubs, across six counties, to host live shows, helping to bring live performances to many people who struggle to access live theatre due to their rural location or affordability.

INN CROWD,, devised by partners Applause Rural Touring, Creative Arts East and the National Centre for Writing, started in 2016. The unique arts project has supported hundreds of venues including rural pubs, libraries, social clubs, village halls, art centres, cafes, tap rooms and breweries around the country to host exciting and inspiring spoken word, poetry and storytelling performances, reaching and engaging with a wide range of audiences.

The shows supported by Pub is The Hub, were hosted in pubs across Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent, Dorset, East Sussex and West Sussex.

Pub inspired performances

The Pub is The Hub supported performances featured some pub-inspired shows, including  ‘The Regulars’ by theatre company Teatro Vivo about pub-goers and bar staff of yesteryear.

Publicans hosting the shows reported positive feedback from attendees as well as a range of benefits to the pub.

Shows a ‘special thing’

Kirsten Webb, publican of The Purleigh Bell in Purleigh, near Chelmsford, Essex, said: “Hosting the shows was a good way of diversifying our entertainment offer. They were a special thing that the team and I looked forward to. The shows were really enjoyed and appreciated by attendees.”

Making theatre more accessible


Ian Ballantine, publican of The Kings Head in Orford, Suffolk, said: “The nearest places to us to go to the theatre are some distance, so having a show on at your local pub is a much easier place for local people to see something.”

He added:To have the ability to have art performed in a small and intimate environment is so different to what most people have experienced and gives your customers a unique experience. Our team loved the shows, which were a talking point and helped attract a different audience to just your regular drinkers. They helped spread the word about the pub more widely too.”

Audiences ‘enthralled’ by performances

Karen Johnson, publican of The White Lion at Selling in Kent, said: “The shows added an exciting and different dimension to our entertainment offer. The atmosphere in the pub during the shows was great, people were enthralled, with performances intimate and informal which customers really enjoyed.”

She added: “I absolutely loved the performances and the diversity of the shows. It was always good to hear customers buzzing and talking about the shows when they come up to the bar afterwards.”



Positive impact of shows at Dorset pub

Simon Colquhoun, publican of The Gaggle of Geese, said: “The nice thing about the shows is that we were attracting people we wouldn’t normally have had visiting the pub.”

He added: “When money is a bit tight, theatre and performance and something that is affordable is a nice thing for a pub to be able to offer.”

Find out the positive impact the INN CROWD shows had on The Gaggle of Geese’s customers here:

Proud of INN CROWD success

Dawn Badland, executive director of Applause, which runs INN CROWD, said: “We are really thankful for Pub is The Hub’s support which helped so many people in rural areas enjoy exciting and impactful live entertainment locally.”

She added: “I’m really proud of the INN CROWD teams’ fantastic achievements in enabling the wonderful work of some of the UK’s top spoken word and live literature artists to be enjoyed by thousands of pub-goers.”


Pubs adding social value

John Longden, chief executive of Pub is The Hub, said: “It’s been great to support the excellent work of INN CROWD in helping to bring live performances to many rural pubs. The shows helped widen the pub experience for regulars, attracted new customers in and helped to reinforce, once again, how the pub is the natural home for many services and activities to help support people living in their local area.”

 Winter Warmers collaboration

Pub is The Hub was also proud to partner with INN CROWD on a ‘Winter Warmers’ poetry initiative, which aimed to bring cheer and hope to publicans, their teams and people in their local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The ‘Winter Warmers’ poetry collection launched in early 2021, with the poems crafted by seven talented poets inspired by pubs and publicans. The collection included a ‘National Poem of Thanks to Our Nation’s Publicans’ written and performed by Alexandra Ewing, the daughter of a former publican. Enjoy the ‘Winter Warmers’ poems here: Winter Warmers – Pub is The Hub


Show time: project results by numbers

3 – Pub is The Hub supported INN CROWD projects over three years


6 – pubs across six counties were supported


67 – shows in pubs were performed


2,278 – the approx number of pub customers who enjoyed the shows*


*INN CROWD Impact Report by Pub is The Hub (Sept 2019)