HIGHLIGHTS rural touring will bring 15 new shows to County Durham this autumn.

Village halls will host an exciting range of productions from across the UK and Canada with some of the finest touring companies aimed at small communities.

Remarkable true-life stories, sci-fi and Dicken’s classics and shows from the Edinburgh Fringe will appear alongside festive family shows, music and this year’s contemporary craft tour, Craft & Conflict.

In all, there will be 18 performances at 14 villages across Teesdale and Wear Valley between September and December.

Northern Stage relocates H G Well’s sci-fi novel to the North East in War of the Words at Hamsterley; Box Tale Soup returns with Oscar Wilde’s classic tale about debauchery and scandal in The Picture of Dorian Gray at Upper Weardale; Canada’s Theatre Newfoundland Labrador performs a play about the extraordinary life and heroism of Frances Cluet VAD in a run of dates at Whorlton, Stanhope and Middleton in Teesdale: and from her prison cell awaiting execution, one of history’s most infamous spies, Mata Hari, tells her story at Mickleton.

Middleton in Teesdale and Staindrop will cater to young audiences with two charming adaptations of old favourites, The Wind in the Willows and Jack and the Beans Talk.

Music offers a cross-culture, cross-genre mix of French Canadian roots music, jazz, folk, county and blues.

The North-East’s James Birkett and Emma Fisk share the programme with Canada’s Bon Debarras, Cheshire’s Jaywalkers and London’s comedic string quartet, Bowjangles.

Katie Doherty from Blanchland, Consett, starts off the season with folk inspired music in Edmundbyers and the season draws to a close with harmony singing of Christmas favourites in a Christmas cabaret from ShooShooBaby at Upper Weardale Town Hall.

The contemporary craft tour, Craft & Conflict, is an exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War showcasing work by 12 artists from Syria, Sweden, Sri Lanka and the UK who use a variety of media including ceramic, textiles, enamel, resin and film.

Craft & Conflict will be shown at Bowlees Visitor Centre, The Witham in Barnard Castle and St Thomas Church Hall in Stanhope.