There are three stages of transcribing DNA into RNA. These stages are initiation, elongation and termination, and they are well-understood biochemically. However, despite the plethora of structural information made available on RNA polymerase in the last decade, little is available for RNA polymerase in complex with transcription elongation factors. To understand the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation, we describe the first structure, to our knowledge, for a bacterial RNA polymerase in complex with an essential transcription elongation factor. The resulting structure formed between the RNA polymerase and NusA from Bacillus subtilis provides important insights into the transition from an initiation complex to an elongation complex, and how NusA is able to modulate transcription elongation and termination.