What is involved
Touring is activated when a need arises from a producer, presenter or a tour coordinator. Funding bodies also create programs to support touring. Tours may also be initiated by community groups and local government.
When hosting a touring production, presenter responsibilities include marketing, ticketing, audience development, technical support, compliance and management of associated staff.
Presenter driven touring
Presenters host a production or a season for a particular audience and stakeholders. They source work from within Australia (or overseas) to create a program of productions for their particular community. If the production they seek originates from another State or Territory, it is more economically viable to create a tour with multiple destinations. Presenters and producers gather in a variety of forums, use organisational and informal networks or other mechanisms for the purposes of creating tours.
Developing relationships is fundamental to successful touring, enabling:
The producer to appreciate the parameters within which the presenter operates (including the audiences of that particular community);
The presenter to know the producer (including artistic vision and resources).
The presenter may assume full or partial financial risk for the show or season. When assuming all the risk the presenter:
Pays a set fee (sell-off fee) to the producer and;
Covers all presentation related costs and;
Receives net box office income less royalties if applicable.
Shared risk is a negotiated agreement between both parties for which the profit or the loss is divided on a percentage basis.
Producing responsibilities include staff management, contracts, rights, financial management, marketing and compliance.
Producer driven touring
Touring extends the life of a production and exposes it to wider audiences. producers are motivated to tour a work for reasons such as:
Contributing to the cultural life of communities;
Gaining a greater return on their initial investment;
Fulfilling a specific strategy, such as presenting a work to a new audience.
Producers develop touring circuits by cultivating relationships with presenters and tour coordinators at forums or one-to-one contact, or by utilising networks and other mechanisms.
In the producer-driven model, the producer is responsible for critically selecting a show for an audience. Building relationships contributes to a successful outcome and these include:
A relationship with the presenter, to gain information and support;
Getting to know audiences, through responses to a range of promotional activities and directly through pre-production media opportunities, community workshops, and pre and post show forums.
If the producer has full financial risk for the show, then involvement with the presenter is usually limited to venue hiring arrangements.
“Self-presented” is another term for producer-driven touring.
Tour coordination tasks fall into two broad categories: tour development and tour delivery.
Tour development, includes brokering arrangements between a producer and presenter/s, creating a viable touring itinerary, budgeting the tour, negotiating fees and generating agreements between parties. The tour coordinator may also apply for funding for touring costs from State and Federal sources.
Tour delivery is activated on confirmation of a tour (usually on verification of funding or by an agreement of fees to cover all tour costs). This includes contracting between presenter and producer, booking accommodation and travel, managing a tour budget, paying tour related costs and facilitating promotion. The detail is contained in the Tour Development and Delivery Checklist supplied by Arts on Tour, NSW. Tour Development & Delivery checklist
This short description does not do justice to the detailed work of tour coordination, which, top to tail, can be a 2-year process. The attached PDF, (created by Country Arts SA, a Blue Heeler employer), provides an example of a Blue Heeler application to Playing Australia. BH Playing Australia Application
Anyone deemed eligible by funding agencies can apply for grants, including individuals and organisations. Familiarity with the goals of the funding agency and their programs will contribute to the success of an application. Arts officers are more than willing to assist, particularly those new to the funding application process. The eligibility requirements are not onerous, and are easily found on the websites of the agencies.
Funding can assist to cover specific costs of touring. Usually there are more applications than funds available and those applications that most closely fill the funding criteria have a greater likelihood of success. Note the deadlines. It is also advisable to create a plan with timelines to ensure the application criteria can be fulfilled.
Both the Australia Council and Playing Australia have grant categories to support touring. State funding bodies also play an important role in funding tours.
Tour coordinators will also apply for funding on behalf of presenters and producers for touring costs.