Journal and News

November Members Highlights

On Wednesday 22nd November, ITC hosted a members forum with Hannah Lake, Director of Touring at Arts Council England.

Members were invited to ask questions about the current state of mid and small-scale touring, and highlight the challenges they’re facing.

As the guidance has recently been refreshed by ACE on how projects can be funded, this was a chance to feedback on this resource. You can find it here:

The updated document highlights that the touring fund is not for R&D, but needs to be mostly for the cost of the tour.

On this, it was clarified that rehearsal time can still be included in this under the terms of ‘making costs’. Applicants need to make sure that this percentage is not unbalanced/prominent over the cost of the actual tour. Ultimately they want to ensure that the funding is for the tour to take place.

It was agreed that the financial risk gap involved in touring has increased exponentially. ACE are concerned with and looking into issues around small-scale, local authority-run venues. ACE is aware a lot of these authorities are lacking in money, manpower and relevant knowledge, and is working with them, and local funders, to ensure they know the importance of these venues.

ACE has had a lot of feedback from producers about the recent increase of CONTRAs from venues after the initial agreed deal, e.g. sudden costs to be in the building on get-in day, and venue technical staff.

With rising costs impacting both venues and producers, the transparency of those relationships have broken down to an extent, in terms of the deal. ACE isn’t able to interfere in the deal, for obvious reasons, but what they can do is convene and facilitate a conversation.

They have also been hearing that relationships between venues and marketing teams can be really challenging and very venue-dependent, creating more challenges for producers on a single tour.

Some reasons applicants may be unsuccessful in their application are:

–              A lack of clarity around audience reach

–              A lack of developed thinking about the purpose of reaching this audience (who, why how?)

–              A lack of clearness around the connection to Let’s Create

–              No or limited consideration of environmental impact

–              Ambiguity around what the tour is trying to achieve

–              Pellucidity around why you’re touring to those venues:

  • be transparent if you’re not in a position to choose
  • elaborate on what the partnership with the chosen venue(s) entails

With this in mind, ACE is very interested in touring to non-traditional spaces; so the reasons behind these choices should be included, and tied into audience reach (if applicable).

ACE are cognisant of audiences and audience development and is very keen to understand this. With a focus on audiences who have historically had or continue to have the least access.

Inclusivity and relevance are at the forefront of their investment principles and this includes a whole range of protected characteristics and other sorts of structural disadvantages.

Members were really grateful to have the opportunity to discuss openly and practically around touring.

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