OPPORTUNITY | Navigating the touring jungle

Posted by Thom Smyth, February 14th, 2017

So you were one of the 750 shows that featured as part of this year’s Fringe World Festival. You think your show has legs, and you want another opportunity to revisit it and give it a further life. What do you do next?

There are many avenues for touring your show, but finding your way through the jungle can be a little daunting. Fear not – we’ve got a handy round up to help point you in the right direction for your work.

Our biggest tip – do your research! Jump onto some venue websites to see what they are programming – it’s the venues that make the ultimate decision what goes on their stages. Check out the showcase events and what sort of shows they are featuring. Have a chat to other artists who have toured.

Performing Lines & Performing Lines WA
At Performing Lines WA, we work with independent Western Australian contemporary artists to get their projects off the ground, including regional and national tours. Recent tours we have completed include Sensorium Theatre’s immersive production for children with disabilities, Oddysea, and The Skeletal System’s Great White by Will O’Mahony.

We also have offices in Sydney and Hobart. Our Sydney office works with artists and companies in any state, while Hobart focusses on Tasmanian artists.

Our focus is on producing contemporary performance – check out our artistic policy here. There are a number of other options that may be a better fit for more traditional theatre, comedy, circus and dance shows.

FIRST UP

National Touring Selector
The first step to getting on the road is to head over to the National Touring Selector to register your production. The NTS is a virtual market for performing arts, bringing together producers and presenters, and offering a comprehensive list of resources and contacts. It is also used by many of the showcase events to take registrations of shows.

WA REGIONAL TOURING

Country Arts WA
Western Australia has a number of options available to support and tour your production. Country Arts WA may be a good first stop for you. They offer an annual Shows on the Go program touring self-contained productions to a mix of managed and volunteer run venues. Want to know more? https://www.countryartswa.asn.au/our-services/touring/

Shows on the Go program
Shows on the Go promotes professional, self-contained productions, and is a community-driven touring model where regional venues vote for the productions they would most like to see performed in their town. An annual Shows on the Go Touring Menu is produced via shows registered on the National Touring Selector website. For information for touring in 2018, please contact the touring team at touring@countryartswa.asn.au


Maybe (   ) Together’s Small Voices Louder successfully pitched at WA Showcase 2016.

CIRCUITWEST | WA Showcase
This is a state-based showcase bringing together West Australian artists and companies with presenters and venues. The Circuitwest WA Showcase will be held on 10 til 12 May 2017 at the Subiaco Arts Centre. Circuitwest is the peak body representing Presenters and Producers in Western Australia.

At last year’s showcase, Alex Desebrock of Maybe (   ) Together pitched the aMoment Caravan and Small Voices Louder. Performing Lines WA picked up Small Voices Louder, and we’ve just opened the premiere at Perth International Arts Festival, while aMoment Caravan just completed a successful season as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Nights program.

Submissions are open until 1 March 2017 and feature a variety of different categories to represent your work in the showcase. To submit your show for consideration, click here.

Not sure about pitching? We’d recommend attending a day to see how it all works and seeing if it’s an appropriate forum for your show.

Also – check out the Circuitwest website for a list of venues, news and more.

NATIONAL

APACA PAX (Performing Arts Exchange)
The Performing Arts Exchange (PAX) is the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association’s (APACA) networking and tour development event. The accompanying APACA Conference also offers professional development opportunities with international guest speakers. This year’s event will take place in Sydney from 21 to 24 August 2017. Applications to present at the event will open in April.

ShowBroker
Showbroker, a new performing arts market opportunity, will be launched in Adelaide from 27 February to 1 March 2017, during the Adelaide and Adelaide Fringe festivals. Producers of tour-ready work will be pitching – check out the full program here>>

ArTour
arTour is Queensland’s state-based touring coordinator. It supports performing artists and producers from all around the country to tour work through regional Queensland. arTour runs an annual touring showcase event and will be hosted at the Redland Performing Arts Centre on 21 and 22 March 2017. Applications to pitch have now closed – keep an eye out for next year.

Regional Arts Victoria
Regional Arts Victoria are Victoria’s touring body. Partnering with the Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres (VAPAC),  Regional Arts Victoria runs an annual performing arts marketplace Showcase Victoria – this year’s event will be held at Malthouse Theatre from 31 May – 1 June 2017. Applications to pitch have now closed – keep an eye out for next year.


Nicola Gunn’s Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster. Performing Lines secured a recent New York season at APAM 2016.

INTERNATIONAL

Australian Performing Arts Market
If you think your show has international appeal, the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) is Australia’s internationally focused event for contemporary performing arts. Held bi-annually in Brisbane, applications to be part of the 2018 program will open later this year.

FUNDING

A range of funding is available to individuals and performing arts organisations for touring.

The Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA)
The Regional and Remote Touring Fund (RRTF) supports performing arts shows touring to regional and remote towns and communities in Western Australia, and is available for performing arts organisation or artists with a ‘tour ready’ show who can demonstrate support from a minimum of two regional presenters, venues, or communities in regional WA.

Smaller tours may be possible through the Creative and Commercial Development grants system – click here for more info>>

Travel-only support is also available to assist with the costs of pitching at interstate showcase events. Check out the Commercial Development Grants Program for more info.

Australia Council for the Arts
The Playing Australia: Regional Performing Arts Touring program supports performing arts to reach regional and remote communities  across Australia. These grants are available for individuals and organisations to support the net touring costs associated with national (multi-state) touring.

Smaller tours may be possible through their other grants programs. Click here for more info>>

RESOURCES

Both arTour and Circuitwest websites offer a collection of helpful resources, including tips, templates and videos, when planning a tour.

Still confused? Give us a shout! Shoot an email through to Thom Smyth, Marketing Manager – thom@performinglineswa.org.au


NEWS | Rachael Whitworth reports on ISPA & IPAY

Posted by Cecile Lucas, February 9th, 2017

Our Producer Rachael Whitworth has just returned from a trip to the US, concluding her engagement with the ISPA Australia Council Legacy Program. She attended the ISPA Congress in New York, and the International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase in Wisconsin. Too excited to hear all about it, Cecile did not leave her time to catch her breath, and quizzed her on the international experience.

Cecile: You’ve recently attended the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) Showcase in Wisconsin, as well as the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA) Congress in New York. Can you tell us a bit about each?

Rachael: I have been an ISPA Australia Council fellow for the past four years. This has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of the global fellows program which fosters emerging and mid-career arts workers from around the world. The fellows come together for a day before the official congress and it is always my favourite part of the program. It provides insight and understanding of arts practice from around the globe and makes me feel very lucky to be living and working in Australia. Some of the fellows literally risk their lives in their quest to create and distribute art in their home countries.

There is a strong focus on leadership at ISPA: how can we make arts relevant to our communities and continue a legacy of the arts as a mechanism for inclusion and change? This year, the theme was ‘Currents of Change: Arts, Power + Politics’. This focal point was intensified by the state of politics around the world and sharpened the lens on the need for the Arts to provide a voice for those who are being silenced whilst offering insight and a different way of thinking for others.

IPAY is a market and showcase for theatre created for young people. This is a smaller gathering of about 200 people and everyone is extremely friendly and open! The program literally runs from 9am to 11pm every day, with full shows presented, break-out discussions around particular topics, 15 minute pitch sessions and an exhibition hall for meetings. It was pretty exhausting as the four-day showcase was packed but I met a lot of presenters and saw plenty of international work, both good and bad.

What have you found the benefit of these sorts of event to be for the artists you’re working with and for you as a producer?
ISPA is a professional development opportunity for me as a Producer. I have dramatically expanded my international network and have a better picture of how the arts industry operates in different countries around the world. Many of the people I have formed relationships with I may never work directly but certainly some of this network may lead to opportunities for artists. Indeed, we’ve a couple of exciting presentation opportunities in the pipeline….

Travelling to both ISPA and IPAY also provides exposure to a lot of performances that helps to benchmark arts practice in Australia. And so, this benefits artists that we work with at Performing Lines WA as I have a context for what is happening in performance practice around the world and how the work made in Western Australia may or may not fit in different markets.

Did you see any shows that were amazing?
There are lots of festivals happening in NY in January and I try to see as many shows as I can. You might expect everything you see internationally to be amazing when in fact, there is an equal amount of good and bad everywhere. I saw an amazing dance work for young people And then… by Claire Parsons Co (Sweden), The Polar Bears Go up by Fish and Game (UK) and Shh!  We have a plan by Cahoots (Northern Ireland) at IPAY.

And Then...’ by Claire Parsons Co

My favourite shows in NY were part of COIL Festival by PS122: Forced Entertainment’s Real Magic was incredible – it repeated a 10 minute section of a reality show over and over for 90 mins; and A Study on Effort by Bobbi Jene Smith, an intense dance work with a live violinist.


A Study on Effort by Bobbi Jene Smith

How does Australian work you’ve seen compare to the sorts of shows presented at these markets?
The good news is the Australian shows at both conferences were awesome, and some of the best in the program! Nicola Gunn’s Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster (produced by Performing Lines) and Antony Hamilton’s MEETING were standouts at COIL Festival, and Slingsby Theatre’s The Young King won the Victor Award for best show at IPAY as voted by attendees.

I think the standard of Australian work is very high. Much of the best work I saw, particularly in NY, has something very important to say about the world. Whenever I return to Australia, I always have a refreshed sense of making sure we work on projects that not only have artistic rigour but also a clear focus on what the work is trying to say or reflect about our society today.

So imagine I’m a producer from a small-to-medium and/or an independent artist. What advice would you give to me if I’m considering attending a big arts market like these, PAX or APAM?
If you can, I highly recommend attending before you go with something to sell. It’s a chance to meet people, see how other artists and companies represent their shows, and get a feel for how it all works.

If you are wanting your work to tour, you need to have that in your mind from the outset and create the work to be nimble and tourable. That doesn’t necessarily mean small, or cheap-looking, or that its fits into a suitcase, but that it’s smart and made with an eye to how it will pack up and hit the road. Australian work is very expensive to get anywhere, so really consider the set and your cast and touring party size. Good images and interesting description of the work is important in getting people to engage with your idea and form, in what is often, a very competitive and tiring environment.

I think it is always best for presenters to actually see work live which I know is not always possible at these markets. If you know why you have made the work and who you made it for, you can quickly and succinctly direct your work to the presenters who are actually interested.

Got other questions about pitching your work? We can help. Have a chat with Rachael, Fiona or Thom. Shoot us an email at hello@performinglineswa.org.au
Stay tuned for our rundown of upcoming arts markets, and for Thom’s Top Tips for preparing tour marketing materials.