Supported Programme helps promoters to programme excellent and experimental new work in venues across the Highlands & Islands.
At The Touring Network we strive for sustainable outcomes in everything we do, and it is our desire that Supported Programme allows the Network to respond to gaps in genre and geography, to empower promoters to reach out to new audiences by making their programmes more accessible, yet at the same time, allowing them to retain their independence as programmers.
Since 2013, 45 different tours, with an average of 4 performances each, have been programmed by promoters across the Highlands & Islands with the support of The Touring Network.
Supported Programme bursaries are awarded to promoters who need financial assistance in order to:
- take risks on certain shows
- programme different genres
- and encourage new and more diverse audiences to attend their events.
This allows them to pay a fair and reasonable fee to performers, who otherwise may not be able to tour to some of the more remote and rural areas of Scotland.
Priority is currently given to shows that:
- tackle equalities, diversity and inclusion issues
- are dance, physical theatre, new music, or site-responsive works
- have audience development potential
- and have interest from at least 4 Touring Network promoters.
HOW IT WORKS
The Supported Programme Collection
The Touring Network regularly curates Collections of shows/acts that meet the above criteria. These Collections are shared with promoters via Tourbook, in the monthly Promoter Noticeboard, and on social media channels.
When a show/act is included in the Supported Programme Collection, The Touring Network contacts the performer to ensure that they understand how Supported Programme works, and to negotiate a set fee per performance. This is the fee that all Touring Network promoters involved in the tour will pay for the show, whether they receive a Supported Programme bursary or not.
Setting a Cut-off Date
The Touring Network and the performer agree a cut-off date, by which time the tour will be provisionally booked and the promoters should apply for financial assistance. This date must be at least 3 months before the start of the tour to allow sufficient time for:
- bursary applications to be assessed
- the tour to be finalised
- contracts to be exchanged
- print to be signed off and delivered to the promoters
- and most importantly, for the tour to be promoted effectively within each community.
Scheduling the Tour and Booking Dates
The producer/performer liaises with interested promoters to schedule the tour.
The Touring Network encourages promoters to consider the shows, and introduces the producer/performer to any promoters who express interest. If the performer and promoter have already made contact, for example, at a networking or showcase event, they are encouraged to maintain contact with each other, and keep The Touring Network informed of progress.
Applying for a Bursary
Those promoters who need financial support to book the show apply to The Touring Network for a Supported Programme bursary. Applications are accepted at any time before the cut-off date for each show, and promoters are encouraged to apply as soon as they have pencilled a date with the performer.
Approving the Bursaries
The Touring Network confirms the outcome of bursary applications, with both the individual promoters and with the performer, within a week of the cut-off date, giving both parties the confidence to confirm the bookings. By accepting a Supported Programme bursary, the promoters agree to enter into a box office split agreement with The Touring Network. The box office income that is returned to The Touring Network is reinvested into the Supported Programme pot, to help support future tours.
The Touring Network issues a Performer Agreement to the performer, and a Promoter Agreement to each promoter who has been allocated a bursary. These agreements outline the different areas of responsibility.
The promoters and performers exchange contracts directly with each other, with guidance provided to the promoters by The Touring Network, if required.
Promoting the Tour
The promoters and performers liaise with each other directly to arrange print and other marketing materials, keeping The Touring Network informed of marketing plans.
The Touring Network provides additional 1-2-1 support to all promoters involved in the tour, regardless of whether they have requested a bursary, to ensure that the events are promoted widely and new audiences are reached.
On the Night
The promoters host the performer at their venues, and provide a welcoming and inclusive event for their audiences. At the end of the night they collect audience feedback and submit it, along with a Box Office return, to the Touring Network in a timely manner. This feedback is then shared with the performer by The Touring Network.
Settling the Bill
The promoters receive their Supported Programme bursaries from The Touring Network ahead of the event so that when the performer issues an invoice to each promoter in the tour for the agreed fee, the promoter can pay it in a timely manner.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What amount of bursary can each promoter apply for?
We have a budget of £1,500 per tour that is included in the Supported Programme. Generally, this is awarded as 3 x £500 bursaries, to the promoters who need financial support the most. However, if more than 3 of the promoters in the tour need financial support, the bursary budget can be split differently.
What genres are supported?
Our current focus is on dance, physical theatre, new music, and site-responsive work.
However, if promoters require support to programme work that is a different genre, we can consider it as long as:
- the show has a provisional tour of at least 4 dates to Touring Network venues
- the tour is scheduled to take place at least 3 months from now
- the show has audience development potential
- and the show tackles equalities, diversity & inclusion issues.
What is the deadline to apply for the Autumn/Winter season?
We no longer work on a “seasons” model and will accept bursary applications from promoters at any point, as long as:
- the show has a provisional tour of at least 4 dates to Touring Network venues
- and the tour is scheduled to take place at least 3 months from now.
In order to ensure that bursaries are allocated fairly and in a timely manner, we agree a cut-off date to apply for a bursary with the performer and promoters for each particular tour. This date will be clearly communicated with each of the promoters who have provisionally booked the show.
How does the Box Office split agreement work?
Those Promoters in receipt of a Supported Programme bursary are required to submit a Box Office Return to The Touring Network within 7 days of the performance date. The Box Office Return details the number and type of tickets sold and the amount of income generated, before costs.
We use the Box Office Return data to calculate the amount due (40% of total income) and request payment from the promoter, either through GoCardless or by issuing an invoice. The remainder of the box office income is retained by the promoter to cover any costs associated with the show.
A promoter receives a bursary of £500 from The Touring Network.
Ticket income generated by the performance is £300.
The Promoter pays £120 to the Touring Network (40% of £300) and retains £180 (60% of £300).
The actual fee for the show is £600.
The promoter uses the £500 bursary and £100 of the retained Box Office to pay the performer.
This leaves the promoter with £80 to cover any other costs associated with the show.
Whose responsibility is it to sell tickets?
The Touring Network provides each promoter who receives a bursary with 1-2-1 support to help them promote the show and meet their income target, however, it is the promoter’s responsibility to sell tickets.
We would like to see each promoter achieving an income target of at least £250 per performance, and encourage promoters to use online ticketing.
We've got a show booked for next month, but the funding we had applied for has just fallen through. Can we apply for a bursary to cover some of the costs?
Unfortunately not. The cut off for applications for a Supported Programme bursary are at least 3 months in advance of the first date of each tour.
How do I get my show included in the Supported Programme Collection?
Please note that in 2017/18, priority will be given to shows that are already included in our Supported Programme Collection, and which showcased at The Touring Network’s Gathering in March. However, if you are available to tour from March 2018 onwards and would like us to consider your show, please complete our short form. If we think your show is eligible, we will contact you to discuss your tour plans.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the 65+ promoter groups in The Touring Network programme independently, with 900 events taking place across the Network each year. Those events that take place through Supported Programme are a small percentage of the overall activity.
We're a mid-scale Promoter with our own funding. Can we apply for a Supported Programme bursary?
Our budget for Supported Programme is limited, so we are only able to provide bursaries to 3 of the promoters in each tour, and priority is given to small-scale promoters who do not have funding.
However, if the show is not something you would normally programme, then we can accept and consider an application from you.
If we aren’t able to offer you a bursary, you are still able to book the show for the reduced fee that the Touring Network has negotiated with the company.
Do you provide printed tickets?
This is discussed with the promoters involved in each tour. If physical tickets are considered useful, these can be arranged.
How many bursaries can a promoter receive each year?
In order to ensure that the 65+ promoter groups in the Network have the chance to participate in Supported Programme, bursaries are limited to 2 per promoter group in each 12 month period.
What is the contracting process?
Once a tour is confirmed, the performer should exchange contracts with each of the promoters. We are able to provide advice and guidance on this, and a template is provided if required.
We also expect the performer to enter into a Supported Programme Performer Agreement with The Touring Network, agreeing to a reduced fee for a minimum tour of 4 dates, and any other conditions that we discuss. As well as each promoter entering into a Promoter Agreement with The Touring Network, agreeing to a 60/40 box office split.
What does the bursary application process involve?
There is an online application form, which includes questions such as:
- How will this show help you to reach new audiences?
- What is the total cost expected to be; what is your income target?
- How many tickets do you aim to sell, and at what price?
- What alternative funding options do you have to finance this event?
- How will you sell tickets?
- How will you promote this show?
- Does the show tackle equalities, diversity and inclusion issues?
- Have you ever programmed a show like this? If yes, what and when?
You should aim to complete the form in one go as you cannot save your work.
Once submitted, we will aim to respond within 7 days of the agreed cut-off date.
If you are not able to submit your application online, please contact us so that we can arrange an alternative method.
When do promoters receive their bursaries?
Bursaries are paid to promoters at least 1 week in advance of the performance date, once a signed copy of the Supported Programme Promoter Agreement is returned.
Why do promoters have to share their Box Office income with The Touring Network?
We want our Supported Programme to be financially sustainable for all the promoters involved, as well as for The Touring Network.
Any Box Office income paid to the Touring Network feeds back into the Supported Programme budget so that we can continue to offer bursaries to those promoters who need financial support.
The box office split agreement for the original model of Supported Touring was 70/30, in favour of The Touring Network, and then 50/50. The Supported Programme model is a 60/40 split, in favour of the Promoter.
We've got a tour booked for next month, but the funding we had applied for has just fallen through. Can the promoters who have booked our show apply for a bursary to pay for our fee?
Unfortunately not. The cut off for applications for a Supported Programme bursary must be at least 3 months in advance of the first date of each tour.
Can The Touring Network help us to coordinate a tour?
Unfortunately we do not have the resources to be able to help performers to coordinate their tours, however the new version of Tourbook will make it easier for performers and promoters to connect with each other online. The new Tourbook is due to launch in summer 2017.
It is up to the performer/producer to liaise with promoters to provisionally book, and then confirm the tour. Once interest has been gathered from at least 4 Touring Network promoters, we can offer performers some advice on the most logical tour routes if required.
If my show is included in your Collection, does that guarantee that I will tour the Highlands?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that every show that we include in our Collection will tour the Highlands. It is up to the performer and/or their producer to proactively engage with promoters to book the tour.
Who provides print for the tour?
We would expect the performer to design and print posters and flyers for our promoters to use. The Touring Network’s logo should be included on all print related to the tour.