In 2013 we launched Supported Touring, which offered a curated menu of high quality events to promoters, with the aim of helping both promoters and performers to reduce the financial risks of putting challenging and diverse work on our stages.

Five successful seasons of work have been programmed since Supported Touring was launched, with a host of exciting performances taking place, which otherwise would not have toured to the Highlands & Islands. Read more about Supported Touring here.

With each season, we have carried out a review of Supported Touring, adapting the model to suit the needs of promoters and performers, and working to ensure that it is sustainable.

Following the culmination and review of our 2015 Spring/Summer season, we thought it was about time we shared some of our plans for future programming support with you…

Support for Programming rather than Touring

As well as the original aims of Supported Touring, our ambitions with Supported Programme are to:

  • consolidate and grow the model of support, working with existing and new promoters to establish a strong, sustainable programme;
  • further develop the diversity and reach by widening the art form remit to include music and site responsive work, as well as contemporary theatre, dance, and family theatre;
  • encourage collaboration and to engage with a range of partners to bring fresh, creative approaches and new perspectives to the programming.

How will we do this?

Curated Lists

One of the exciting new features for Tourbook (due for relaunch in early 2016) will be the ability to publish curated lists. These will be recommendations of shows that are suitable, and available, for rural touring, which will be curated by promoters from across The Touring Network, as well as performers, festivals and industry experts.

If you’re a confident programmer and would like to share some of your recommendations with the Network, get in touch and we’ll tell you more.


We’re aiming to help four promoters each year to establish relationships with performers who have exciting and experimental new work, but which perhaps isn’t quite suitable for rural touring. The relationship will lead to a residency opportunity in the promoter’s community, where the performer will work with the local audience to adapt their show.

The focus for 2016/17 will be dance and physical theatre – a genre that we recognise as needing support in order to build audiences – and priority will be given to excellent and experimental new works, which tackle equalities and diversity issues, and which provide audience development opportunities.

If your venue has the facilities to host a residency, please get in touch to find out more.

Programming Bursaries

Although the financial model for Supported Touring wasn’t sustainable, we recognise that financial assistance towards programming costs is still necessary for many promoters, in particular those just starting out. We will provide Supported Programme bursaries to promoters, to help support eight different shows to tour each year. The shows that will be supported will be selected from existing shows listed on Tourbook, as well as those which are created or adapted through our residency opportunities.

Art-forms that will be supported will include dance/physical theatre, music, site-responsive work, family theatre, and contemporary theatre. As with our residency opportunities, priority will be given to excellent and experimental new works, which tackle equalities and diversity issues, and which provide audience development opportunities.

Unlike Supported Touring, we won’t be restricted to programming one 6-month season at a time. Instead, we will be working closely with promoters to identify audience development opportunities, and from there will support them to programme suitable shows.

If you would like to talk to us about accessing financial support, get in touch.

Support, Advice & Guidance

For those promoters who need a bit more help to build their confidence as programmers, we will provide 121 support from one of our programming experts.

We are also in the process of compiling a detailed Knowledge Base, which will be accessed through Tourbook, and will provide a series of best practice guides for promoters.

As ever, get in touch if you need advice.

Audience Promotion

Our online What’s On guide is for the benefit of all promoters within The Touring Network. Once programmed, dates can be added to the listings, which are then publicised widely across the Highlands & Islands, and beyond.

Not sure how to add your programme to the listings? Get in touch and we’ll talk you through it.

The Touring Network (Highlands & Islands)

Supporting live performance across the Highlands & Islands as part of a central, celebrated and indispensable part of the cultural life of Scotland.

01463 231328

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