Touring News

In late October the third PATA National Performing Arts Touring Forum was held. Many representatives from the APACA membership and Board attended.

Issues raised and discussed during the session included:

  • Tour Markets (led by APACA)
  • Tour Delivery services (led by Country Arts SA)
  • Local Government (led by RAA)
  • Parliamentary Report:  Arts and the news to rural and regional Australia (led by AMPAG)
  • Majors Tour Mapping (led by AMPAG)

PATA Manager Merryn Carter led a discussion on progress on the scoping and identification of methodologies to develop and implement the PATA National Touring Measurement Framework.

Small-group discussions were held on topics which had been proposed by PATA Council members and included:

  • Playing Australia and National Touring Status
  • Security of Supply (of work for touring)
  • Education and touring
  • Market Development (ensuring markets are ‘ready to receive’ touring work)
  • APAM and International Touring’s relationship to national touring
  • Community Development/Engagement, and the role of Local Government in touring

As part of the report on touring markets, I acknowledged that curated markets are now the norm. This change alone has provided much support and encouragement for improved programming activity across the country.

I noted that in the last 12 months the following markets took place:

  • APAM – the Australian Performing Arts Market
  • Queensland Showcase
  • Victorian Showcase
  • CircuitWest’s Playing the State
  • SAPA Showcase [SA Presenters Association]
  • Major Festivals Initiative Development site
  • ISPA pitch sessions
  • APACA’s national Performing Arts Exchange

There was also an online round/market via the NTS.

In addition, genre-specific events are increasingly being recognised as markets, including Adelaide Fringe’s Honey Pot program, Next Wave, Dance Massive, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the meet and greet run by the Australia Council in conjunction with the AAPPAC conference.

Whilst there won’t be an MFI, APAM or ISPA next year we will have Showbroker taking the list to six formal markets.

Two of the actions of the National Touring Action Plan include:
1. Mapping current and proposed national, state and regional showcases and similar events and

2. Coordinating the timing and promotion of these events to the broader touring sector, to identify opportunities for enhanced collaboration

These actions aim to help presenters and producers determine where their resources and efforts should be focused in order to best develop relationships and networks, help presenters identify programming opportunities and producers develop presentation and development opportunities.

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The Australian Performing Arts Centres’ Association (APACA) welcomes the commitment of the Commonwealth to maintaining the level of funding to the arts sector in this year’s Federal Budget, especially given the economically challenging circumstances.

A recent APACA survey has highlighted the difficulty presenters are experiencing in delivering balanced, financially sustainable programs to their audiences, particularly in regional and remote areas. The national performing arts touring sector is eager to receive more detail regarding the budget announcement of a new National Programme for Excellence in the Arts that proposes to make funding available to a broader range of Australian artists while ensuring audiences are equally considered.

We consider the Australia Council and its peer selection processes critical to the on-going health and vibrancy of the arts, so it is disappointing to note that the funding for the new program has come at its expense. While further information is yet to emerge, industry commentators suggest that the impact of the cuts to the Australia Council will fall on the small to medium producers – the sector responsible for much of regional touring. An erosion of capacity in this segment could reduce regional programming options and the delivery of innovative performing arts to regional audiences.

We note the work undertaken to date by the Australia Council in reforming itself to better meet the needs of the industry. We hope the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts will be similarly consultative and responsive in meeting the needs of APACA members, including presenters, small, medium and large producers and service organisations, to ensure we continue to develop a robust industry.

As performing arts centres are the key agents for the provision of professional performing arts experiences to audiences in regional and remote communities across Australia, APACA looks forward to more information on the impact that the Budget changes will have on the ability of these audiences to access quality performing arts.



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