You’ve just produced a great show and would love more audiences to see it. Touring can be a great way to do that. It is also another way to continue the life of the work, and for the work to sustain the livelihood of everyone on your team for longer than one run.
Keep in mind, there are lots of questions specific to your production that need to be answered before it can go on tour. In general for any show however, you want to answer YES to all of the following questions before you decide to take it on tour.
- Are all the production elements that are unique to my show (set pieces, costumes, equipment, etc) easily transportable?
- Do I have touring/royalty agreements in place with all the creative team who worked on the production?
- Do I have a quality archival video, with good sound?
- Do I have great production and promotional photography for my production?
- Do I have a tech rider for my production (written by a technician who is familiar with the show)?
- Do I know the total minimum number of people (performers, stage manager(s), designer(s), etc) required for the show to travel?
- Do I have a budget for how much it would cost to take the show on the road, including shipping, travel, sleeping accommodations, and per diems?
If you have determined that your show is ready to go on tour, you have to decide whether:
1. you will seek out presenters to present your show,
2. you will self-present your show in other venues, or
3. you will have a combination of presenters and self-presented shows (this is quite common).
Having a presenter usually means that a company and/or venue has booked you to perform your show in their space (or in a space they provide) and are paying you a guaranteed fee, and/or a split of the box office. You and your presenter will negotiate the agreeable terms to execute the performance successfully. This will include, but are not limited to, required production elements, technical considerations, travel requirements, sleeping accommodations, hospitality, and marketing.
Being presented usually means you have to do less planning outside of the actual production. Your presenter is supporting your production for a return on their investment at the box office. Keep in mind when you first contact a presenter, they are likely booking 12 to 24 months into their programming.
A simple and straightforward way to represent your production to potential presenters is by putting together a Presenter Package. This looks similar to a media kit you may already have. Make sure it includes:
- Image(s) of the production
- Information about the original presentation (keep it brief) and its success
- Press and audience quotes
- Highlight other tour dates (past and upcoming)
- Contact info for booking inquiries
- Link to a promo video (1 to 5 mins max)
Self-presenting basically means you are producing your show again in another venue (or multiple other venues). You are responsible for securing all the resources to successfully execute your performance, including the venue and the audience. You are also assuming the box office risk.
A tour that is entirely self-presented can be a tremendous amount of work. Often, tours may have self-presented performances sprinkled in between performances with presenters because it is a calculated decision to fill out the tour schedule (e.g. to take advantage of days where the production and touring company are already being paid to be on the road).