TOURING YOUR SHOW AFTER THE FRINGE – SOME USEFUL ADVICE
For many artists touring opportunities are a reason to attend the Fringe Festival as it provides a
platform to get your work seen by potential bookers and to gather press attention. If you know you
are looking for a touring engagement or this is something you would like to consider for the future
but you are not sure what you should be thinking about, then this guide contains suggested good
practice for developing a touring strategy.
This document is merely a starting point and by no means comprehensive; it contains a basic
overview of the important things to think about with regard to touring your show.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU GET ON THE ROAD
Please have a look at the accompanying glossary for any terms or descriptions in bold you may not
be clear on.
This is a list of some key points, each with a brief summary; you will need to ensure you have
thought about these before you embark on any kind of tour of your show.
TOURING OPTIONS – what kind of tour are you planning? Whatever the nature of your tour
ensure that you plan your route. Know where you are going, how you are going to get there
and how long your journey will take.
o One Nighters
o Split Weeks
BUDGET – touring can be an expensive undertaking and there are a lot of outgoings, which
often outweigh your revenue. You will need to be pragmatic, methodical and prepared for
making contingencies when creating your budget. Unlike what you can expect from
attending the Fringe Festival touring can be fairly lucrative but only if you have budgeted
appropriately. The main things to consider are:
o Actors Salaries
o Crew Salaries
o Production Costs
o Travel & Transport
o Per Diems
o Marketing & Royalties
VENUE CONTRACTS – each venue you go to may offer you a different kind of agreement.
You will need to understand what kind of agreement is best for you, based on hypothetical
calculations made for the level of income you need to generate to cover a portion of your
costs. This is something that you will need to build into your budget. Here is a list of the
sort agreements you will come across when in negotiations with venues:
o Box Office Split
o Guarantee against a Box Office Split
o Guarantee against a Percentage
o Straight Hire
o Expenses Only
PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT – depending on the size and scale of your show there is a
multitude of technical matters that you will need to think about. These should be reflected
in your budget. Questions you should be asking yourself are things like:
o How big is my set and how am I going to transport it?
o Props & costume – what is needed? What can I get per location?
o How much transportation is required?
o How many crew do I need; production manager/lighting tech/sound
tech/wardrobe/get-in & out crew etc?
o Do I need a dedicated marketing contact? Will they come with us on every date?
o Marketing material – what volume of this do I have and how is it getting to each
o Are we going overseas and if so what do I need to get us there? Have I thought
about visas and work permits?
Remember, the answers to these questions are dependent on the needs of your show. Don’t be
intimidated and assume you need everything. If you are a small company with a simple production,
then you can possibly double up on roles (i.e. director & production manager) and cut back on costs.
At the end of this document there is a list of useful websites where you can find information on
touring networks, venue resources, legal issues, contractual responsibilities and many more relevant
These are just bullet points to get you started with your planning and are not definitive so make sure
you do your research, ask questions and of course contact the Participant Development
Coordinator at the Edinburgh Fringe Office for clarification or impartial advice.
ARRANGING A TOUR: STEP BY STEP OVERVIEW
Step 1 – Opportunities during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Fringe Society has a service called Participant Development that hosts a number of free events
during the festival. These not only provide instruction and guidance on topics related to the arts and
festival industries, they also give you the chance to meet producers, promoters, other working
professionals and fellow Fringe artists. These events provide you with a unique chance to put
yourself in front of the producers, promoters, tour bookers etc. They are therefore invaluable if your
objective is giving your show life after the Fringe.
We also operate a service called the Arts Industry Office through which promoters, producers and
talent scouts register with the Fringe and ask our team for advice on what shows might be suitable
for their festival or theatre. So be pro-active, come and speak to us, tell us about your show and
what your goals are. That way we can help you target the right Arts Industry professional.
Take advantage of your time at the Fringe, make the most of it and seek out those opportunities.
More information on Participant Development, the Arts Industry Office and the opportunities they
offer can be found on the website www.edfringe.com, or get in touch at email@example.com
Step 2 – Prepare your product & make contact
If you have had a fruitful Edinburgh Fringe experience then chances are you will have gathered
positive press, good audience numbers, images, footage and good word of mouth. Collate all of this
and use it to inform your Touring Proposal.
Your touring proposal is the pack of information on your show that you will send to venues and
potential bookers and it should include the following:
Two or three good images
A DVD (five minutes or less containing highlights from your show) which allows the booker
to get a feel for your work if they haven’t already seen it. Ensure that the quality of the DVD
is good; badly filmed footage will not show your work off to its best advantage.
A press release
Artistic statement – what are the aims of you or your company? How might this fit in with
the venues you are approaching?
A description of the work that is easy to understand. Keep it simple. Get someone who
does not know your work to proofread this to ensure it is clear.
A technical schedule for the show, lighting, sound, AV, set and stage management.
A tour schedule (if you have one) so they can come see your work
Examples of your promotional material and reviews
A cover letter that contains your contact details and states that you will follow up the pack
with a phone call
Send your proposal in the post as opposed to email; email can easily get overlooked or land in the
If you have made contact with a potential booker during your time at the Fringe, then follow up on
this by personalising your letter of introduction, reminding them of the work and the discussions you
may have had.
Ensure that your Tour Proposal is reflective of you as a company; professional, well produced and
Before you start sending out your Tour Proposal, ensure that you have done the appropriate
research into whom to address it to.
Which venues might be suitable for your work? Research venues within the areas you want to
include in your route. Visit their website, get in touch and ask for programmes. If you are able then
visit them to see shows and get a feel for the spaces and facilities they provide. If you are unsure
where to start to find a venue in each region then search the culture section of the relevant local
authority/council website. You could also contact the Arts Development team for the region directly
and ask them about the venues in that area.
Step 3 – Follow Up
Once you have done your research, make a list of the venues you would like to approach and sent
them your Tour Proposal. You will then need to follow-up on this initial contact. Get in touch with
your contact at the venue with a telephone call after two weeks. Check that they have received your
proposal and looked at it. Be polite, friendly and patient – letters of this nature can be buried or
placed on a less urgent “to do pile”. Ask them if they might be interested in coming to see your work
with the incentive of a discussion afterwards. If you don’t have a finished piece ready, then let them
know about any rehearsed readings, workshops or work-in-progress showings you might be working
on, so that they can get a flavour of what you do.
If no work is available to view, then arrange to meet your contact and discuss your ideas.
If the venue is not interested then ask for feedback. Programmers and Producers try to provide
constructive feedback to companies and artists. This can be difficult for both of you. Be positive,
listen and learn from any feedback. It may not be anything to do with the quality of your work but
the fact that they have a very specific remit, timings or budget constraints. Ask for
recommendations of other venues who might find your work of interest.
Step 4 – Making a Booking
If the booker is interested in your show, then get a provisional date pencilled in. Venues will tend to
book their programme between 6 to 18 months in advance, depending on their nature. So it is
advisable to start discussions as early as possible. Some venues, if they are very interested in your
work, might be in a position to help you develop your work.
Step 5 – Communication
Once you have established your relationship with a venue then good communication is very
important in maintaining that relationship. Try to stay in touch before and after you visit a venue
about how your tour is progressing, on show developments and any new press. Also be aware of
their deadlines and give them the information they need within plenty of time.
Step 6 – Work with your venue
One of the main reasons for touring a production is to build an audience for your work out with your
local region, and as a result allow you to grow as a company/artist. It is important to work with your
venue to get an audience; it is in both your interests to get the work seen by lots of people.
There are a number of ways to do this:
Invite marketing and box office staff to see your show so they can sell it and talk about it
Write a blog and use other social media such as Twitter & Facebook to create a following for
the tour and gather your audience. You can update your audience on fun and interesting
things that happen, post pictures and announce local press response.
Compile a FAQ sheet for your venues box office that lists all the potential questions you
think an audience member might ask – i.e. who is in it, is it suitable for children, details on
any unique performance elements .That way the staff can answer questions about your
Venues normally require your marketing materials quite far in advance so ensure you have them
ready. It is your responsibility to produce your marketing materials for your tour so make sure you
print enough and that they are of good quality. What you will probably need to supply is:
Three or four high-res digital images for publicity (landscape and portrait, min. 300dpi)
High-res digital copies of your company logo and any sponsor logos if applicable, show copy
image for inclusion in venue brochure (min 300dpi)
Sample Mail Out
Flyers/Posters – a venue may stipulate to you exactly what amount and what size of these
Venues and programmers are often very interested in an accompanying outreach work, so, if you
can, offer other activity around the performance such as workshops, post-show discussions etc.
Only offer what you are able to provide and what is integral to the artistic integrity of your
Once you have provided all the information that the venue needs, monitor how bookings are going.
Ask if there is anything you can do to help the venue sell tickets, such as reduced ticket prices or 2
for 1 offers.
After the performance thank the venue and stay in touch with any new ideas to keep the
relationship growing. If the show was not as successful as expected, speak to the venue and discuss
how things can be improved on both sides next time.
A NOTE ON TOUR BOOKERS
Tour bookers are either individuals or organisations that you can hire to provide a touring
programming service on your behalf. They will deal directly with the venue, starting from the initial
contact through to final negotiations, leading to a contract between your company or producer and
venue. Negotiations include:
Tour routing and planning
Resident technical crew provisions
Gross box office potentials
Financial deal negotiations
If you are embarking on a tour for the very first time then this could be a useful service to you.
However engaging a tour booker on any level will incur additional costs for their time so carefully
consider your budget, your own responsibilities and the scale of your organisation before making the
decision to work with a tour booker.
A NOTE ON SUSTAINABILITY
There is currently a sector wide call for theatre makers to be conscious of the impact that touring
their work has on the environment. There is currently a study being carried out by green arts
initiative, Julies Bicycle. This study is the first systematic attempt to link the evidence of
environmental impacts with practical solutions for cutting carbon emissions. Julie’s Bicycle provides
fascinating insights, and crucially it provides the evidence base that theatre makers can use for
practical action: recommendations, tools and resources. It is directed at all those who are engaged in
the business of theatre touring: the companies themselves, their tour bookers and funders as well as
the promoters and venues who present the work.
For more information on how to make your touring efforts more sustainable then visit the Julie’s
Bicycle website - http://www.juliesbicycle.com/
Development & Information
One Nighters One performance per locale, preferred option for bookers
in small/rural venues
Split Weeks A sustained run split across two venues
Regional Tour encompassing venues in your own region or local
authority. Tend to be supported by cultural resources in
Rural Involves touring to rural communities and small-scale
venues. Performance spaces will often not be traditional
theatre spaces but rather church halls, village halls and
National Good for bigger companies, quite challenging. Generally
involves week long runs throughout the country for an
extended period of time.
International Unless you are a large-scale, funded organisation
international tours tend to be realised by invitation from
Guarantee A fixed fee for your performance paid to you by the venue,
or to the venue.
Box Office Split A split of the overall ticket income between you and the
venue. Often calculated by percentage, and the ratio of split
is negotiable, i.e. 70/30 in favour of the company
Guarantee against a Box Office Split A small, negotiable fixed fee to you, often from the first
payment from the Box Office. Any remaining income is split
between you and the venue
Guarantee against a Percentage When the venue pays you a fixed fee OR a percentage of
the Box Office, whatever is greater
Straight Hire When you pay the venue hire and all additional rental costs,
such as technical and promotion costs for use of the space
Expenses Only The venue is only covering your costs. You will not receive a
fee or any income from the Box Office.
Actors Salaries What you have agreed to pay your actors, weekly or daily,
Crew Salaries What you have agreed to pay your crew, weekly or daily,
Production Costs This includes all your equipment and materials, like set
pieces, staging, props, costume, make-up, lighting and/or
sound equipment, instruments etc.
Accommodation If you have to stay overnight more than once in a location,
you have to consider the cost of this, where it will be and
how many people in your team need it.
Travel & Transport Hire of vehicles, petrol consumption, train/bus/ferry/plane
Per Diems Latin for “Per Day” – if you are on tour for an extended
period of time, then you need to consider daily expenses
for your cast and crew. Money in their pocket essential for
buying food etc.
Marketing & Royalties’ Flyers, posters, brochures, business cards, DVDs, Tour
Proposals, print press releases and letters etc.
PRS and the rights to a script etc.
Contingency Your back up cash for any unforeseen extras or unexpected
losses, usually about 10%
In-Kind The value of what you can get for free or in exchange for
something you can offer, like a workshop or logo placement
in your programme. I.e. Rehearsal space, borrowed
The Festival Fringe Society Limited is a charitable company limited by guarantee.
VAT Reg No 269 811721. Registered in Scotland No. SC002995.