People who don’t live in the main urban centres are just as deserving of the best art product available as anyone else. And if they’re making the best art, it deserves to be seen as widely as possible.
Performing arts and exhibitions have been part of the national touring landscape in Australia as long as anyone living would remember, but things got serious when the federal government established the Playing Australia and Visions Australia touring funds.
The commitment to Subscription Seasons in 1993 generated an imperative that a minimum number of top shelf productions be available to import and 1994/95 saw us manage our first national tour – a 6 state, 19 venue tour of Australian icon, Circus Oz.
We’ve been leaders in national touring ever since, not just in the national conversations, but as a long-standing tour manager, especially in performing arts (upwards of 360,000 children have wondered at a Patch Theatre Company production through our 12 year, 300 venue tour management partnership alone) and we now own and manage the National Touring Selector which connects over 2100 creators and presenters of performing arts from Australia and New Zealand, especially connecting regional and remote venues with producers of tour-ready shows.
Now that we have also built a reputation as a producer of great art in our own right, we can adapt to the changing needs of makers, presenters and consumers to find new audiences for the best new work.
And persistent lobbying has seen a change to the way national touring is funded enabling new works like The Season to spend time in communities and Circa to unlock the stories within the pianos of Port Pirie and Burra.
P.S. Now international companies can be seen via Arts On Screen, but that’s another story…
Written and researched by Jo Pike for Country Arts SA