£35 million is available for Strategic touring between 2015-18. This includes £750,000 per annum of the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund to support inbound international touring.

This programme is a targeted grant, from our Strategic funding programmes: using Lottery investment to help achieve our mission of Great art and culture to everyone.

Aims of the programme

We've refreshed our guidance for the Strategic touring programme. Through the range of applications we will support, we aim to ensure that:

1. people across England have improved access to great art visiting their local area:

  • better access to high quality work for people in places in England which rely on touring for much of their arts provision 
  • more high quality work to reach people and places with the least engagement
  • extending the reach of high quality touring work by widening audience access and broadening the range of venues presenting the work

2. stronger relationships forged between those involved in artistic, audience and programme development on both the demand (eg venues, audiences, promoters) and supply (eg artists, producers) side of touring.

3. a wide range of high quality work on tour, including in particular more work which reflects the diversity of the local community and/or contemporary England,  more incoming international work and more mid-scale theatre. 

We encourage you to consider how your project can contribute to these aims, but your application doesn't have to address every aim. For an idea of what makes a successful Strategic touring project, have a look at Northern Ballet's Short Ballets for Small People.

Please note that whilst we still encourage applications relating to work for, by and with children and young people, this will no longer be a priority. There has been a significant number of recent awards and projects delivering against this aim.

Range of funding

The Strategic touring programme is not the only way that the Arts Council supports touring. Touring organisations and activity are also funded through the National portfolio of organisations and Grants for the arts. You should consider these funding options when determining the most suitable route for your proposed activity.


The Strategic touring programme is now in its third year, and the Arts Council will be undertaking an evaluation of the programme in 2015.

Key dates

The Strategic touring programme has six funding rounds for applications per year. You can submit your application at any time during the year and we will inform you by email of the date on which you should hear the outcome of your application.

To be considered for a particular funding round, applications must be submitted by 5pm on the deadline day for that round.

Any decision to offer funding will be subject to finalising an offer letter and any special conditions for grants.

Round 21: Deadline Friday 3 July 2015, outcomes Monday 14 September 2015

Round 22: Deadline Friday 18 September 2015, outcomes Monday 9 November 2015  

Round 23: Deadline Friday 13 November 2015, outcomes Monday 18 January 2016

Round 24: Deadline Friday 22 Jan 2016, outcomes Monday 14 March 2016

How to apply

1. Read the guidance and talk to your local office

Download and read our guidance, available in PDF format and Word format. This includes key dates on forthcoming funding rounds and information for unsuccessful applicants who wish to apply again.

You must then contact our Customer Services team to speak to someone in your local Arts Council office who will advise you on your proposal.

2. Complete and submit your application form online

Go to our online portal where you can complete and submit the online application form. You can save your work and come back at any time to complete the form.

Other resources

CultureHive is a free resource to help arts and culture organisations to discover and share best practice in cultural marketing. Run by the Arts Marketing Association, it provides key case studies, toolkits, research, articles and more, with the tools you need to promote art and culture. It has a section on Touring and includes a section on how taking a show on the road comes with its own set of challenges. Learn how to maintain best practice in marketing your show away from home. Find out more