The £45 million Strategic touring programme was launched in 2011 and is designed to encourage collaboration between organisations, so that more people across England experience and are inspired by the arts, particularly in places which rely on touring for much of their arts provision.

The programme is one of the targeted grants in our strategic funding programme.

Our aims for the programme

  • people across England having improved access to great art visiting their local area. This includes:
  1. better access to high quality work for people in places in England which rely on touring for much of their arts provision
  2. more high quality work to reach people and places with the least engagement
  3. more high quality work on tour connecting more effectively with people across a wide range of venues
  • stronger relationships forged between those involved in artistic, audience and programme development on both the supply (eg artists, producers) and demand (eg promoters, audiences) side of touring
  • a wide range of high quality work on tour including, in particular, more work by and for children and young people, and more work by and for people from diverse backgrounds

Places of least engagement in the arts

Where you live is likely to have a profound impact on the likelihood of you attending or participating in the arts. There are considerable differences in engagement levels for regions, local authority areas and neighbourhoods across England and these differences go beyond merely people's choices about whether they attend and/or participate in the arts. Having considered options to help us prioritise where we target strategic funds, we believe that the Active People Survey offers reliable insight into relative levels of engagement nationally. This survey provides a snapshot of engagement levels for each local authority area in England.

For the Strategic touring programme we are interested in encouraging more activity in the local authority areas with relatively low levels of attendance and participation. These are the bottom third for levels of arts engagement in England, according to a two-year average from the Active People Survey. Find out more information about this

People with least engagement in the arts

We want people to engage in the arts whatever their social or economic background. Evidence suggests that by understanding what makes people engage in the arts and addressing the barriers that stop them we can open up the arts to many more people. We have undertaken some arts-based segmentation research to help organisations better understand how different kinds of people engage in the arts.

For the Strategic touring programme we are interested in reaching more people in both the 'some engagement' and 'not currently engaged' segments. Find out more information about this

Downloads and links

Log in to your application via the online portal

Guidance on applying for Strategic touring funding - updated December 2012


Mid-year review of the Strategic touring programme, 2012-13


Strategic touring programme: year one analysis


Three-year analysis of RFO touring data


Find out what we mean by 'touring', 'venue', 'promoter' and 'diversity'.

Application deadlines

Find out about deadlines for future funding rounds.

Grants for the arts

We also support touring through Grants for the arts. More information can be found here.