£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 have refreshed our guidance for the Strategic touring programme and 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 through

  • 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 applicants to consider how their project can make the best possible contribution to these aims, but each application does not have to address every aim. 

Whilst we will still encourage applications relating to work for, by and with Children and Young People, this will no longer be a priority as there have been a significant amount of awards and activity delivering against this aim. 


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

Range of funding

The Strategic touring programme is not the only way that the Arts Council supports touring. Touring organisations and activity are funded through the National portfolio of organisations and through Grants for the arts. Consideration should be given to these funding options to determine the most suitable route for your proposed activity.

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 18: Deadline Friday 9 January 2015, outcomes Monday 2 March 2015

Round 19: Deadline Friday 20 March 2015, outcomes Monday 11 May 2015

Round 20: Deadline Friday 15 May 2015, outcomes Monday 29 June 2015

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.