For many people, touring shows and exhibitions are the only means to experience art in their area. Our Strategic Touring fund makes it easier for organisations and artists to bring great art and culture to people across England.
£35 million for 2015–18, including £750,000 a year from the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund to support inbound international touring.
Any individual or organisation can apply, including National Portfolio Organisations, Major Partner Museums, libraries and partnerships, networks or consortia.
There are six application rounds each year – you can submit your application at any time. The deadline for each round is 5pm on the dates shown below. When you have applied, we will email you the date you should hear the outcome.
|Round 29||18 November 2016||23 January 2017|
|Round 30||24 March 2017||15 May 2017|
|Round 31||19 May 2017||10 July 2017|
|Round 32||14 July 2017||18 September 2017|
|Round 33||22 September 2017||13 November 2017|
|Round 34||17 November 2017||22 January 2018|
|Round 35||26 January 2018||19 March 2017|
About the fund
We recently announced a number of changes to this fund. See section 6 for details.
Many areas of England offer few opportunities to attend and participate in the arts. They may be geographically isolated or suffer from a lack of local artists and arts organisations. We believe that everyone has the right to experience and be inspired by art, so we want to transform the opportunities open to people in these places.
This programme funds touring work, focusing especially on areas where people have low engagement with the arts and those that rely on touring for much of their arts provision. It also seeks to extend the reach of high-quality work by broadening the range of venues presenting it, as well as forging stronger relationships between audiences, promoters, venues, artists and producers.
We particularly encourage applications for:
- international work visiting this country
- mid-scale theatre
How to apply
We’ve now moved the Strategic Touring programme over to our new online system, Grantium. You should use the guidance document ‘Strategic Touring – Guidance for applicants (Round 30 onwards)’.
Step one: Read the guidance
Download the guidance document below and read it carefully. Consider how your application can contribute to the aims of the programme.
Step two: Have your ‘mandatory conversation’ with us
Applicants must have a mandatory conversation with a designated Relationship Manager about their proposal prior to application. Our Customer Services team will refer applicants to an appropriate RM in their area.
Step three: Complete and submit the online application form
Click the 'Apply now' link at the top of this page to go to our online application portal.
From Round 30 you will use Grantium, our new system, to apply and manage your applications.
Strategic Touring - Guidance for applicants (Round 30 onwards)
In the latest round of the fund, seven organisations have been awarded £1,027,952.
Take Art Ltd
Grant: £92,017 | Artform: Combined Arts | Area: South West
Take Art has been awarded £92,107 towards Hopper, a two year project that will provide an exciting programme of performing arts for children under five across Somerset and Surrey. The project aims to deliver 70 shows in Early Years settings, supporting theatre companies in making high quality work and increasing access for hard to reach and marginalised audiences. Hopper will also take theatre into non-traditional venues, such as nurseries and pre-schools, presenting work in these settings alongside three key local theatres; The Brewhouse in Taunton, Bridgwater Arts Centre and Camberley Theatre in Surrey.
Grant: £185,773 | Artform: Combined Arts | Area: South East
Supported by £185,773 from the Arts Council, Breckland Council will create The Silver Social, a touring programme that engages isolated older people with the arts. The three-year tour will include a mix of live shows and participatory events across a range of artforms. It will visit 10 community venues across Breckland and provide older people living in highly rural areas with an important opportunity engage with high-quality arts.
Hull Truck Theatre
Grant: £99,570 | Artform: Theatre | Area: North
Hull Truck Theatre has been awarded £99,570 to bring a month-long international tour of Market Theatre's The Suitcase to main stages in the North of England. This is a pilot venture for a consortium of four venues - Hull Truck Theatre, Northern Stage, Derby Theatre, and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse – that want to raise the profile for international work across the North and Midlands. The project will offer audiences the opportunity to see international work at their regular venue ticket price and takes place during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017. It will also increase the range of touring work by and for people from diverse backgrounds.
Grant: £47,911 | Artform: Theatre | Area: Midlands
2Magpies Theatre has been awarded £47,911 to tour its latest play, Ventoux, to venues across England which wouldn’t normally present contemporary theatre. Ventoux is a restaging of the dramatic battle between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani in the 2000 Tour de France on Mont Ventoux. The play charts the parallel lives of these champions who overcame great adversity in tandem.
Grant: £197,410 | Artform: Theatre | Area: Midlands
Vamos Theatre is a full mask theatre company with a national reputation for creating work that engages with people who do not often have opportunities to take part in arts and culture. Vamos has been awarded more than £197,000 to help a mixture of venues, including arts centres, care homes and hospitals across the Midlands, South East and South West to offer more artistic experiences to people living with dementia and their carers.
Tomorrow's Warriors Ltd
Grant: £125,271 | Artform: Music | Area: London
Tomorrow’s Warriors is a leading jazz education and development organisation. It has been awarded £125,271 for a one-year touring programme, The Jazz Ticket. In partnership with music hubs and venues, Tomorrow’s Warriors will engage school-age musicians and their families and friends across the country, leaving a legacy of musical education for BAME and female musicians and creating new audiences for jazz and music of black origin.
Grant: £280,000 | Artform: Visual arts | Area: Midlands
Nottingham Contemporary will receive £280,000 for an innovative engagement programme and national tour of works by Lubaina Himid as well as a survey of the Black Arts Movement in the 1980s. Working with Modern Art Oxford, Spike Island, Bristol, the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, and firstsite in Colchester, an extensive public engagement programme at each venue will examine race, gender and social justice.
Download the list of successful applicants below.
Strategic Touring - successful applicants
Evaluating the programme
It’s been five years since the launch of our Strategic Touring fund.
We recently commissioned an external evaluation (delivered by Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd) to help us assess the key achievements and challenges of the fund, and work out how we can get even more impact out of future investment.
As well as testing the quality and success of the fund, this report will help us improve the fund and make it even more effective in the future. It will also be a useful resource to organisations considering applying for Strategic Touring funding.
Projects reach new audiences across England
The report shows that projects that received Strategic Touring funding have reached people across all parts of England who don't usually engage with the arts:
- 91 per cent of funding goes to touring outside London
- 60 per cent of projects are targeted at people who haven’t engaged with art and culture before
Find out more
To read the full report and our response, click the links in the Downloads section at the bottom of the page.
Blog: Understanding the report
Our Director of Touring, Michelle Dickson, blogs about the key findings of the Strategic Touring reportFind out more
Strategic Touring - evaluation report
Strategic Touring - evaluation report response
Changes to the fund
We recently commissioned an external evaluation of this fund (see previous section). Given the findings, we’re making a few changes to the fund and the application process to make it more user friendly.
The key changes are:
- The application form is easier to navigate, with clearer, simpler questions
- Applicants for under £100,000 or less will not have to submit a full audience development plan unless their application is successful
- Partners will need to be more strongly represented in the application, and commit to best practice around data capture and sharing
- Successful applicants must submit a case study of their project to CultureHive, to help others learn from their experience
- We will increase our support for applicants – there will be mandatory conversations to give potential applicants clear feedback, and we will monitor project delivery more closely
Our hope is that these changes will help the funded projects benefit more people, create an increased legacy for partners and audiences, and ensure that learning is shared as widely and effectively as possible.
What this means for applications
All applications from round 30 onwards must be submitted through our new application portal, Grantium. We have postponed the deadline for round 30 – applications will be open until 24 March 2017. If you're applying to be part of the National Portfolio in 2018-22, this will give you time to focus on that application.
We have supported a number of excellent applications in recent rounds. Unfortunately this means we will face challenges on the Strategic Touring budget until at least 2018.