Planning a Tour
Organising a tour involves advance planning which can take up to one year depending on the size and scale of the production and the number of artists involved. The following checklist assumes that a venue and tour dates have been provisionally allocated.
Checklist for Inviting Artists from Overseas
1. Budget: Establish your budget and confirm any external funding or grants. Include costs for artists’ per diems; artists’ commissions; travel and accommodation expenses; work permits and visas; police registration; insurance; shipping and emergency contingency funds.
2. Work Permit: Work Permit UK advises that applications should be made no longer than six months before the intended date of entry to the UK.
N.B. Visas cannot be issued until a work permit is obtained.
3. Artists’ Documentation: Check that they are aware of the procedure and time required for getting visas/entry clearance and that they have a valid passport with an expiry date after the planned date of return. It is important to check their passport and visa status so that applications can be made in advance if necessary.
4. Tax: Check the artist’s tax status and any eligible tax allowances. Contact your local tax office for advice.
5. Insurance: Arrange cover if necessary e.g. travel, public liability or medical insurance.
6. Artists’ Work: If you plan to commission or show new work, confirm with the artist what they plan to develop. Consider the theme; size and scale of the work; length of the performance and estimated time of completion, so that you know what to expect when you finalise the details of the performance.
7. Artists’ Letter and Contract: Invite the artist/company by letter, including a contract outlining the responsibilities of the venue/promoter and artist. If the artist needs to apply for a visa or entry clearance, it is advisable to send/fax copies of your invitation letter to the relevant British Embassy or Mission with a cover letter explaining that they will be applying for a visa.
8. Artists’ Requirements: Check if the artist has particular cultural, religious, dietary or other requirements. This may affect choice of accommodation i.e. single-sex only; access to worship facilities; and suitable cooking area for e.g. vegetarian, halal or kosher food.
9. Travel arrangements: If applicable make the artists’ travel arrangements including transfers to/from airports. Confirm the travel details with the artist e.g. flight times and correct entry airport, port or station. Ideally you or a colleague should arrange to meet them on arrival and accompany them on departure from the UK.
10. Police Registration: If necessary check where the artist will need to register.
11. Biography: Collect biographical information about the artist/company e.g. artist’s statement, information about the artists/company, including past work, images of previous performances and copyright agreements for press, programme or event publicity.
12. Translations: Check if you will need to organise a translator or translation services in order to work with the artist while in the UK or to produce performance literature in advance.
13. Embassies: Tell the cultural attaché at the relevant embassy or consulate in the UK about the exhibition, as many embassies produce newsletters about country-specific events, which are useful publicity. The London Diplomatic List on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office web site provides details of embassy and consulate staff in London. See under ‘Links’ at www.fco.gov.uk.
The community touring scheme for wales
International performing art companies wishing to tour Wales may wish to consider the Arts Council of Wales’ Night Out scheme as an option. Night Out works with small venues such as village or community halls, many of which have limited facilities (possibly no technicians, proper changing rooms, PA or lights). Most of these halls are run by volunteer groups who occasionally put on shows for their community. In 2009/10 588 performances were organised by over 300 different groups round Wales through the scheme- covering theatre, dance, music from folk to jazz and opera, puppetry and circus.
If you have a show that is self contained and can fit into smaller sized venues please contact the Night Out office giving details of when you are proposing to tour, costs, what you can provide. The work cannot be guaranteed as the community halls choose what they wish to book but are happy to talk and see if there is a demand.