American orchestra drops UK dates due to costs

30 Apr 2024

Cleveland Orchestra has reportedly withdrawn from performances in the UK over cost concerns, according to a report in Slipped Disc.

The orchestra had reportedly accepted invitations to play at both the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival as part of a ten-stop European tour this summer.

Slipped Disc claims the orchestra would have incurred a sizeable financial loss from the UK stops, which neither m usic festival could compensate for.

Several commentators have noted the absence of an American orchestra from this year's Proms season.  

Theatre Clwyd boss calls for breakdown of UK funding borders

Liam Evans-Ford
29 Apr 2024

Arts leaders from the devolved nations have called for the establishment of an arts fund dedicated to UK and international touring.

Peers urge Treasury to speed up admin for touring musicians

Single man traveller with a roller bag and instrument case in modern airport stock phot
21 Feb 2024

Peers have raised concerns that singers and musicians touring in the European Economic Area frequently do not receive necessary paperwork in time.

Nonsuch theatre company relocates to Nottingham cinema

20 Feb 2024

Nottingham-based fringe theatre comany Nonsuch will relocate to a cinema in the city after moving out of its previous premises at the end of last year.

The charity, which was last year unsuccessful in an application for Arts Council England investment as part of the 2023-26 National Portfolio, will now be based at the independent Broadway cinema.

It took the decision to leave its previous premises due to the "ever-increasing costs of operating a venue in challenging economic circumstances".

Announcing the move, it said it will now begin the refocusing of work away from venue operations to return to its roots of producing and touring contemporary performance, working with communities across the East Midlands.

‍Edward Boott, Artistic Director and CEO of Nonsuch, said: “This is an epic move for the whole Nonsuch team as we relocate to refocus on our producing and community programme work. 

"We’re so thrilled and honoured to have been invited by the incredible team at Broadway to become residents in their iconic building and can’t wait for all the magical collaborations and partnerships our new home might bring.”

Pentabus moves to new premises

06 Feb 2024

Rural touring company Pentabus has annouced it is moving to new premises at the recently refurbished Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

Having spent the past 40 years on the farm estate at the Old School in Bromfield, Pentabus said the move will make the organisation more accessible to artists and audiences, adding that it will work alongside the Assembly Rooms team to ensure a thriving creative community in the heart of Ludlow.

Verity Overs-Morrell, Executive Director at Pentabus, said: "The entire Pentabus team are thrilled to make Ludlow Assembly Rooms Pentabus' new home, deepening our existing close ties. 

"The warmth received during our recent production of Driftwood [at the Assembly Rooms] and our Young Writers showcases was truly heartening."

Steve Catanach, Interim Business Manager at Ludlow Assembly Rooms, said: “Everyone at Ludlow Assembly Rooms is delighted to welcome Pentabus to our building. 

"Whilst we will continue to maintain and broaden our own programme of cinema, live events, and workshops, it’s fitting for us to now be home to one of the most esteemed national theatrical production companies.

"We look forward to enjoying the mutual benefits that come from sharing our resources and knowledge. Together we will be able to provide high quality, theatrical productions that will be accessible to Ludlow’s residents and visitors alike."

Music projects receive support for UK and Ireland touring

19 Dec 2023

Seven music projects will receive funding for collaborative commissions that will tour the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The support comes from the PRS Foundation’s Beyond Borders programme, run in partnership with Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Ireland.

Established in 2010, Beyond Borders aims to support co-commissions and tours that “stimulate collaboration between composers, performance groups and music organisations” across the UK and Ireland.

Funded projects in the latest round include a commission for new music performed by brass bands all over the UK commemorating 40 years since the miners' strikes. 

Elizabeth Sills, Grants & Programmes Manager at PRS Foundation, said: “It's great to see the fantastic collaborations between organisations across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to bring these exciting new music projects from talented music creators to audiences across five nations.  

“I know all the Beyond Borders partners are very much looking forward to each project coming to life next year and seeing the impact these supported projects will have on the music creators, musicians and organisations involved.”

On the road again

Little Bulb company
13 Dec 2023

Rural touring is physically demanding but you get to visit the heart of places and are treated as guests of honour. Clare Beresford on the joys of rural touring.

Theatre and dance projects get £2m to tour Scotland

04 Dec 2023

A total of 14 theatre and dance projects have received funding to tour communities across Scotland.

Among those receiving a share of £2m National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance are Dogstar Theatre Company, based in the Scottish Highlands around Inverness, and Lyth Arts Centre, Scotland’s most northerly mainland arts centre based in Caithness.

Creative Scotland said the funding will enable a wide range of new and award-winning productions, such as modern adaptations of classic works, autobiographical pieces, musicals, physical theatre and spoken word performances, to visit small, mid and large-scale venues across 2024 and 2025. 

Paul Burns, Creative Scotland’s Interim Director of Arts, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing recipients of the seventh round of funding to support makers and programmers of some of Scotland’s best theatre and dance. 

"Featuring new and familiar names, this stellar line-up of shows is ready to hit the road and weave their magic with first-time and seasoned audiences in a whole host of settings.”  

Theatre company announces venue closure

The exterior of Nonsuch Studios in Nottingham
02 Oct 2023

Artistic Director of Nottingham's Nonsuch Studios warns that costs faced by smaller venues cannot be sustained "without some level of core support or public subsidy".

My Gurus: Working with intuition

Headshot of Jake Smith
28 Sep 2023

Jake Smith is the incoming Artistic Director and CEO of Eastern Angles, the touring company that has been blazing a trail across East Anglia for nearly 40 years. Here he pays tribute to the people who gave him opportunities as a young man.

Labour commits to resolving visa issues for performers

Image of Lucy Powell and Anas Sarwar
10 Aug 2023

Shadow Culture Secretary says government “could have done a lot more” to support internationally touring performers and commits Labour to not resting “until we’ve got a solution”.

Lifeline for touring artists as US suspends visa price hike

Stock photo of cheering audience at rock music concert. Audience are in front of bright stage lights and smoke.
26 Jul 2023

Music industry bodies react to the decision to delay a rise in visa costs for touring artists with cautious optimism, but warn the reprieve may be temporary.

International matchmaking

Artists and delegates networking. Image depicts three people stood together at a work event laughing.
17 Jul 2023

With a showcase of performance work headed for the Edinburgh festivals next month, Horizon’s Hannah Slimmon shares how matchmaking helps catalyse international working.

Creative Scotland reopens fund for theatre and dance touring

27 Jun 2023

New funding is available for Scotland-based artists, producers and venues planning to tour live theatre and dance work in 2024.

Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance, supported by the National Lottery, has opened its seventh application round, which will remain active until September.

The fund has disbursed over £8m since its inception in 2018, funding new and restaged productions spanning modern adaptations of classic works, new autobiographical pieces, physical theatre, circus, street dance and spoken word performances.

This round has an overall budget of £2m and there are no upper or lower limits on the amount applicants can apply for. Work of all scales, presented indoors, outdoors or as site-specific pieces, is eligible for funding.

“Building on previous rounds, we expect applications from a broad range of artists ready to take the brightest and boldest of ideas and stories out on the road,” said Laura Mackenzie Stuart, Head of Theatre at Creative Scotland.  

“We anticipate being able to support a mix of new and familiar names who will share their magic with first time and seasoned audiences in a whole host of settings.”

Arena operator pledges support to grassroots music venues

The band Enter Shikari performing on stage
22 Jun 2023

ASM Global to support grassroots music venues with donations, training and marketing support.

MVT Chief asks Coldplay for funding commitment

Coldplay performing in 2021
13 Jun 2023

Music Venue Trust head says £1 from each of the band’s tickets to arena and stadium concerts could help safeguard the future of grassroots music venues.

Equity secures trial of five-day rehearsal week

15 May 2023

A new five-day rehearsal week is to be trialled across the subsidised and commercial theatre sector as part of new agreements secured by performers' union Equity.

A working party has been established between Society of London Theatres (SOLT)/UK Theatre and Equity to develop plans.

The trial will begin across six organisations in the subsidised sector: Northern Stage in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Curve Theatre in Leicester, Hull Truck Theatre, Sheffield Theatres, Chichester Festival Theatre and the New Vic in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The initial trial will finish by Christmas 2023, with Equity hoping to roll it out more widely afterwards.

Equity Industrial Official Charlotte Bence said the trial "will incorporate lots of different types of production – including children’s shows and pantomimes – so we can unpick what that way of working will look like across different scales of shows".

The five-day week is part of a raft of new agreements on pay and conditions brokered by Equity, that also includes the sector's first code of conduct for digs.

The quality of accommodation has become a big issue for theatre workers, with Equity members regularly reporting unsafe accommodation.

Equity general secretary Paul W Fleming said the negotiations had also delivered "strong percentage increases in minimum rates of pay, the payment of touring and subsistence allowance four weeks in advance, and good increases to swing and understudy payments".

Funding secured for exhibition touring network

12 May 2023

An exhibition touring network will be established to develop and tour exhibitions across a dozen sites in England after securing funding from Arts Council England (ACE) and Art Fund.

The Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibition Touring (MAGNET) brings together 12 partners across England, plus the Touring Exhibitions Group (TEG), to co-develop new exhibitions which will tour between partner venues.

It has been awarded a £336,000 Touring Projects grant from ACE to enable it to develop and tour three new exhibitions, opening in 2025. 

Meanwhile, £75,000 from Art Fund will help fund a three-year full-time MAGNET Coordinator post, to ensure smooth running of the network. 

The new network aims to allow exhibitions to be seen by many more people, as well as addressing the unsustainability of "single use" exhibitions. The three-year funding deal will also see MAGNET develop a sustainable business model to allow future touring to other partner venues and the creation of further exhibitions.

Nick Merriman, Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens and MAGNET lead, said: "There is now real momentum and a nationwide movement to support touring exhibitions. 

"We know that, by pooling our resources, we can offer high-quality, co-curated exhibitions that make the collections of the whole network accessible to the public in a meaningful way. 

"Thanks to Arts Council England and Art Fund we can now continue MAGNET’s reach beyond the walls and vaults of any one museum and into local communities around the country."

Evidence call as price hike to US touring visas proposed

28 Feb 2023

The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and Music Managers Forum (MMF) are asking music industry professionals to submit evidence in response to proposed increases to touring visa costs in the United States.

Earlier this month, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to raise the price of touring visas for foreign artists by more than 250%.

Under the proposals, processing costs for short-term P visas would increase from $460 to $1,615 and processing for longer-term O visas would increase from $460 to $1,655.

Musicians and sector leaders have said the increases, which the DHS says is due to high demand and insufficient staff in its citizenship and immigration department, would make touring in the United States impossible for many.

In response, FAC and MMF have reignited their #LetTheMusicMove campaign and have published a survey asking artists, producers, songwriters and managers to provide feedback on how the proposals would affect UK-based musicians.

The two bodies say they will use the data to inform its collective response, adding they will then urge the UK government to lobby the DHS.

The DHS is accepting feedback from US citizens on its proposals until 6 March, before it considers any adjustments to the proposals.

Musicians’ Union backs artist merchandise campaign

16 Feb 2023

A campaign to ensure artists get 100% of merchandise income at gigs has received the backing of the Musicians’ Union.

Featured Artists Coalition’s 100% Venues initiative is encouraging venues not to take any commission fees from the sale of band t-shirts and other merchandise.

This revenue has become increasingly important for artists, as the costs of touring continue to rise.

The 100% Venues initiative is developing a directory of venues that pledge not to take any commission on sales.

Musicians’ Union National Organiser Kelly Wood said the growing number of venues that have signed up to the initiative “sends a very strong and positive message to artists”.

She added: “We hope that this leads to more pressure for other venues to improve their terms and get behind the campaign.”   

FAC CEO David Martin said that many performers “are facing an almost impossible task to keep the show on the road”.

“That is why the issue of merchandise commission has become so pronounced and why we will continue to fight for a fairer settlement for artists.” 


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