Playing Australia Project Investment

Playing Australia Project Investment supports performing arts tours to reach regional and remote communities across Australia.

Alphabetical Sydney: All Aboard!. Image credit: Robert Catto.

About the program

Playing Australia Project Investment supports performing arts tours to reach regional and remote communities across Australia.

The program supports net touring costs and other designated costs associated with tours. There is no limit on the amount that can be requested.

Changes to Playing Australia

Please note there have been changes recently introduced which may alter your approach to applying for Playing Australia.

These changes give you the opportunity to:

  • present a proposed tour with an unconfirmed itinerary
  • propose an alternative touring model such as a residency model with live performance outcomes
  • present a tour that includes significant and targeted community engagement
  • present an annual touring program for single or multiple works
  • propose a digital tour.

Please read our updated FAQ’s at the bottom of this page before commencing your application.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to speak to a member of the Artists Services team before applying to this fund.

Who can apply

We accept applications from individuals and organisations.

Who can’t apply

You can’t apply for a grant if:

  • you have an overdue grant report
  • you are in receipt of Playing Australia Multi-Year Investment.

What you can apply for

You can apply for:

  • a reasonable portion of costs associated with re-mounting a work
  • inter-state touring costs including freight, transport, accommodation and travel allowances
  • a contribution towards tour coordination at a set rate per venue
  • a portion of costs associated with reducing the environmental impact of your tour
  • a portion of costs associated with supporting the wellbeing of the touring company
  • costs associated with COVIDSafe delivery of touring to comply with relevant state or territory public health orders.

The Australia Council will continue to consider the impacts of COVID-19 on touring, including adjusting eligible costs and the possible extension of temporary adjustments to the fund depending on the prevailing COVID-19 environment.

Portions of relevant costs noted above must be reasonable.

What you can’t apply for

You can’t apply for:

  • touring costs within the production’s home state including freight, transport, accommodation, and travel allowances
  • tours for which the performers and artistic personnel are not paid at award rates
  • tours of an international production
  • tours that only include capital city or metropolitan presentations
  • tours that only include presentations in schools
  • tours that have already taken place
  • tours that show a budget surplus
  • activities engaging with First Nations content, artists and communities that do not adhere to the Australia Council First Nations Cultural & Intellectual Property Protocols.

Your application must comply with the following Protocols. We may contact you to request further information during the assessment process, or if successful, as a condition of your funding.

  • Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts

    All applications involving First Nations artists, communities or subject matter must adhere to these Protocols, provide evidence of this in their application and support material. More information on the First Nations Protocols is available here.

  • Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

    All successful applicants are required to comply with all Australian law relating to employing or engaging people who work or volunteer with children, including working with children checks and mandatory reporting. Successful organisations who provide services directly to children, or whose funded activities involve contact with children, will additionally be required to implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Your application will be assessed by a panel of peers. The peers will be representative of a range of areas relevant to performing arts touring, including:

  • regional audience engagement and presentation
  • performing arts production
  • tour coordination and management.
READ MORE ABOUT PEER ASSESSMENT

Peers will assess your application against the following four criteria:

Region

  • The regional and remote coverage or depth of engagement proposed by the itinerary considering any COVID-19 public health orders in place in relevant states or territories. Shorter tours which target a particular state or region outside of the home state of the proposed work, are appropriate considering the current COVID-19 environment.
  • Where your itinerary is unconfirmed, you should provide evidence of your relationships and conversations with proposed presenting partners and communities to support the regional coverage of your proposed tour.

Quality

  • The quality of the artists and the arts workers involved in the project.
  • The quality of proposed work.
  • The quality of proposed impact for local artists or communities where alternative touring model such as a residency model with live performance outcomes; or tours where significant and targeted community engagement are proposed.
  • The calibre of the individual or organisation, including demonstrated evidence of good planning, governance and management.

Engagement

  • Experiences offered to regional and remote communities, including audience attendance and participation, workshops, master classes and online/digital offerings.
  • Depth of community engagement and relationships with presenter, where alternative touring model such as a residency model with live performance outcomes; or tours where significant and targeted community engagement are proposed.
  • How the activity responds to a need or contributes to COVID-19 recovery.

Viability

  • Evidence the budget is realistic and well-planned.
  • Evidence of the home state of the proposed work.
  • The itinerary is the most efficient and logical trajectory for the tour and considers COVID-19 public health orders in each state and territory.
  • The tour fully considers the overall health and well-being of the touring party.
  • Where relevant, evidence of an environmental impact plan which may include cost benefits.
  • Appropriate levels of support from other sources.
  • Capacity to deliver the tour.
  • Appropriate COVIDSafe protocols for touring party, venues and audiences.
  • Contingency planning and mitigation strategies with regard to public health orders for COVID-19 within state or territory jurisdictions.

ESSENTIAL:

  1. Playing Australia Budget

This must be submitted in Excel format only. Download the template in the ‘Budget’ section of the application form. Submit the completed form as support material titled ‘Budget form’.

Please note this has recently been updated for the March 2022 closing date.

OPTIONAL:

  1. Production excerpt
    You may submit a video of up to five minutes of the production you plan to tour. For companies proposing to tour works yet to be produced, a video of a past example of the company’s work should be submitted. For music works, a sound recording is acceptable. Files must be provided as a URL link.

    Provide only one video URL link with your online application.

  2. Letters of Support

Individuals, groups or organisations can write letters in support of your project. Presenters and venues may also wish to provide letters of support reflecting their commitment to the tour. A support letter should explain to the assessment panel how the project or activity will benefit the applicant or the broader community (and if applicable, how the project or activity will benefit community participants).

If relevant to your activity, letters of support must provide evidence of appropriate permissions and support from First Nations organisations, communities, and Elders. Please refer to the First Nations Protocols for more information.You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page. Maximum 5 pages submitted as one PDF.

  1. Reviews relating to the production (if applicable)

Maximum 3 pages submitted as one PDF.

  1. Brief biographical information on principal personnel (if applicable)

Maximum 3 pages as one PDF.

Whilst this material is not compulsory, you are advised to consider providing any relevant items, to support the overall competitiveness of your application.

Please note you are no longer required to supply Presenter Confirmation Forms as essential support material but should consider supplying letters of support from selected presenters / communities to support your application. 

You can find a list of the previous recipients here.

 

Additional information

Once you submit your application, we will send you an email acknowledging receipt of your application.

After you submit your application, we first check it meets the eligibility criteria for the grant or opportunity to which you are applying.

Applications to the Australia Council Grant Programs are assessed by arts practice peer panels against the published assessment criteria for the relevant grant program.

We aim to notify you of the outcome of your application no later than 12 weeks after the published closing date for the applicable grant round.

Once all applications have been assessed, you will be contacted about the outcome of your application. If you have been successful, you will also be sent a funding agreement. This outlines the conditions of funding, how you will be paid and your grant reporting requirements. The following accordion items outline these stages in more detail.

If your application is successful, you will receive an email advising you a grant is offered. You must then agree to the conditions of your grant, which represents the Australia Council’s contract with you – this can be done online, by email or by letter. Payment of a grant will not be made until the grant conditions have been agreed and accepted by all the relevant parties.

You should not start a project that depends on a grant until all relevant parties have agreed and accepted the grant conditions and we have evidence of such acceptance on file.

Standard grant conditions require you to, among other things:

  • seek prior approval for making a change to a funded project (for example, changes in the activity budget; changes to key creative personnel; or changes to start or end dates)
  • respond to requests for information about the project or grant
  • satisfactorily account for how the grant is spent (if you do not you will be required to return all monies for which you cannot satisfactorily account)
  • comply with all applicable laws
  • acknowledge the Australia Council’s support in all promotional material associated with the project; this includes use of the Australia Council’s logo and a standard text of acknowledgement.
  • provide artistic and financial acquittal reports at the end of the project
  • return any unspent grant funds at the completion of your project or on notice from us to return such unspent funds.

Grant agreements must be signed by a legal entity – either a legally constituted organisation or an individual. For unincorporated groups, see the section on administered grants

All individual or organisation grant applicants based in Australia must have an ABN. Individual applicants without an ABN may have their grant administered by an individual or organisation with an ABN. Organisations operating outside of Australia do not need an ABN to apply. Individuals based outside of Australia may not need an ABN to apply, depending on their circumstances (please check with your accountant or tax advisor).

The name of the applicant must match the name of the ABN and the name of the bank account into which we pay the funds. There are no exceptions to this rule. If applicants cannot provide an ABN and bank account that are in the same name as the applicant’s name, they will need to nominate an administrator for their grant.

Groups/ensembles/collectives, unincorporated associations/ unincorporated entities and other bodies with no legal status do not need an administrator if they have an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and bank account in their name. If they are unable to provide an active ABN and bank account that matches the name of the applicant, they must nominate an administrator. The name of the administrator must match the name of the ABN and bank account into which funds are paid if the application is successful.

If we approve your application you will need accept the conditions of the grant in a funding agreement.

After you accept your funding agreement online, we will automatically generate a payment for the grant on your behalf. You do not need to send us an invoice.

We will pay grant funds directly into your nominated bank account within two weeks after acceptance of the funding agreement. Grant payments cannot be postponed.

If you do not wish to have the grant funds paid directly into your bank account you can choose to have your grant administered by another individual or legally constituted organisation (Doesn’t apply to Arts Projects – Organisations).

When you apply, you will be asked to provide an active Australian Business Number or ‘ABN’. The ABN that you provide must correspond to the name of the applicant (or the administering body, if one has been nominated). When you accept your funding agreement, you will be asked to enter the details of the bank account you wish the grant to be paid into. The name associated with that bank account must correspond to the name in which the ABN has been registered.

Download the Australia Council for the Arts logo guidelines here.

Download the Major Festivals Initiative logo guidelines here.

Grant reports are required on completion of your project. Acquitting a grant means accurately reporting on the funded activities and the expenditure of Australia Council funding.

Please read your funding agreement to check details of the grant acquittal material you should provide.

The grant acquittal report is where you tell us:

  • how you spent your grant
  • what the artistic outcomes of your funded activity were.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report at the times and in the manner detailed in your funding agreement, the Australia Council will not make any further payments that may be due to you, and you will not be eligible  to apply for further grants.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report, the Australia Council may ask you to pay back all or part of the funding provided to you.

Grant reports are used by the Australia Council to fulfil obligations of accountability to the Australian Government. They are also essential to the development work of the Australia Council. The reports help us evaluate the achievements of funded activities, monitor the effectiveness of grant categories and ensure our policy development is consistent with the experience of artists in the field.

Reporting for Multi-year Funded Organisations

Organisations in receipt of multi-year funding are required to submit financial, statistical, and artistic reporting on an annual basis.

All reporting is submitted online via the Australia Council’s arts organisations reporting system.

If you are not sure what reporting you need to submit as part of your annual reporting, or what information to provide, please get in touch with your Australia Council contact.

All recipients must acknowledge that the Australia Council provided funding for their activities. When you acquit your grant, we will ask you how you acknowledged the Australia Council.

For printed or online material use our logo and this phrase:

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body OR The (company name) is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Logos for download and guidelines for the use of our logos.

Where projects do not have a public outcome, or do not produce any printed or online material, you will need to think about how best to acknowledge the Australia Council funding.

Playing Australia FAQs

In this category a national tour is three or more locations outside of the home state of the proposed work. The itinerary must include regional or remote locations.

This Australia Council for the Arts uses the Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) to determine the regional and remote classification for each town. The ARIA considers a range of factors, including distance to services, to group all locations in Australia into 5 ARIA Code areas. To find out if your project meets the eligible criteria (i.e. inclusion of venues with an ARIA rating of 1-4) and search for the relevant ARIA codes, please download this form.

Yes, you can include metropolitan locations provided you meet the eligibility requirement of including regional and or remote locations in your itinerary. There is no quota or ratio required for regional and remote versus metropolitan locations. However, applicants must note that the purpose of the program is to support regional and remote touring.

The ‘home state’ of the work proposed will be the state the work originated in, or where most of the artists involved are based. Some projects might have performers based in various states or engage a tour coordinator from a different state or territory. For the purposes of this fund the ‘home state’ of the proposed work should be nominated to calculate the interstate versus intrastate costs. Please discuss your proposal with an Artists Services Officer if you are unsure about the appropriate ‘home state’ for your application.

The Australia Council encourages applicants to propose alternative models of regional and remote touring (as a response to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic).

Itineraries may reflect concepts including residency models with a live performance outcome, or tours that place community engagement and participation as a central part of the development and touring process.

Proposals may include activity where a work is developed or re-staged with local artists or community through a residency process with visiting artists; or hybrid models which enable artistic collaboration across regions. There must be a live performance outcome as a result of the residency or collaboration. You may require additional funding sources in order to make such a model viable.

Where relevant, tours may include a period of development working with identified local communities prior to the presentation of a touring work.

Community engagement strategies should reflect your process. You are encouraged to supply letters of support from key community members which support this process.

In touring digital presentations, applicants may seek funding for any eligible Playing Australia costs, for example, technicians’ travel and accommodation to bump in/bump out or freight for equipment. A digital tour may be presented in conjunction with, or independent to, a live performance tour.

Applications reflecting alternative touring models must consider the four assessment criteria:  Region, Quality, Engagement, Viability and respond within the application as appropriate.

Yes, annual programs of touring are eligible. A proposal can identify blocks of touring across the year for the same work or for a suite of works. Your application should reflect a logical itinerary and viable budget, providing clear context for your planning.

Shorter touring blocks are a valid response to COVID-19 impacts and when considering mental health and wellbeing of artists engaged on extended tours.

Yes. Tours may engage dual casts or crew to support the overall health and wellbeing of the company undertaking an extended tour; for annual touring programs, and for companies who have specific support needs. Your application should reflect a viable budget to support this approach and provide clear context for your planning.

A professional production is one for which the performers and artistic personnel are paid at the appropriate recognised industry level.

To be eligible for this investment, the work/s needs to be produced by an Australian company or produced by an artist or collective of artists who are Australian citizens or have permanent resident status in Australia. The content of the work, the writer, composer or choreographer are not required to be Australian. An eligible work could also include a percentage of international performers as part of an Australian co-production.

Yes. Your itinerary can include activities that offer additional opportunities for the community to engage with the touring party or work, which reflect the engagement strategy provided in your application. As the focus of this fund is live performance, additional activities should be scheduled in an efficient way within the itinerary.

Your engagement strategy should consider COVIDSafe delivery requirements.

You can use the investment for any of the following:

  • A reasonable portion of costs associated with remounting a work. In your application and budget please ensure you clearly outline these costs. You should provide a viable budget and convincing rationale for the remount costs, including any impact on presenter fees.
  • Interstate net touring costs. Base these on current prices and add a reasonable contingency to each item.
  • Tour coordination fees, which are set at a fixed rate of $550 per venue.
  • Activities which reduce the environmental impact of the tour. Your application should reflect a viable budget to support this approach and provide clear context for your planning, which may include a cost benefit analysis.
  • Wellbeing programs (for example, employment assistance programs) or other activities which provide support for the touring party whilst on tour.

Depending on prevailing COVID-19 conditions applicants may request a contribution towards costs associated with CovidSafe delivery of touring.  These may include

  • additional cleaning costs
  • touring costs for understudies or additional crew in the touring party (travel, accommodation, allowances) to mitigate against risk of illness within the touring party
  • costs for personal protective equipment (PPE) or other safety equipment.

Yes, you may request costs to support accessibility needs for your tour. These may be for members of the touring party (e.g. costs associated with travel requirements) or for presenters (e.g. Auslan or Audio Description services), If requesting access costs, please provide explanatory notes in the application form as to what you are seeking costs for. Please speak to a member of the Artists Services team if you would like further advice.

  • accommodation, travel fares and transport costs for the touring party
  • relevant industrial award rates for travel allowances for the touring party
  • freight costs for the set and production elements.

The touring party is defined as the performers, crew and other personnel required to deliver the work. In the application outline the members of your touring party.

This fund provides support to cover travel allowances at the rate set by the appropriate industry award plus contingency for scheduled increases. Productions that pay above the award rate or have their own certified agreement will need to find alternative sources to cover the difference.

The tour coordination fees support the cost of managing the tour logistics and travel bookings, providing a contribution towards those costs at a set rate of $550 per venue. The rate is automatically provided in the budget form. Applicants are only eligible to receive the tour coordination fee for venues outside of the home state of the proposed work.

No. You may apply for a proposed tour with an unconfirmed itinerary. If you chose this option, your application will be more competitive if you are able to show an ongoing relationship or active conversation with your proposed presenters, community partners including their intentions to commit to the tour, pending financial support.

Once notified, you will be required to provide a finalised itinerary within 6 weeks, and prior to receiving payment. Itineraries will be reviewed and approved prior to payment. Tours which do not meet published criteria will not be supported.

You may wish to consider whether this approach is best suited to your tour. (If it does not suit, you can provide a confirmed itinerary.)

Against the criterion ‘Region’, there is the opportunity to discuss the regionality of your proposed itinerary.  This may be evidenced by discussing your proposed presentation partners and your relationship or active conversation with them, within your application.

Proposed tours will still need to have already undergone a high degree of planning to enable you to accurately project budget expenses. No additional investment will be available after approval of your grant.

Depending on relevant COVID-19 public health orders in each state and territory, shorter tours which target a particular state or region may be appropriate. In your application you should address the overall rationale of your tour itinerary in the context of COVID-19. Tours must still include three or more venues, including locations outside of metropolitan areas.

We will continue to work with clients whose touring activity is impacted by COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis.

We welcome national touring applications from all forms of professionally produced live performance across theatre, dance and music.

The Australia Council also offers the Contemporary Music Touring Program which funds tours to regional and metropolitan locations. Applicants may apply for $5000 – $50,000 of funding depending on the locations of their tour, based on the respective ARIA code rating. Tours funded through the Contemporary Music Touring Program may be limited to metropolitan locations, whereas Playing Australia tours must include regional or remote locations. Please contact an Artists Services Officer to discuss your application.