Playing Australia: Regional Performing Arts Touring Fund

The Regional Performing Arts Touring program (Playing Australia) supports performing arts to reach regional and remote communities across Australia.

The Regional Performing Arts Touring program (Playing Australia) supports performing arts to reach regional and remote communities across Australia. Grants are available to support the net touring and other designated costs associated with tours. There is no limit on the amount that can be requested.

Playing Australia is open to applications for funding with some temporary adjustments to the guidelines, accounting for COVID-19 conditions.

These adjustments take account of:

  • current extenuating circumstances for producers and presenters, allowing for flexibility within tours
  • additional costs which may be required for the safe delivery of tours
  • potential for state border closures and varying conditions between states and regions
  • ongoing financial implications of COVID-19.

Please read the guidelines below, which outline temporary adjustments. Applicants are strongly encouraged to speak to a member of the Artists Services team before applying to this fund.

If you think you will have difficulty submitting your application online, please contact Artists Services at least four weeks before the closing date.

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

Who can apply

We accept applications from individuals and organisations.

Who can’t apply

You can’t apply for a grant if:

  • you received a grant, or administered a grant, from the Australia Council in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted
  • you owe money to the Australia Council.

What you can apply for

Regional touring will be occurring in a very different operating environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage applicants to consider creative ways in which work can be brought to audiences and communities at this difficult time.

The following adjustments to eligible costs will be in place for the 1 June 2021 and 12 October 2021 closing dates.

You can apply for:

  • inter-state and/or intra-state touring costs, including freight, transport, accommodation and travel allowances
  • a contribution towards tour coordination expenses
  • costs associated with re-mounting a work, to be used to demonstrably reduce the performance fee for a presenter or venue
  • a contribution towards costs associated with COVIDSafe delivery of touring. These may be costs of the presenter or costs of the touring party and may include:
    • additional cleaning or staffing costs within venues
    • touring costs for understudies or additional crew in the touring party
    • costs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or other safety equipment.

What you can’t apply for

You can’t apply for:

  • projects for which the performers and artistic personnel are not paid at award rates
  • projects that are to tour an international production
  • touring projects that only include capital city or metropolitan presentations
  • touring projects that only include presentations in schools
  • tour dates that have already taken place
  • projects with a budget in surplus.

Your application must comply with the following Protocols where relevant. 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, and 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 proposed by the itinerary taking into account COVID-19 conditions. Shorter tours which target a particular state or region are appropriate in light of current COVID-19 conditions.

Quality

  • the artists and the arts workers involved in the project
  • the quality of proposed work
  • 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 where appropriate other participation activities, such as workshops and master classes, digital offerings
  • appropriate levels of engagement and partnerships developed with presenters to achieve audience goals within COVID-19 conditions
  • the impact on audiences in the proposed locations considering COVID-19 conditions – how the activity responds to a need or contributes to COVID-19 recovery.

Viability

  • evidence of a realistic and well-planned budget
  • evidence of home state of applicant
  • given the limitations of COVID-19, the chosen itinerary is the most efficient and logical trajectory for the tour which take into account the different COVID-19 restrictions in each state and territory
  • the itinerary takes into account the overall well-being of the touring party whilst on the road
  • appropriate level of support from other sources
  • capacity to deliver the project
  • appropriate COVIDSafe protocols in place for touring party, venues and audiences
  • appropriate consideration of mitigation strategies if the touring environment changes due to restrictions 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’.

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.

3. Reviews relating to the production (if applicable)

Maximum 3 pages submitted as one PDF.

4. 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.

 

The Australia Council also offers a variety of other grants and opportunities which are not assessed in the same way. Please refer the guidelines for the relevant grant or opportunity to find out how it is assessed.

Useful links

For FAQ’s relating to the grants model, please click here.

Please contact the Artists Services team.

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 pages outline these stages in more detail.

Playing Australia FAQs

Under this fund a national tour is 3 or more locations outside of your home state. A break in the middle of a consecutive schedule of locations is possible if there is a compelling reason and the impact on the funding request is minimal.

 

Under the fixed-term adjustments for applications to Playing Australia in 2020 and 2021, tours may include venues within your home state.

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

To be eligible in this fund, the work 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.

We welcome national touring applications from all forms of professionally produced live performance. Generally, applications request to tour one production. However, a company can be supported to tour a repertoire of different works where there is a compelling reason and the impact on the funding request is minimal. The frequency of presentations for the different shows will need to be balanced throughout the itinerary to make a successful argument. For example, substituting a different production for only one or two venues on a tour is not possible. The Australia Council also offers the Contemporary Music Touring Program. So, if you are interested in touring music nationally please contact a Grants Officer to work out which grant is best for you. enquiries@australiacouncil.gov.au

This Australia Council, as do many government departments and agencies, uses the ARIA (Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia) 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, provided you meet the eligibility requirement of including regional and or remote locations in your itinerary. Please note 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 access.

Yes, your itinerary can include activities that offer additional opportunities for the community to engage with the performers or art. As the focus of this fund is performances, additional activities should be scheduled in an efficient way within the itinerary.

 

Your engagement strategy should consider COVIDSafe delivery requirements.

There are two areas of eligible costs; interstate net touring costs and tour coordination fees. Applicants should research the net touring costs based on current prices and add a reasonable contingency to each item.

 

Under the fixed-term adjustments for applications to Playing Australia in 2020 and 2021, applicants may also request funding for wages (where eligible), costs associated with COVIDSafe delivery and contingency (see applicable FAQs).

Net touring costs are:
– travel fares and transport costs for the touring party
– relevant industrial award rates for travel allowances for the touring party
– and freight costs for the set and production elements.

The touring party is defined as the performers and crew required to stage the show. The creative team (e.g. director, designer or lighting designer) are considered part of the touring party for the first venue on the tour. In addition, the director/ creator of the work can also be considered part of the touring party to attend a performance every 6 weeks of the tour. Travel costs and allowances for other staff associated with the production are not eligible costs under this fund.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 represents the cost of managing the tour logistics and travel bookings. This fund provides a contribution towards those costs at a set rate per venue. The rate is automatically provided in the budget form and all applicants are eligible to receive the tour coordination fee for venues outside of their home state.

Some projects might have performers based in various states or perhaps the tour is managed by a tour coordinator from a different state / territory. For the purposes of this fund one ‘home state’ needs to be nominated to calculate the interstate versus intrastate costs. Generally, the ‘home state’ will be the street address of the production company. However, all applicants with different state/ territory involvement should discuss with a Grants Officer to confirm the appropriate ‘home’ base for their application.

Yes, shorter tours which target a particular state or region are appropriate in light of current COVID-19 conditions. In your application you should address the overall rationale of your tour itinerary in the context of COVID-19. Tours must still include 3 or more venues, including locations outside of metropolitan areas.

Reflecting the current uncertainly faced by tour coordinators in planning national tours, due to potential border closures and quarantine measures associated with COVID-19, budgets may request funding for touring within the home state of the production. However, it is not anticipated that the Playing Australia grant would cover all costs associated with an intrastate tour (e.g., we would anticipate co-funding from a relevant state or territory agency in most cases).

Playing Australia grants would not normally cover wage costs of touring but as part of the fixed term adjustments to this program for COVID-19 these costs are eligible. If requesting wages in the budget, please address the eligibility of this within your application.

Your budget may cover wages for a touring party of artists and crew who are not normally paid through core funding and who will be independently contracted for the duration of the tour (e.g., full-time company artists or crew are not eligible).

The touring party is defined as the performers and crew required to stage the show and they must be paid at award rates.

 

Where appropriate, please show how presenter fees have been reduced to provide them with relief on this expense. Be sure to show what costs the presenter will be liable for (this could include venue costs, marketing, a proportion of wages for the touring party, and any in-kind costs).

Budgets may include a portion of costs associated with a remount of an existing production. In your application and budget please ensure you clearly outline the costs involved, ensuring they are eligible.

 

Where appropriate, please show how presenter fees have been reduced to provide them with relief on this expense. Be sure to show what costs the presenter will be liable for (this could include venue costs, marketing, a proportion of wages for the touring party, and any in-kind costs).

The budget may include costs for travel, accommodation, allowances and wages (if eligible) for understudies or crew, to mitigate against risk of illness within the touring party. Please include these costs in the ‘COVIDSafe delivery costs’ section of the budget. Wages may only be included for touring party members who will be independently contracted for the tour, not ensembles or ongoing staff.

You may include a contribution towards delivery of a COVIDSafe tour. Costs of the touring party or costs of the presenter in ensuring COVIDSafety for audiences and venue staff may be included. You should clearly outline these costs in your budget and ensure you address the COVIDSafe delivery plan in the risk assessment of your application.

The items referred to above are elements of the fixed-term adjustments for applications to Playing Australia in 2020 and 2021.