Saturday, March 21, 2009

Touring: best practices and pitfalls (from the experts!)

On Wednesday March 18th, The Field and Dance New Amsterdam co-hosted a panel on Touring: From Grassroots to Agents.  Superstar expert talkers included Sara Juli, Alexandra Beller and James Scruggs.  It was an invigorating and inspiring power talk and I wanted to share with you all their Best Practices and Pitfalls about touring.  (Caveat: these are my paraphrases!)

AB: radiate your gig (i.e. did you get a gig at Edinburgh? try and get to Dublin, Paris, Madrid...once you are over the ocean, try and stay for a bit.  You already paid (or the presenter did) the airfare!  This holds water for any gig: once you are out on the town, see who else can "block book you" and save some $$)

JS: Got a University gig? know the other departments (not just the dance/theater/music one) - see where else you can teach, talk, perform.  The more outreach you do, the more butts in seats, and maybe a bigger fee too.  You gotta be proactive.  They won't necessarily do it for you.

SJ: Learn what sets your work apart and work it!  Be articulate, clear and passionate.  Have your "elevator pitch" ready for whenever you can say it.

SJ: Touring is not for everyone.  It's hard, tiring, not always a money-maker.  Think before you leap.

JS: Beware of presenters asking you to censor your work.  Know what you will change and what you won't.  (what plays at HERE may not play in Peoria)

AB: She's decided only to take FLAT FEES for gigs.  No more "60/40 Box Office split" etc.   It just isn't cost-effective.

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