A good team is key to the success of a tour. The size of your team can vary depending on your financial situation and the size of your company or production.
First, a budget controller must be assigned to ensure that all expenditure falls within the financial allocation. This role is crucial because quotes on different services are constantly changing with time, especially when quotes were obtained far in advance of the tour. A budget controller will constantly check your financial status and advice on making necessary adjustments to expenditure, to ensure that the tour stays within the allocated finances.
Additionally, a production/tour manager is necessary for the efficient management of the logistical aspects of the tour. For a smaller team, the tour manager can also double as the budget controller to keep an eye on cash flow. It is beneficial if the tour manager has some technical knowledge of theatre production in order to understand and address the various needs of the show, and possibly even save you some money by effectively managing the finances and logistics of the tour.
The tour manager will book the various tour venues and provide them with the technical rider* for the show. They will also be in charge of hiring additional equipment, tour vehicles and technical hands. The producer can also set the tone for the tour, by bringing the cast in agreement on the arrangements and expectations of the tour. For instance, the producer will liaise with the cast about lodging and transportation arrangements.
A technical team also needs to be put in place specifically for the tour. The designers for the show must receive an overview of the various locations and their in-house amenities in order to make accommodations in their designs. Some locations may have a wide variety of lights to set up for a show, while others may have a more basic set up. For the touring production, the set design should be collapsible and able to fit in whichever mode of transportation you will be using.
It is useful to have a basic lighting design that can be set up in a wide variety of locations, with the option of adding on to that basic setup in larger venues. In some cases, additional lights can be taken along on the tour and set up in each venue as needed. Accommodations must be made to keep all traveling production elements in a secure area at each venue.
It is also essential to have a technical hand on the tour to set up and tear down as required. Two technical hands are ideal, or at the very least, one technical hand and another person who can lift and assist with setup and tear down. This can be someone on staff at the venue, but this must be confirmed beforehand.
A tour photographer or videographer is also useful to collect archival and promotional footage.
If your show has already been created, you will first need to obtain the availability of your cast members for the duration of the tour. Any special arrangements for the tour must also be discussed and agreed upon. This will be further discussed in the Venues & Logistics section. You will also need to re-rehearse the show with the tour in mind. Take into consideration the different venues at which you will be performing and adjust the performance accordingly for the orientation or technical requirements of the space. For instance, if the actors will be performing mic’d in some venues and not others, they should be made aware of this in order to rehearse projecting their voices.
You must also provide your artists with the following:
- Tour Calendar including tour dates and venues
- Artist Information Sheet including medical information, allergies and emergency contacts
- Artist contract/agreement
*Technical Rider: A documented list of technical requirements that an artist should provide to the venue in advance of their show
Accra to the World: How to Tour a Theatre Production in Ghana" is supported by the British Council Cultural Exchange programme, which supports cultural organisations, festivals, artists, and creatives between the countries of SSA* and the UK to create art, build networks, collaborate and develop markets and share artists’ work with audiences.