Guest Performances and Touring – Longer Life for a Production
A. Promotion and Pitching a Show for a Festival or a Venue
Before you pitch your show for a festival or a visiting venue, study their repertoire or programme carefully. "Why don’t they do their homework?”, festival directors sigh when they open the third marketing kit of the day from a show dance group that does not fit the profile of the festival at all.
Draw up an easy-to-use info package, preferably an ePortfolio with at least the following content:
THEATRE GROUP W (TGW)
[TITLE OF THE PERFORMANCE – original / English]
Premiere: (When and where?)
Running time: ___ min
Intermission: yes/no [___ min.]
Stage/venue required (min. height+width+depth): __ + __ + __ m
No. of people on tour: No. of performers:
[Short description of the group/artists/performance]
Price of the performance: one show, second show, third show (excluding travel and accommodation costs that the presenter will be able to calculate - per diem expenses are itemized separately / budget sample)
TOURING SEASON from [month+year] to [month+year]
Language of the performance:
Subtitles/surtitles: (which languages can the company provide?):
Synopsis in English (or other languages): yes/no (which languages?):
Previous shows abroad:
Other details, e.g., availability for workshop and educational work:
PRODUCTION CREDITS (can be adapted)
Directed / Concept by:
Written by / Dramaturge:
Performers (incl. musicians, etc):
Set design by:
Costume design by:
Lighting design by:
Sound design by:
Video design by:
VIDEO material link(s): [www, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. – trailer or full length], [password]:
PRESS REVIEWS – links to web pages [translations]
PHOTOS / jpeg format (or web link) – [name of the photographer]
As elegant and polished as information packages may be, most companies receive invitations after the presenter has seen the production live or it has been recommended by a trusted colleague. Personal contacts are of utmost importance. International theatre festivals in Finland and overseas are great occasions for networking.
MAIN THEATRE FESTIVALS IN FINLAND
Annexes - go to main page
B. Invitation, Letter of Interest
When TGW has made a tentative or final agreement on a guest performance with an international festival or venue, it will ask the presenter to send an official invitation or a letter expressing interest in collaboration. The invitation will serve as an expert statement and - sometimes as an obligatory - attachment to a grant or subsidy application.
An informative invitation includes an introduction of the festival or the venue and an assessment of the significance of the visit. What were the specific reasons why TGW and the production in question received an invitation? You should also mention, if the visit is part of wider, long-term collaboration.
C. Guest Performance or Tour Budget
What do you need to take into consideration when you draw up a budget for a guest performance or a tour?
First count the estimated expenses on the basis of the information that you already have. For example, a performance fee to cover the wages, per diems, freight costs, etc. Festival organizer / presenter can estimate the accommodation expenses and other local costs. An easy way to get additional information needed in budget planning is to use a comparison shopping engine (see the links below).
Next you will start to sketch an estimation of financial resources or a funding plan. Where can you acquire the funds to cover the costs of the visit or tour? Which travel grants and/or subsidies for international projects can your company apply for? When will the decisions be announced? How much money is the festival or presenting venue willing to invest in the visit? How much is your company willing to invest in the project? Can the box office income be used to cover part of the costs?
Budget Sample Tour - go to main page
D. Grants and Subsidies for International Mobility
When applying for grants and subsidies, you might want to think that drawing up applications and attachments is part of the artistic process. All these documents must answer the same questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Creative Europe Programme (EU):
CIMO is the Finnish coordinating body for the Creative Europe Programme of the EU. Together with the Finnish Film Foundation (Media sub-programme), CIMO provides information and advice on the funding possibilities of the Creative Europe (Culture sub-programme).
E. Agreements, Contracts – Please read more: #3
The most typical ”works” used in theatre productions are plays and music. Before you make the final commitment to a guest performance, contact a Finnish drama agency or the owner of copyright and confirm that you have permission to perform the production abroad. Then, if the production includes music, send details of the music to the festival organizer or guest venue and specify in your contract, which one of the parties will pay for the royalties.
You have received an invitation and made a tentative agreement on the purpose and conditions of the visit. You start making travel arrangements. First, you should appoint a group leader. If you choose to appoint several leaders, clarify the division of duties. One of the leaders will take care of the travel documents (passports, visas and insurance and vaccination certificates) and tickets, another one will be in charge of, for example, maps and navigation, rest stops, accommodation and they will be in touch with the person who will meet you when you arrive at the destination.
In good time before travelling, make sure that all the travelers have a valid passport. For some countries (including Russia), the passport must be valid for 6 months after your return. In the area of the European Union, you can enter a country with an EU citizen’s official ID card with a photo, but it is still easiest to travel with a passport, especially if you are flying to your destination.
Check what kind of personal travel insurance plans the members of the group have. If you will acquire a group insurance, make sure that all members of the group get a copy of the insurance policy (insurance number, details of the insurance company), which will be needed in case something happens. You should take photocopies of all the travel documents and even travel tickets, just in case.
Sometimes you will need a visa to enter a country. For some countries, you will need to obtain a visa beforehand, whereas other countries issue a visa upon arrival. In some countries, visa regulations may change frequently, so make sure you have specific and up-to-date instructions. Read more about Russian visas under Visiting Russia.
Comparison shopping engines are a convenient and cost-effective way to book travel tickets and accommodation:
G. Freight and Customs Clearance
An international tour or guest performance involves transporting sets, properties, costumes and technical equipment to another country and back. Part of the goods can be exported and imported in personal travel luggage, but the rest will be transported by air, road, sea or train freight. Note that many of the low-cost airlines have strict restrictions for the number and weight of carry-on items and pieces of luggage.
If you are travelling to a country outside the Schengen Area, all of the above mentioned freight items are subject to a temporary customs clearance. You can get the clearance easily with the ATA carnet system created by the International Chamber of Commerce.
Study the instructions for using an ATA carnet [Attachment] and make sure your country of destination and the possible countries of transit accept ATA carnets. Submit your online application in good time before the trip. The ATA carnet processing fee depends on the value of temporarily exported and imported goods and the number of countries you will travel to. The fee includes a collateral required by the Chamber of Commerce, which you will get back after you return all the necessary documents after the trip. Some countries (including Russia) have additional regulations regarding ATA carnets. Please contact the your local Chamber of Commerce for more details.
A frequently asked question is: Isn’t international freight terribly expensive? Not always. International freight can be terribly expensive when a theatre production goes abroad during the performance season and the transport schedule is tight (express transportation). If there is no hurry to get the goods back to the theatre, the freight forwarder can use low-cost routes, intermediate storage spaces and joint transportation. You should always shop around for freight forwarding services, unless the theatre already has a partnership with a freight forwarding or transport company. The following companies have done freight forwarding in the field of arts:
CHS EXPO FREIGHT
If the schedule is not tight and the goods are carefully and conveniently packed, you may be able to cut costs by inviting bids via the Rahtinetti.com service.
H. Publicity on Tour
The presenter is usually responsible for the publicity in the country of destination, but it is also important to take care of publicity in Finland. Who would you like to inform about your international project? Your supporters, collaborators?
The finest form of publicity management entails goal-oriented teamwork of two specialists. The publicist of a theatre company has thorough knowledge of productions and their background, whereas the journalist has a solid command of their media. This kind of publicity management does not entail selling or marketing - it is a way of distributing key information in order to create a great news item or article.
A short press release on your performance or tour answers the following questions: Which production is going abroad? Who has invited the production, where is it going and why? When will you travel? Is the trip part of a broader entity, festival or project?
List at least ten theatre and cultural editors who you would like to inform about your visit and find out their contact information. Add them on your mailing list toimitus(at)stt-lehtikuva.fi.
Finnish Embassies and Consulates, and Cultural and Academic Institutes will be pleased to receive information about your visit and help you with the distribution of information. What would be the most natural way of using social media (Facebook, Twitter) to inform the public about your visit?
Also remember to inform TINFO about your plans at tinfo[at]tinfo.fi, so we can forward the information to interested parties. The electronic weekly newsletter TINFO-tiedote reaches about 1500 people interested in the theatre. Have you already subscribed to the newsletter yourself? Do it here.
More guides to mobility.
Case: Visiting Russia
If your visit is part of a cultural exchange project, which means that you will receive an official invitation from a Russian cultural institute or theatre and you will travel independently, you should apply for visa(s) directly in the Russian Visa Application Service Centre in Helsinki (Urho Kekkosen katu 7 B, 3rd floor), Turku, Lappeenranta or Mariehamn.
The request for invitation should include the names of all participants in the form they are written in the passport, dates of birth, passport numbers, expiry dates of the passports (they should be valid for at least 6 months after the end of journey). Hosting parties may ask you to scan the personal data page of the passport for them. Cultural exchange visas are free of charge, but Russian Visa Application Service Centre will collect a processing charge (¤26 in 2014). If you want to submit the visa application directly to the Consulate Section of the Russian Embassy, book an appointment through the Visa Application Service Centre.
Fill in an application for a Russian visa at http://visa.kdmid.ru . You will need your own password to log in. Write down your password and the NUMBER of your visa application, which you will find in the top corner of the form. With these data, you will be able to edit the application. Only official passport photos are acceptable. Print, date and sign the application. The whole process is done digitally and you must not make any markings by hand on the printed copies.
Note that if there is only one person, who submits the application for all participants, he or she must have a signed power of attorney (name of the assignor and assignee, identity number, passport number).
If you need assistance from a travel agency (securing the invitation, booking accommodation, etc.), there are several Finnish agencies that specialize in Russian travel. Draw up a detailed itinerary (place of departure, destination, participants and their citizenships, timing, mode of transport, type of accommodation, etc.) and ask them to give you an offer for all services. The travel agency will give you advice and, for example, apply for visas for all travelers. At the same time, you will get all specifications regarding customs declarations and other formalities.
Reserve plenty of time for the paperwork. Depending on the situation, you may apply for a single, double or multiple entry visa. Note that a group visa (a minimum of five people for no more than four days) may be issued only for Finnish citizens and the group must travel in the same vehicle when entering and leaving the country. The destination may be St. Petersburg, the Leningrad Region, Vyborg, or the Republic of Karelia. If the company visits Russia on a regular basis, you may want to apply for, for example, a double entry visa (you can enter Russia twice in three months) or a multiple entry visa (1-5 years, a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days). You must state that the purpose of travel and the reason for applying for a visa is cultural exchange.
Checklist / Russia and many non-European countries: travel tickets, travel documents (passports, visas, travel insurance certificates (*, in some cases: other insurance certificates, vaccination and other medical certificates, securing the invitations (from the festival organizer or host theatre company or for example, Finnish Embassy or Cultural Institute), photographs for the visa, filling in customs declaration forms (see Freight and Customs Clearance), accommodation bookings (if the host will not take care of them - in any case, find out the name and address of your lodging beforehand; you may be asked to name the place of accommodation at the border or stop check, if you are driving your own car), dictionary (it is worth learning the Cyrillic alphabet)
(* You must attach the official travel insurance certificate to your application. You will get it by contacting the insurance company. Most of them send the certificate by email. Mention that you are travelling to Russia. You should print, sign and scan the certificate.