The dust has finally begun to settle from the Queensland Touring Showcase earlier this year, so arTour's Creative Broker, Luke Harriman, took the chance to hit the road and meet some of the amazing people in our network. Luke shares his tour reflections below...
Over the course of two weeks I travelled to 16 towns from Mackay to Mt Isa and back to Townsville to meet with arts councils, local government representatives, venue managers, producers, youth and community development professionals, teachers and others. I was interested in getting a sense of what is working and not working, the challenges and successes being had by those people involved in presenting and creating touring shows.
A common theme, particularly in drought-affected areas, was a general tightening of purse strings, including audiences, councils and presenters. Finding the right combination of partners, productions and people was a critical factor in getting the right support for this work.
Somewhat paradoxically, another significant challenge is fitting these productions into community calendars that are often very full of existing activities. It was great to hear stories where touring shows were being added to these other activities and adding value to these experiences for local audiences.
In Mount Isa, Jo Thomas from Metro Arts joined me and we spoke with people in a number of communities about being involved in the New ERA project. This is a great chance to tap into professional development for cultural champions within these communities and unlock the full potential of community engagement when artists and producers visit.
With our eyes firmly on next year's Queensland Touring Showcase, we will also use the feed back from this trip to improve our event even further and make sure it has the right balance of professional development, networking and relationship building and high quality touring shows possible.
Thanks to the many wonderful people who took time to meet with Jo and me. You're generosity and openness was impressive and greatly appreciated. Hopefully, you will see arTour on the road again in no time in your town.