Local councils are an important part of the touring network within Queensland. They are using touring productions as a way to activate local community spaces and audiences, develop skills and foster creative opportunities for local performers.
All of Queensland’s local council’s participate in the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF); a contestable fund supported by Queensland Government, which helps stimulate local arts and cultural activities. Some councils also use RADF to present touring work for their communities as long as it meets their locally determined objectives.
These objectives vary but generally local councils look for touring work that offers some or all of the following:
- Significant community engagement opportunities
- Attracts tourists and new audiences to the region
- Broader community benefit and legacy outcomes
- Affordable with great audience appeal
- High quality cultural experience
There are a few things to keep in mind when approaching local councils:
- Events often presented free or significantly subsidised
- Marketing capacity is generally limited and can be subject to various internal approvals
- Beholden to budget cycles so smaller lead times are common
- If making a significant investment in a project they may need full council approval before proceeding
- Generally lean to work that is appropriate for all ages within the community
Some of the most popular tours for local councils recently have been residency-style projects that enable locals to be directly involved in the performance outcome. These projects celebrate local characters and stories, consistently appealing to a broader base within the community.
Local Council event marketing is usually coordinated by the Arts/Cultural Development Officer and distribution is often managed by the council communications team, so be mindful to allow plenty of time for approvals etc. It’s useful to provide template or print ready artwork for collateral that can easily be printed internally at council. They have the advantage of being able to promote events in councils printed newsletter, however are limited in being able to communicate through enewsletters due strict comms guidelines or lack of audience data. There is a mix of social media access so it’s good to check what’s available. While there may not be a large marketing budget to expend councils are able to activate networks and connect with local groups.