The complete marketing solution for arts companies

Australia Council Announces New Support for Touring

Australia Council invests in performing arts tours across Australia from 2022 onwards

Australian audiences can look forward to a raft of exciting performing arts touring to their local areas once live performance resumes.

If you need marketing help, contact Arts Marketing Australia

The investment of almost $3 million ($2,963,941) delivered through Playing Australia will support performing arts to tour nationally, including to audiences in regional and remote areas, with tours scheduled from 2022.


A theatre adaptation of the children’s picture book Guess How Much I Love You, and a reimagining of a voyage by Charles Darwin – with puppets – are among the diverse range of arts experiences supported.


The Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher said the Playing Australia program is helping more Australians enjoy the performing arts, especially those who live in regional and remote communities.


“These grants deliver on our commitment to make arts and culture accessible to all Australians. Touring by our performing arts companies contributes to the vibrancy of communities across the country as well as generating economic activity in regional centres and towns,” Minister Fletcher said.


“As the vaccine rollout continues at a strong pace, it’s important that our arts touring sector is primed to restart when permitted to do so.”


Australia Council Executive Director of Arts Investment Alice Nash said:

“Touring is key to ensuring a diverse and thriving sector, for artists and their audiences, and this will be particularly important following the disruption of COVID-19.

The Federal Government’s additional investment of $5 million over two years towards Playing Australia has allowed us to support an even greater number of performances for the benefit of audiences right across Australia.”

The latest investment through Playing Australia will support 13 projects:

  • CDP Theatre Producers Pty Ltd will take its Australian adaptation of the much-loved picture book Guess How Much I Love You to 30 venues across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and ACT. The children’s theatre company will use puppetry, movement and music to bring this gentle story of growing up to life on stage for children aged 3 and over, as well as their families and education audiences.
  • arTour will present shake & stir’s theatre adaption of Jane Eyrea faithful yet fiercely original gothic tale of the spirited orphan Jane in search of love, family and a sense of belonging. It features original music, written and performed by multi-ARIA Award winner Sarah McLeod. The tour is set to visit 40 venues across. New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, ACT, Tasmania and Western Australia.
  • Woodfordia Inc Small Halls Tour will travel across Western Australia with performances featuring Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse and Jack Davies, who bring incandescent vocals, guitar brilliance and rare Noongar language to their audiences.
  • Dance Makers Collective will bring The Rivoli to regional locations across Australia. The Rivoli is an immersive dance theatre production inspired by the dance hall era of the 1950s-70s. The tour includes 90% regional locations, including community halls across Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, delivering 22 performances to audiences of more than 3,300.
  • Dead Puppet Society is set to tour its critically acclaimed visual theatre production The Wider Earth to five states (QLD, NT, ACT, NSW, TAS) including more than 60 performances including at least 35 in regional locations, as well as workshops and professional development opportunities for regional creatives.
  • HIT Productions Pty Ltd will tour its production of Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll directed by Denny Lawrence to 24 locations during 2022, including 19 regional and remote locations in VIC, NSW & QLD. The tour is set to culminate with special shows in the QLD cane fields, areas made famous by the play & which are vital, thematic parts of this enduring story.
  • HIT Productions Pty Ltd will tour its production of the award winning First Nations Musical play The Sunshine Club, Book & Lyrics by Wesley Enoch AM, Music by John Rodgers, Directed by Wesley Enoch The production will travel to 16 locations across WA and SA (including 12 regional and remote) in 2023.
  • Contemporary Asian Australian Performance Inc will tour its ambitious, large-scale work, Double Delicious, to regional locations across New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory and Queensland. The work aims to empower and inspire its audiences to value culturally diverse community members and migrant stories. Image from Website.
  • Lewis Major Projects will bring its innovative, collaborative and highly flexible double-bill dance work ‘Unfolding and Satori’ to regional audiences alongside extensive engagement activity for local communities, including Whyalla, Renmark, Mount Gambier and Frankston.
  • About Us - Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP)

Reference: Australia Council Press Release 15/9/21

Encouraging Australians to #TakeYourSeats to get vaccinated

The Australia Council for the Arts is encouraging Australians to #TakeYourSeats to get vaccinated to support the reopening of our cultural and creative venues and events.
Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette AM said:
“Vaccination is our ticket to reopening and staying open.
“We want to welcome audiences back safely, and to help our artists and creative workers to get back to work and return the vibrancy of live performances, exhibitions, festivals and cultural events to our communities, cities and regions,” he said.
“The vaccination targets set out in the national plan are vital to reopening – and staying open with minimal interruptions and disruption in the future. Our role is to advocate for the cultural and creative industries, and this campaign, calls on all Australians to take their vaccination seat, so that we reopen, recover and rebuild from the disruption of the pandemic.
“We’re on the right track, but after a year and a half of restrictions on venue capacity, interruptions and lockdowns as well as domestic and international border closures, high rates of vaccination are essential to providing greater confidence and certainty for the future,” Mr Collette said.
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said:
“The Morrison Government’s objective through the National Plan is that as states and territories open up, arts companies, promoters and festivals are ready to go. We want to see venue doors thrown open to audiences; we want to see the curtains going up; and we want to see performers coming on stage to a welcoming roar of applause.”
The campaign features seats at a range of cultural venues – from open mic nights, to galleries, live music and theatre. It highlights what is at stake – and what we can look forward to returning to.
The Australia Council is working to reach as many Australians as possible with translations of the video in Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Punjabi available from early next week. The video is also Auslan interpreted.

Arts Hub Article

Arts Marketing Australia
The arts industry already produces great content, but a new breed of marketing specialist is needed to ensure our arts get to their audience.
The arts landscape is changing, and the outlook is distinctly business-like. With that in mind organisations dedicated to arts are looking to specialist marketers to help get their work in front of audiences. Handling everything from press enquiries to ticketing, marketing specialists are helping shape the evolution of the arts industry, and the motive is surprisingly simple.
‘It’s the heart and passion of increased engagement,’ said Michael McCallum from Arts Marketing Australia. ‘We have an incredibly vibrant cultural life here in Australia, and it deserves to be celebrated.’
According to McCallum, practitioners are often loathe to engage with the marketing process, believing their work should speak for itself – ‘and it does! But not if nobody is around to hear it. Think about the average audience member. How will they find out about your show? Talk to them, feel for their needs.’
‘There are so many disengaged potential attendees: they don’t know what’s out there and how it might benefit them. We’re essentially trying to develop new markets for the arts industry by getting these people in venues and experiencing art.’
With revenue concerns always pressing, Arts Marketing Australia focuses on finding cost-effective solutions. By creating a forward-thinking marketing plan, they help arts organisations looks beyond the next season and formulate a long-term plan. Often the solutions are surprisingly simple, such as ensuring websites are mobile friendly. ‘We have the digital marketing tools that arts organisations are unlikely to have readily at their disposal: in the end, it’s all about telling the right people about great art when they want to listen.’
Arts Marketing Australia is a proud sponsor of the ArtsHub Conference 2015.

Melbourne Theatre Company 2017

2017 brings some of Australia’s best theatre veterans to Melbourne.

Colin Friels performs in the great Irish playwright Brien Friels’ Faith Healer playing the ‘charismatic’ Francis Hardy.

In The Father, Australia’s leading Shakespearean creative, plays the lead role in this five star production.

If you enjoy a good laugh and non-stop farce Noises Off is an entertaining production guaranteed to get you laughing in the aisles.

Rebels @ Malthouse Theatre 2017

2017 is the year of the rebel at the Malthouse Theatre this year with some notable productions.

In the last few days John Hurt, who played the lead in the 80s movie Elephant Man died and this years production The Real & Imagined History of the Elephant Man explores this story as it travels through ‘hospitals, circus’ and every day life.

King Noble’s You’re not Alone explores loneliness through performance and ‘guerrilla’ video.

And what could create more of a time bomb in China that spoilt and  overburdened children resulting from the single child policy. Lachlan Phillpot’s Little Emperors explores this situation with comedy and pathos of this situation.

Sydney Theatre Company Season 2017

The 2017 season is described as ‘smart, fun & …controversial’, and also harks back to the best of 80’s theatre.

Away will be a revisit for some, a popular HSC text, so those seeing it can bring to life those school studies in an engaging manner. Gow’s text allows for a myriad of interpretations, so this one is should be a delight.

Likewise, Popular Mechanicals was a laugh a minute for those who love some Shakespearean slapstick. The original Belvoir production had one of the best farting scenes in Sydney theatre, and you’ve got to love a good fart joke. A great production for all the family.

Another gem is Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9 with humour, sexuality and obscene language this play from the late seventies is sure to confront the contemporary audience as it explores colonialism .

Yes, smart, fun and controversial are the words to describe STC’s 2017 season.

Rick Antonson: Cathedral Thinking

Rick Antonson

Marketing Summit Rick Antonson

Notes from the Arts Marketing Summit 2015. Audiences: Marketing Summit: Yours, Mine and Our. The Summit which was held in Cairns, Australia on June 1 & 2

These notes were made by Michael McCallum during the event.

Rick Antonson was the first keynote speaker.

This talk basically focused around long term vision, planning and action.

Rick made the point big things don’t happen overnight, and it might take along time to complete the vision. It may take generations, like some of the world great cathedrals.

His formula is

  1. Give the though a name then articulate your vision. It needs to be accepted by others to grow.
  2. Position your idea: Look for partners not competitors
  3. Commuicate your idea. You need to be prepared. Get hard data and use that data to drive your strategy. You need to share the data, if you hold onto your data too close your ideas will not build a broad level of support.
  4. Implement the idea,working to build and share your vision with others

Check out the full video here


Ordinary Audiences Are Doing Extraordinary Things

 The presentation by Danny Homan (2014) at the  Bristol AMA Conference demonstrated how changing marketing is about more than changing traditional selling, but changing the way a company treats its clients and programs for them.  The Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) is an organisation with a highly developed marketing sense. The charity controls some of Britain’s palaces, including the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. The charity gave up public funding in 2004, so it needed to market its product to survive and pay the high costs associated with the upkeep of these places .


The HRP, which has a well-funded and productive marketing operation, wanted to engage new visitors to sites. The market at the moment is 3.2 million visitors, of which 60% are from overseas. This makes the organisation open to downturn if international tourism for some reason dramatically falls. Their chief aim in the operation is to increase the domestic market by 50% to 1.5 million by 2020. The gain was to be drawn by an awareness to ‘put [HRP’s] audiences first’. This switches the traditional hierarchy of seeing these places as great institutions that the public should visit. The British public have a high awareness of the places, with 89% recording an awareness of at least one venue, but only 5% would even consider visiting them in 2013.

The HRP saw it needed to develop the relationship with its audience. All this happened during the post-GFC period, where ‘our research told us that in a world more uncertain than ever, people were searching for roots, foundation and anchors’. It was not to develop the relationship between the physical places and the audience or exploit the emotional and intellectual needs of the British public.HRP-home-yeomanwarder-tour_2

The HRP came up with a new brand proposition. Homan  described it as emerging from the diagram. The drive comes from the concept of relationship as a ke y maIMG_4867rketing strategy that was going to drive not only marketing, but the events at the palaces.

The brand proposition became ‘through Historic Palaces, I can relive the drama of the nation’s past.’ What the proposition did was to open up a myriad of marketing opportunities for the houses. The places are seen as being comprised of three distinct steps:

  • ‘Step onto the Stage’ one goes where history was made and meets kings (actors), gardeners, and conservators.
  • ‘In Your Own Way’ one explores the palaces both in serious and fun ways in self-guided events and methods.

This was all completed around the theme of the 300 anniversary of the Georges taking the throne.

This is calculated by segmentation of the audience conducted with considerable analysis using segmentation devised by HRR. The HRP sees the expression of the key segment as being essential, for which the affirmation is secondary. They used the survey to gain a full perspective of audience preferences regarding how they consume media, their interests, and their concerns.


Defining Arts Audience Issues and the Way Forward

I recently attended the Arts Marketing Conference in Bristol, UK.

Ben Cameron notes how MONA has broken through cultural barriers

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Just as in  Australia, the need to continually find a new audience is an issue in the United Kingdom. The opening keynote for the AMA conference was presented by Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which allocates $13 million of grants to the arts. Cameron’s presentation was a reference point for many of the presentations at the conference.

Cameron’s dynamic and inspiring presentation started with a statement on the present state of the arts industry. He noted how attendance was decreasing, with fewer people subscribing to seasons; problems in attracting people to attend single shows; and increasing ‘churn’, where the majority of people only attend a single event and do not return. People are now saying that they are too tired to attend events, and they prefer a good night’s sleep to dinner and theatre with friends. Audiences are ageing and declining in numbers, meaning that raising ticket prices in response to this revenue shortfall exacerbates this decline.

Cameron also noted that technology presents problems for arts companies. The net was greeted as being able to provide a cheap marketing tool for the arts, but now online marketing is increasingly sophisticated and widespread. While arts companies found early success with social media sites like Facebook, this marketing is harder to replicate. Cameron said that the typical American now receives thousands of marketing messages per day. So technology is now a competitor for the time of the educated woman, who was a key source of arts goers. ‘By the time a young woman graduates from University, she will have spent more than 20,000 hours on the Internet and an additional 10,000 hours playing video games’.

Cameron also asserted that the Internet has allowed us to get what we want when we want it, and at reduced cost. People can now spend money when they want, and they can download a TV series for free (although it is illegal, the law is hardly enforced). People are not restricted by normal trading hours, whereas a theatre company might be restricted to showing a production for a limited schedule at, say, 8 pm at night.

Given these circumstances, arts companies must look to marketing to satisfy the demand for artistic products presented in a new way. Organisers in the arts realise that their products are tremendous, and they recognize the importance of sharing them with the world.

Cameron looked at a new participatory culture as the basis for more effective marketing and, moreover, for a deeper relationship with the arts. For example, he described a theatre in Harlem that hosts a series of public readings, then allows the audience to vote on which should be part of the program. For another example, thousands of people auditioned online to sing Eric Whitacre’s ‘Lux Arumque’ in a virtual choir piece. Cameron cites many such cases in which the resources of major arts companies have been given to the people to empower them to create their own art.

Of interest to Australian arts organisations is Cameron’s experience with the Trey Cameron Project, a contemporary dance company located in the relatively small city of Boise, Idaho (with a population of under 200 000). In this town, they get the attention of the public through spontaneous urban events or ‘spurbans’, using the techniques created by flash mobs on YouTube. Fans interact with an audience of everyday people, performing at football games¾thus moving away from the traditional theatrical context of curtain times. These efforts won the hearts of the city’s residents, who appreciated having such a world-class program in their town performing on the terms of the local people. This extended to their first performance in a local drive-in theatre. The company remains committed to a strong dance program, performing all over the United States for 30 weeks per year.

Cameron also discussed arts companies using artists in the marketing of the events. The Cedar Lake Ballet used 52 one-minute videos to promote all aspects of the company. Likewise, The Wooster group, an experimental theatre company, produced The Dailies, 2- to 3-minute videos on all aspects of the company. The company increased traffic to its primary website by 77% and increased theatre revenues by 40%.

In Australia, Cameron examined the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. As he reported, and the writer knows from his own experience, MONA is a key talking point for visitors to Tasmania. The trip to the venue is by a very modern catamaran ferry, full of art and comfortable lounges. Cameron noted its individual use of iPods to guide the experience. He said,”I was happy to subsequently respond to a survey and sing their praises¾Yes MONA was the reason I had gone to Hobart! Yes MONA would be sufficient reason for me to return! And on reflection, I realize that my future relationship with them will reflect what they know about me”

What Cameron makes clear is his overriding belief that marketing now must be relational, not broadcast to the public.

Marketing starts with articulation of the value that you will deliver at every moment – value that will permeate the lobby, that will live in advertising, that will live in the major productions as well as in the educational programmes and classes, that will live on stage or in the exhibition hall, and that every person in the organisation¾from CEO to performer to usher and janitor will exemplify, making them marketers as well¾and then brokers relationships between that value and those who wish to participate in it.

Cameron finished his presentation with a passionate plea for marketers to examine the nature of the work and the importance of the work. They can articulate the core of the enterprise by answering these three questions:

  • What is the value of my organisation or my work for my community?
  • What is the value my organisation alone offers or offers better than anything else? In this competitive world, duplicative or second rate value is unlikely to survive for long.
  • How would my community be damaged if my organisation closed its doors tomorrow?

Once these questions are explored fully by the individual and the organisation, Cameron believes the organisation and the individual can find the power to keep on pushing the limits and more effectively market the product. He wants arts marketers to become ‘activists’. He drew a standing ovation from an audience of seasoned marketing professionals with his final words: ‘I salute you and thank you as activists, transforming communities where you live’.  Australian regional theatres/galleries/arts companies have to find the place where they are deeply engaged and serve a purpose, whether that be art at the mall or a football game, or a state-of-the-art complex. They really need to make products that matter and affect the community, and marketers need to communicate to bring the audience in.