Learnings from the National Performing Arts Conference in Canada

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Tour-Mdrew-james-1akers Senior Producer, Drew James has just returned from Canada, where he attended the National Performing Arts Conference, 15-18 November in Ottawa, at the invitation of the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA).

On the way, he also visited Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal where he met with key festivals, venues and touring networks. The aim of the visit was to get an overview of the Canadian arts presenting landscape and touring models, some of which, he says, could be considered for development in New Zealand.

Geographical and seasonal differences are very challenging for touring Canada but Drew says “extensive networks and ways of working have been developed, in order to deliver performing arts around the country.” Even with it’s own unique challenges Canada has an advanced system of block booking tours through venues, with a number of discipline and genre specific networks and many regional touring networks. Venues are also eligible to apply for federal funds to present, in addition to artists being able to apply for touring through the Canada Council. There is a particular focus on indigenous work and cultural exchange.

Drew says he was warmly welcomed, met amazing people, presenting some extraordinary work. “I have brought back lots of material and ideas that we can consider for developing touring and presentation models for professional work in New Zealand.”

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