Theatre Green Book One Toolkit – Touring and Co-production
31. Guidance on Negotiating Exclusion Zones
With thanks to Complicité and the members of the Touring Committee for producing this guidance.
A typical barring clause for exclusion zones stipulates the touring company cannot visit a venue/location within 30-50 miles within 12 weeks of the show appearing at the contracted venue.
Exclusion zones are put into place by venues and receiving parties for a number of reasons, however they can have a detrimental effect on touring companies’ ability to plan their tours as sustainably as possible.
A more collaborative approach to exclusion zones between Venues and Artists, starting with a bespoke conversation at booking stage, could be the key to promote greener, more joined up touring.
The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to exclusion zones may not be applicable to all touring work, particularly for smaller scale tours.
These clauses should not be standard but negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Touring companies must also recognise that Venue’s may have varying reasons for having such clauses in place.
- Artists to have clear communications and clarity of the venue’s objectives at point of booking re exclusion zones – some may have good reason, whereas others may not have reviewed their terms.
- Negotiate at contracting stage that requests for nearby dates / locations to be approved in writing, i.e. it’s a possible option, though it doesn’t mean the venue will say “yes” to it. For example, in bold:
Not to provide the Performance at any other Venue within a 30-mile radius within a period of [X] months either side of the date of the Engagement, unless agreed prior in writing with the Venue.
- For smaller scale tours barring and exclusion zone clauses should be discouraged, where possible, in order to give touring companies the greatest freedom possible to plan the most sustainable tour.
- Smaller scale touring companies could plan a route and take it to venues for approval as they often have a shorter lead time for programming and smaller audience share.
Considerations & challenges
- There can be difficulty in setting up a tour that is considerate of a ‘green’ route ie they are often led by the venue’s available dates (particularly for project based ie festival working) which can impact on exclusion zones and route planning.
- Mid-scale tour planning for many venues is done up to 2-3 years in advance and is primarily dictated by availability.
- Timings for get ins and get outs can be a factor in sustainable tour planning.
- In practice, producers and tour bookers for No.1 tours and mid-scale venues are competing with larger scale commercial shows that will be at a venue for up to eight weeks. The primary factor determining the tour route is typically what is available around these larger shows.
- Some festivals / non-building-based venues may have exclusion zones per funding requirements for example, they are being funded to present a premiere.
- Communications between parties could be exhibiting work after the ‘lead’ date to compromise on the venue retaining their premiere or first showing, and the artist still being able to tour nearby post-date.
- If locations can’t be the thing that we are greening due to various reasons, maybe there can be resource and skill sharing across venues and partners to find other ways to green our tours, ie where location is not practically possible.
- Touring companies on a smaller scale may benefit from tapping into Collaborative Touring Networks.
- Entr’act are developing a European Outdoor Arts Touring Eco’operation whereby venues link up to allow work to tour more sustainably across international (European) locations – this is under development.