English Touring Theatre and Brink Productions 2013 co-production Thursday

English Touring Theatre and Brink Productions 2013 co-production Thursday. Photo: Chris Herzfeld

Founded in

1993

Director

Rachel Tackley

Since 2008

English Touring Theatre logo

Profile

English Touring Theatre is one of the UK’s most successful and exciting production companies, widely regarded as England’s National Theatre of Touring.

Led by Director Rachel Tackley, the company works with leading artists to stage an eclectic mix of new and classic work for audiences throughout the UK and overseas; theatre that is thrilling, popular and, above all, entertaining.

The company primarily produces work for larger theatres, driven by the belief that experiencing plays simultaneously with large numbers of other people is a distinctively powerful cultural experience for audiences. English Touring Theatre is the only touring company with public investment, to produce work for larger theatres in England. At the heart of everything the company does is the passionately held belief that people everywhere in this country expect and deserve the very highest quality of work.

+ www.ett.org.uk

Touring company

Company Type

Touring

Touring company producing work for larger theatres in the UK and internationally.

Public funding graph

Public Funding

£691,422

Arts Council England subsidy for the 2013/14 financial year.

Location: London, England

Location

London

Productions

3

Opened in 2013

Staff

Core staff

Our Question

What are the gender specific implications of touring for a woman and how could a company such as ETT address them?

We are aware that touring is often hard for companies, and while we have a general interest in making it easier for everyone we realised we had never considered the gender specific implications of touring and whether there was anything we could and should be doing to make it safer for women specifically.

What We Did

“It’s a question I get asked quite a lot: what’s it like being a woman in theatre? I’ve never really been able to answer it, or know how I’d answer it on behalf of anyone else I work with. Advance seemed like a really fascinating way of actually trying to hone down where we are as an industry. ”
Rachel Tackley, Director, English Touring Theatre

Investigation

Tonic conducted research with a group of actors who had toured with ETT and gathered together the information, then shared it with us.

What We Learned

We learnt that most of our assumptions about why touring is hard are correct, and that the hardest aspect is accommodation and staying in digs which you can’t control and often have little information about. The main gender specific element is personal safety – we realised that actresses and female stage managers may not know when bookings their digs whether the route home is (or feels) unsafe. However the most important element overall (and which is less gender specific) is information regarding digs – not always knowing what facilities there would be and what condition they would be in.

What We’re Doing in Response to What We Learned

We are upgrading and improving our digs list to include photos of rooms, volunteered by hosts, and asking them questions regarding the route from the theatre to the digs. We will also start asking acting companies who review digs to comment on how safe they felt the area in which the digs are situated were.

Is This Work a Step Towards a Bigger Goal?

Yes in that we are always trying to improve the experience of acting companies being on tour, and we naturally value the safety of our touring companies very highly. However this upgrade work is also an end in itself which we hope will make a great difference to the touring experience for our companies.

English Touring Theatre Director Rachel Tackley and Associate Producer Caroline Dyott discuss their experiences of Advance. The checklist from Sweden that Caroline mentions can be found here.

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