18 October 2007: Arts Council's Touring Experiment has 32 shows taking to the road in October

The Arts Council is delighted to announce that as part of its Touring Experiment initiative there are 40 different shows touring the country during October and November. The Touring Experiment is an action research project lead by Irish Theatre Institute, and operated by Temple Bar Cultural Trust on behalf of the Council.

In October 2006, the Arts Council announced details of the two year action research project that would support artists and producers as well as examine the needs of presenters, venues, festivals and audiences with regard to the work being toured. A sum of €2m was initially committed to the project. The Arts Council will consider the findings of The Touring Experiment in deciding how best to support touring in the future.

Out of 138 expressions of interest received by the Council, a total of 50 tours across six artforms are being supported, amounting to an investment of over €2.1m by the Arts Council.

During the period September through November, there is a particularly high level of touring activity around the country. 41 shows will be on tour during this period, with 32 taking place in October alone. As part of its ongoing research, the Touring Experiment is collating data and other feedback from the artists and organisations participating in the experiment, as well as conducting detailed audience research at a number of nominated regional arts centres.

Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council, said: "We are delighted that we have been able to fund 50 tours, which will allow audiences around the country attend excellent shows that they may otherwise not have been able to see. We will be looking to the Government to invest €100 million in the arts in 2008 which will allow us to continue to fund touring and therefore offering audiences a secure future of quality and exciting artistic entertainment."

For further information on the research work of the Touring Experiment see www.thetouringexperiment.ie

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Yelemba dance troupe from the Ivory Coast - Clonmel Junction Festival.

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