It is important to understand the real costs of your show being on tour. Once you have calculated these and fixed upon a fee that you wish to charge, or a box office income that you need to reach, you can then negotiate with confidence. When calculating your basic fee, the main things to consider are:

  • salaries of cast and crew
  • running costs of your production (repairing props, cleaning costumes etc)
  • royalties
  • marketing costs (including filming promotional material and creating digital assets with which to pitch to programmers)
  • subsistence
  • freight
  • visa, travel and accommodation costs
  • a proportion of both the original production costs and your ongoing overheads.

This last item is important to calculate, as tour admin can be expensive and you must remember to take care of the ongoing costs back home when you are on the road (ie if you have a company office, rent and bills will still need to be paid when you are touring).

Be aware of what you are including and, importantly, what you are omitting. If you are leaving certain elements out because their cost is dependent on where you are touring (for example travel, subsistence, freight costs, equipment hire), make sure that the person with whom you are negotiating realises that these additional charges will need to be covered. Do your best to mitigate these additional costs.

Make sure you have allowed for a variable contingency (usually 5-10% on top of your budget kept for emergencies and unforeseen costs) and get a second opinion on your final fees from someone you trust: a programmer, funder or fellow touring company who can tell you whether your fee is high or low compared to others.

For more information on budgeting and finance, including advice on fundraising, sponsorship and current opportunities see our guide to budgeting and finance.

Fee guidance

Setting the right fees is crucial. Your bottom line will be your show cost but fees can always be adjustable.

Really consider why you are touring, and whether the costs of touring are vital for your development. Remember to be flexible on tech, freight, set-up time and people on the road. Work out what the minimum is. You can create a high-end touring plan for larger promoters that can be downscaled depending on distance and infrastructure. For overseas promoters, you don’t need to include any international costs – travel, visas, accommodation – as they are very used to calculating this. Just give costs on the road.

Be sure to not include fees in your promoter packs or websites – avoid listing these anywhere. Work out who you are talking to before negotiating costs, but be ready to answer questions concerning money. It’s useful to research the presenter to see who they are funded by, and who else they book to gauge what they can afford.

Do's and dont's


  • Aim for a sliding scale depending on where you’re going. 
  • Be sure of your bottom line – this should be the cost of having the show running for a week including actors' wages, running props, small percentage of overheads, management fee to the company, writer’s royalties. 
  • Know the fees before meetings and make sure you don’t quote less than the costs of the show. 
  • Take care with tax – are you getting the entire fee or will you be taxed? 
  • Make sure you know what currency you’re getting paid in and what that currency is worth. It’s useful to know your fee in Euros and in US Dollars. 
  • Flexibility can include adding a few workshops to the deal as the artists / company are already there.  
  • If you need to remount then there will be a negotiation about amortizing the costs over the appropriate number of venues. 


  • Do not include any costs that are dependent on place (eg travel, accommodation, travel insurance, inoculations, per diems) but make sure that when you quote the fee that you say that these elements mentioned are in addition. 
  • Exclude any percentage of the actual pre-production costs from fee quote. Promoters are buying a finished product.  
  • Do not include marketing / printing costs unless specifically requested – most (particularly international) promoters will prefer to produce their own marketing materials, usually based on images and content you provide, in the local language / style. 

A tour pack should include everything a potential booker would want to know about your company and our show. It is important to make your tour pack look attractive but ensure that it is concise and clear. Make the pack detailed and accessible for its reader.

Here is an overall structure of everything you need to include:

Do not include a break-down of your budget and finances. You should have this ready, but it should not be included in your tour pack or on your website. Reserve this for when you are in discussion with a booker.

If you or a member of your team has any accessibility requirements, you may consider developing an access rider. Similar to a tour pack, this can be a handy document to share with potential venues and bookers that lists all of your accessibility requirements.

Useful resources:

  • Review your existing connections and networks for suitable promoter matches.
  • Target existing supporters of your work – invite them to see your performances in Edinburgh and then, where appropriate, to suggest and introduce to you suitable contacts of theirs.
  • Work with our Artist Development team and with your own networks to identify who else is in Edinburgh that you should be approaching and encouraging to see your work.
    • Remember, the Fringe Society's Artist Development team can also help you plan a tour or assess your show's viability. Email [email protected] to talk it through with them.
  • Make sure your website has an up-to-date ‘Industry section' which houses all of the above information and any marketing material, so this can be accessed by interested promoters at any time.
  • Make sure any printed material you’re handing out has your website on it (plus direct contact details – you'd be amazed how many people overlook this!)

Different venues you negotiate with may offer you different kinds of agreements. Some venues may prefer to be paid a guaranteed fee, and others may want a box office split or a guarantee against a box office split. Before accepting any deal, ask about the likely box office income and your share of it:

  • Have they programmed similar work and how well has that done?
  • How did they market similar shows and how will they be marketing yours?
  • What, if any, costs (credit card charges, etc) will be extracted from the gross box office income before it is split between you? If you have accurately budgeted your own costs you will be able to decide how big a risk you are taking and your willingness to take it.

Below is a list of the standard deal arrangements for the theatre productions touring in the UK. This list is in preference to the visiting theatre company / artist:

  • A guaranteed fee.
  • A guarantee + first call (eg a guaranteed fee of £1,000 with a first call on the next £500 to £1,500).
  • A guaranteed fee followed by a % of the box office (eg a guaranteed fee of £1,000 followed by 70% of the box office to the visiting company).
  • A guaranteed fee versus (or against) a box office split, whichever is greater.
  • If you’re offered a straight box office split by a venue, remember to ask if you can have a first call on a certain amount (eg up to £1,000). This way, you will receive all box office income on the night up until £1,000 (or whatever fee you have negotiated). You could, alternatively, negotiate a first call against a box office split, receiving whichever figure ends up being the greater.

Remember: all splits and calls take into effect a VAT deduction of the gross fee and also a % for credit card commission from the gross fee.  Always remember to quote VAT on top of the fees if you are VAT registered.

Venues normally require your marketing materials quite far in advance so ensure you have them ready. It is your responsibility to produce marketing materials for your tour as required by your venue, so make sure you prepare enough and that they are of good quality. Standard requests might include the following:

  • Three or four high-resolution digital images for publicity (landscape and portrait, min. 300dpi).
  • High-resolution digital copies of your company logo, and any sponsor logos if applicable, as well as show copy and images for inclusion in the venue’s brochure.
  • A sample mail out.
  • A press release – you can use our press release template (downloadable Word doc) if you wish!
  • Flyers and posters with space for over-printing. Venues may stipulate a quantity that they require but increasingly venues will print their own posters in line with their regular marketing campaigns and, if so, you may want to ensure that you have copy approval of the final design.

There is increasing awareness and concern for the environmental impact that undertaking a tour may have. This is particularly relevant to international touring but should also be considered when touring regionally and nationally.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to sustainable activity. Don’t be intimidated by the challenges, or assume that you need to do and bring everything that a larger company might feel the need for. If you are a small company with a simple production, then you can possibly double up on roles (ie director and production manager), be more flexible about your technical requirements and cut back on costs.