One of AOT’s biggest priorities is ensuring the touring companies we have on the road are safe and well – physically and mentally. A happy touring company makes for a successful tour, for everyone involved.
In 2018, with increased awareness of the mental health challenges that face our industry, Arts on Tour embarked on a project to develop a best practice model for mental health on the road.
Here you’ll find more info on this project and links to resources and how to get advice or more support if you’re developing or going on tour.
MENTAL HEALTH: OUR AIMS
• Develop resources for producers to use
• Advocate for increased awareness and change attitudes at govt/institutional/industry level
• Work with producers to change how touring is done to be more mentally health friendly
• Provide MHFA Training sessions for touring personnel and producing organisations
• Provide advice and support to producing organisations
WHO WE WORKED WITH
We partnered with major NSW touring organisations Bangarra Dance Theatre, Bell Shakespeare, CDP Theatre Producers, Critical Stages, Monkey Baa, Performing Lines and Sydney Dance Company, and ran workshops with psychologist Jane Miskovic-Wheatley and the highly experienced touring crew from each company to explore all aspects of tour planning and delivery from a mental health perspective.
Arts on Tour (AOT) then partnered with the Arts Wellbeing Collective (AWC), an initiative of Arts Centre Melbourne focussed on effecting better mental health and wellbeing for performing arts workers. AOT and AWC collaborated to create a producer’s guide to positive mental health on the road: Tour Well for Tour Managers. This and other fantastic AWC resources are detailed below.
WHY DOES TOURING PRESENT CHALLENGES?
Going on tour is great fun - exploring towns and cities, delivering shows to new audiences, meeting people and making lifelong friends. However, living out of a suitcase, being away from your family and friends, and spending hours travelling can take their toll on your mental health. As the peak body for touring in NSW we'd like to lead the way to ensure cast and crew on the road are well looked after, that their mental health is considered when building a tour and that we empower companies and producers to be well informed and make good decisions to support artists.
Research has shown that there are serious concerns for the mental health of those working in the entertainment and creative industries. With risk factors such as sleep disturbances, critical reviewing, social and publicity events involving drinking to name a few, there are measures that need to be taken to ensure self care and mental health are well maintained in an industry where people who work tend to be passionate and ready to give their all.
WHAT RESOURCES & SUPPORT ARE AVAILABLE? (see the side bar for more links too)
TOUR WELL - A guide for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing on tour
MEDITATIONS- A link to some audio clips of mediations
OTHER AWC RESOURCES - A link to the great resources that the Arts Wellbeing Collective have
SUPPORT ACT WELLBEING HELPLINE 1800 959 500 - More about the support line
WELLBEING MAGAZINE - A publication put together by the Arts Wellbeing Collective
TOUR WELL FOR TOUR MANAGERS- A guide for tour managers developing and delivering tours with mental wellbeing in mind
MENTAL HEALTH TOUR BRIEFING & NOTES - A template guide to delivering your own mental health tour briefing is available - email us
MHFA TRAINING WITH ARTS ON TOUR
Part of our vision for all cast and crew on the road is that each tour will have a Mental Health First Aider on the road with them. With this in mind we are scheduling two workshops each year to ensure as many people as possible are Mental Health First Aid certified. Our next workshop will be held on Thursday 7th November at the Sydney Dance Company studios. Bookings are now open. Book here
WANT TO KNOW MORE, NEED ADVICE OR SUPPORT?
Call AOT +61 2 9699 7133