- serves 150,000 people of all ages in 20 cities in 2005; 300,000 in 2006
The Network takes successful theatre
shows from professional producers around Michigan, unseen outside their
local area, and tours them to other Michigan cities, especially developing
downtowns with little professional programming available; 4-6 other
productions will be mounted each year from successful past shows of
professional Michigan theatre companies’ repertoires - shows that
are cost effective to tour. The Network strengthens Michigan producers
by reducing a show’s costs, amortizing development costs across
more weeks, and helping venues develop new sources of funding and sponsorship.
Shows will go from their home venue to Eaton Rapid’s new Horner
Mills Theatre, or an Ann Arbor theatre, where they perform for several
weeks and are “packaged” for the tour. Horner Mills is the
home office of the Tour Network, Ann Arbor’s Attic Theatre, is
producing many new shows. A limited number of shows will tour other
Great Lakes states in 2005. In the future, the Network will increase
the number of Great Lakes shows.
– serves 100,000 younger audiences in 30 cities in 2006; 200,000
The Network presents and develops regional
talent, takes advantage of available national acts, and helps the region’s
best musical groups play cities they rarely visit, ensuring multiple
bookings and more acts for local venues less expensively. Promoting
events as a tour - less is spent by local venues on per-show promotion
and sponsors may cover many costs. The Network will expand to a Great
Lakes-wide focus over 3 years.
Agents: The state’s best booking agents who keep
tabs on up-and-coming talent and have comprehensive knowledge of their
special genres (folk, new music, jazz, rock), are part of the Network.
This provides access to venues and sponsors who want to promote an act
regionally or showcase new talent; helps expose local and regional acts
that only need a “break” to get to the next level, and brings
financially lucrative shows to smaller local venues. The agents also
follow national acts that sometimes become available due to a hole in
their schedule or a cancellation, so an act can be made available, albeit
on short notice, to an appropriate venue with an opening on the available
date(s). The Network strengthens Michigan presenters and booking agents
by giving them the clout to book multiple performances of a regional
act or a major national act in new venues This will bring costs down,
allow the Network to involve sponsors more effectively, and make a wider
variety of excellent performers available to smaller and more distant
Funds in Michigan/Other States in the Future
The Network has financial support from
20 key cities and several state agencies. Michigan Economic Development
Corp.’s Travel Marketing Office will match sponsor funds spent
for out-of -state and statewide advertising. As the tour expands to
Great Lakes states it will work with similar agencies in other states.
National and regional companies may
sponsor the Network’s Theatre and Music components; the its first
show Celebrate Great Lakes; the Connections Music Festivals; or the
European Exchange, for 2006. A statewide program for each event will
feature statewide sponsors; local venues can have an insert to sell
locally. In Michigan, many corporations and foundations are in metro-Detroit
and serve only local or statewide organizations. The same is true for
Chicago. The Network will solicit support from national and regional
corporations in these and other large cities, offering them the rare
opportunity to sponsor events that will appear in smaller, outlying
cities and venues. The Network will expand to Great Lakes states in
Great Lakes (CGL) - will entertain 150,000 in 2005; 300,000 in 2006
In the summer of 1989 Michigan’s
Department of Commerce sponsored a unique, vibrant and very successful
musical/theatrical show on the history of the Great Lakes with 18 musicians,
dancers, native drummers and actor/story-tellers. CGL toured outdoor
settings in Michigan port cities. Audiences of 2,000-4,000 per show
came from hundreds of miles away. In 2005, an updated version of this
economically and culturally influential event will perform 50 shows
in 20 Michigan cities. In 2006, a second show will tour throughout the
The Medicine Tent will give CGL’s entourage of environmentalists,
artisans, historians, and craftspeople, and CGL’s merchandising
a place to sell distribute or demonstrate their wares - a traveling
Great Lakes fair.
Sponsors can use the Medicine Tent to display or demonstrate
products or interact with audiences. Displays must be designed to lend
a relevant dimension to the event. History, the Outdoors and Environment
are the themes and interactions between audiences and modern products,
and could, for example, include companies that have either their own
history to share or products that are part of environmental and energy
saving evolutions in commerce. The Medicine Tent has the goal
of informing about the future as well as the past.
Cultural Exchange - serves 200,000 Michiganders & Europeans in 2006
An annual Exchange of artistic talent
will have a special place in the Michigan Touring Network – and
later across the Great Lakes. On average, 6 European performers and
performance groups will come to Michigan and play a number of different-sized
venues in the early summer. The performances will include classical
and new music, dance, opera, theatre, mixed media, fusion, folk, jazz,
and rock - and film and film makers. Shows in the Touring Network will
be among the 6 artists and performance groups sent to Europe in 2005/6.
Woody Guthrie’s American Song, The Chenille Sisters, and Big Brass
Bed (a Bob Dylan Review) will be among them; along with a dance company,
another theatre show and likely a musical group.
The European anchor will be the Helmut List Hall in Graz, Austria
(the second largest city after Vienna - and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s
hometown.) The List Hall is the most sophisticated venue in Europe for
acoustical sound. Its acoustics change to adapt to the act on the stage
or the size of the audience. The List Hall will host a live show of
most Michigan acts and make a production DVD and CD of the live performances.
Funding for the Exchange Program: To succeed, The Exchange
Program must be a highly subsidized program needing little box office
to meet its financial goals, especially in small venues. Some support
will come from the European Union and countries involved in the Exchange
Program who support the European performers involved. Funds will also
come from US/Michigan corporations with business interests in Europe,
as well as Michigan Foundations and State agencies with many interests
served by the program.
Festivals – in 5 Michigan Cities in 2005; in 10 Great Lakes Cities
Ann Arbor’s Connections
Festival – 3 weekends in August and Sept, 2005,
celebrates the city’s 2 arts enclaves – Lowertown and Kerrytown
and the Broadway Bridge that connects them, each on a different side
of the Huron River. It also connects the city’s best performing
and visual artists and the major arts presenters to each other and to
national acts and regional audiences. The goal is to present more outdoor
summer entertainment in Michigan riverside and lakeside parks using
local, regional and national acts, and promoting each weekend for out
of state, as well as in state tourism.
Sponsoring Connections Festivals in other Michigan or Great
The 1st Connections Festival was in Ann Arbor in September 2004. In
2005, many of the performers in this year’s Ann Arbor Connections
Festival, as well as other artists in several other Michigan and Great
Lakes cities are also planning to perform in Connections Festivals on
different spring, summer and fall weekends in 5 Michigan Cities in 2005:
Eaton Rapids, Port Huron, Downriver Detroit, Saginaw and Traverse City.
In future years, this event can be duplicated in other Great Lakes Cities.
It is meant to piggy-back on the success of Celebrate Great Lakes -
a state sponsored touring show traveling to Michigan Port Cities - which
will bring 2,000-10,000 people to these various cities each summer weekend.
The Festival itself is meant to have the feel of an
outdoor riverside party. Ann Arbor’s has some events that are
free and some that are ticketed; sells beer, wine, “coolers”,
ice tea, soft drinks, juice, coffee and tea, and grills burgers, dogs,
chicken and veggie burgers, and also has foods and desserts from local
participating restaurants and delis. The site is right on the river
and there is a fully equipped playground for families who want to bring
their kids – who get in free, of course.
Attendance: Ann Arbor is expecting about 7,000 people per weekend,
for Year 2 of its 3 weekend Connections Festival. The 5 new cities are
each planning a 1 weekend event, and should have audiences of between
3,000- 4,000 each.
Sponsors: Presenting and Lead Sponsors can help establish
a Connections Festival in several different cities. The producers of
Connections have available dates for 2005/6. Besides traditional sponsor
benefits, Sponsor Tents behind the audience can display products, host
parties for employees and customers, display local visual artists, and
also act as temporary rain sites.
A company may sponsor the whole tour;
a featured part (theatre, music, Celebrate Great Lakes, the European
Exchange, or the Connections Festivals); a specific region; an act,
show or event (s); or may be more interested in local, regional, statewide
or Lake-wide promotion. As there is such a range of opportunities, sponsorships
must be individually negotiated.
1. Video/Film, TV/Cable-casts, DVDs, Audio,
Radio & CDs: The Horner Mills theatre in Eaton Rapids,
the tour’s home, has excellent sound and/or 5 camera video recording
capacity for live CDs or DVDs of a concert or music from a play.
2. Product Use: Broadcast,
cable, Public TV; merchandise at venues with sponsor inserts; commercials,
PSAs & webcasts.
3. Sponsor Opportunities:
Sponsors messages and offers can be implanted in the DVD or CD, and
in the packaging.
4. The Internet, Web Events & Simulcasts:
By placing easy-to-use tools (audio, video, photo and tour, venue, act
and sponsor info) on the web-site, the Network makes it easy for a promoter,
venue, or media outlet to promote an act or tour. Arranging real-time
chats, web concerts from multiple venues, and regional, statewide and
local promotions can get great free advertising - as can including the
website and sponsors in simulcasts. The Website will be heavily promoted.
5. Local, Regional and Great Lakes-wide
Marketing: Each event has
different sponsor possibilities.
6. Regional Promo: MEDC
Travel Marketing can double sponsorship funds for Lake-wide marketing
7. Third Coast Cruise (future): an
hour-long TV show promoting tour events for distribution through cable
or Public TV.
8. Inclusion in advertising,
banners, program ads, marquis/lobby displays; creative customer/product