What does a Theatre Tour Manager do?

When a production goes on tour to different locations it requires a Tour Manager. A Tour Manager books venues, travel and accommodation for cast members and ensures the tour runs smoothly. In some instances, a Producer can also take on the role of Tour Manager. 

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What are the main responsibilities of a Tour Manager?

  • Organise the details of the tour, often called the ‘get-in’ and ‘get out’ (moving the equipment)
  • Work out the best route for the tour
  • Liaising with venues, Promoters, Artists and their Managers/Agents
  • Booking travel, accommodation and transfers for cast and crew members
  • Dealing with any problems that may arise before or during the tour of a production, such as travel disruptions (if there is traffic or delays on public transport) or cast and crew illness
  • Making sure that the sound and any audio-visual systems are appropriate for each venue
  • Analysing the budget of the tour - ensuring you have enough money for each area e.g. travel, equipment, salary of team members etc.
  • Travelling with the cast and crew of the production whilst on tour
  • Managing the transportation of instruments and PA systems to and from venues and overseeing the installation on-site
  • Ensure set is able to fit and be set up in each space

What qualifications do I need to be a Tour Manager?

It is not essential to have a qualification to become a Tour Manager. However, a formal qualification in any of the following subjects could be beneficial:

  • Theatre 
  • Business
  • Travel, Tourism, Leisure Studies
  • Foreign Languages

Apprenticeships within the industry would be helpful and provide a useful background for moving into tour management later. 

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What skills do I need to be a Tour Manager?

  • Organisation
  • Strong communication skills 
  • Strong listening skills
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills
  • Quick thinking - make decisions quickly and change arrangements when required
  • Ability to work well under pressure and cope with emergencies
  • Strong problem solving skills 
  • A keen interest in the culture, geography and history of the locations covered by the tour
  • Time management
  • People skills

What does a career as a Tour Manager look like?

Any experience working in theatre production is beneficial. You can help with school and college productions or get experience at your local theatre. It’s possible to start your career as an Administrator or Tour Assistant and work your way toward becoming a Tour Manager. Focus on your organisational and problem solving skills as these are essential for this line of work. 

How much does a Tour Manager earn?

Salary is based on development within a role and experience. This role can be salaried or as a freelance fee. On average, a Tour Manager can earn on anywhere between £25K and £35K.

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less. 

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


Photo: Shutterstock

Updated: 7th June 2024

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