FINDING A PRESENTER

A presenter selects the artists and/or work they wish to program and pay a fixed fee for performances. The presenter is usually responsible for most of the costs related to presenting (such as promotion, venue rental and technical support).

Consult our list of presenters in the resources tab for a list of venues, festivals and organizations that present emerging artists.

Many presenting opportunities for emerging artists have an open application process, which means that there is a publicly announced call for proposals with a specific procedure and deadline. These calls will be announced on the presenter’s website, and advertised online via bulletin boards and social media. When submitting to an open call, be sure to carefully read all of the information provided to be sure that work you want to propose fits the proposal guidelines in terms of theme, format, or technical needs. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact the presenter with questions. As you prepare your application, be sure to follow directions carefully, submit all requested materials, and respect word limits and formatting indications. 

Some presenters do not have an open call, but prefer to develop relationships with choreographers individually, through meetings and by seeing their work in person. In order to access these opportunities you will need to invite the person or people responsible for programming to see your work live. Do not be shy about contacting presenters. While reaching out does not guarantee that they will meet with you, or come to your show, being approached by artists is part of a presenter’s job, and you should not feel as though you are imposing.

Remember, finding a presenting partner is a process, and it may take time to find the right match. Behind every institution there are individual people with opinions, and values, and aesthetics. The key is finding the people whose vision and values aligns with your own.

Once you have been invited to present work, you should expect to sign a contract which outlines both the presenter’s and the artist’s (your) responsibilities. A contract should include, among other things, how much and when you will be paid, a schedule of your time in the theatre as well as the presenter’s needs and deadlines in terms of promotional material and technical information, and a clause describing what will happen in the event that either you or the presenter have to cancel the performance.

Ideally, a contract should be written through negotiation, meaning that you have the opportunity to ask questions and request adjustments. In reality, the contracts you receive as an emerging artist, will often not have much room for real negotiation. Nevertheless, if there is an aspect of your contract that you feel is problematic, it does not hurt to request a modification. Just be prepared for the real possibility that the answer may be ‘no’.

For resources for negotiating contract, consult the CanDance Network’s Artist Negotiation Tools.