Over the course of the past year or so, we have become more familiar with the complexities that using a standardised evaluation platform, such as the Toolkit, presents for touring companies and the receiving houses. In order to address these queries, we have been fortunate to work with Katy Raines – Partner at Indigo-Ltd[1] and who has been working on a joint project with a few touring companies, using the Toolkit – to try and establish in what ways the challenges experienced by touring companies can be lessened.

There are a few key questions we will consider in this blog post:

  • Why would a receiving house want to send out a touring company’s survey when they will probably want/need to send their own?
  • If it is possible to share evaluations between organisations, how can it be structured?
  • If it is possible to share data between the two organisations, what are the implications on the data collecting organisation’s GDPR standing?


Why would a receiving house want to send out a touring company’s survey?

When asking a receiving house to send a survey, it might be a good idea to offer to share the data collected with them. If the receiving house accepts this, they will receive valuable feedback without having gone through the process of setting up the evaluation themselves. It might be that they were/are intending on sending their own survey but, dependent on what questions they were planning on including, it might be that there is an overlap and that the surveys can be combined.


Also, if the venue is also an NPO, it’s worth remembering that, when conducting Toolkit evaluations, all sharing parties can submit the same evaluation to count as one of their mandatory evaluations. This will involve coordination between the sharing parties, but it does mean that a single Audience Survey can count in evaluations for both NPO touring companies AND NPO venues.


Assuming all parties are on-board with the concept of sharing an evaluation, how should it be structured?

This is where the project that Katy has been working on has highlighted challenges and prompted problem solving by those participating in the project and within the team at CWC. The ‘top tips’ for touring companies are shown below:


  • Use one evaluation across a whole tour.[2]

It is important to be realistic and accept that the likelihood of gathering data from every location on a tour is unlikely. Instead, focus on working with two or three venues closely and doing a really good job. In this instance, remember that a representative sample with the right questions is more important than a full data set with the wrong ones!

  • Have a different Public survey for each of the different venues that have agreed.

Within a standard Toolkit evaluation there will generally be three surveys: 1 x self prior survey; 1 x self and peer post survey; 1 x standard public survey. When evaluating a tour within one evaluation, structure it so that there is a separate public survey for each location e.g: 1 x self prior survey; 1 x self and peer post survey; 1 x standard public survey (Venue A); 1 x standard public survey (Venue B); 1 x standard public survey (Venue C). This way, data can later be divided up and each venue can be granted access to the appropriate public survey.

  • Find out if the venues are doing their own post show survey.

What kind of questions will they be asking? Is there any overlap between what both organisations want to ask? Almost certainly compromise will be necessary, but it might be worth it overall.

  • Ensure that the content in the Configure tab has been customised.

If the evaluation template has been ‘copied’ then everything will have been copied over, including the survey names and introductory text presented in the ‘Configure’ tab, as well as any logos. This text is therefore generic and will not indicate to the respondent which event they are being asked to give feedback on or any other context. It is a good idea for every Toolkit evaluation to be customised in this way, but it is especially important for touring companies. As in most cases, if a survey is being distributed by the receiving house, the touring company won’t know what has been written in the body of the email that accompanies the survey link. However, the touring company can control what is written within the survey itself. Therefore, it is advised that this opportunity to provide context is maximised.


The organisations participating in this project have been able to generate powerful insight through their collaborative activities and use of further analysis tools. That said, it does require clear communication and understanding between all parties.


That’s all well and good, but what does this mean for the receiving house’s position regarding GDPR and data protection?

Firstly, it is important to note that if no personal data is being asked for (i.e. nothing that could be used to identify an individual respondent) there is no need for any extra caution. However, when personal data is being collected, such as the 6-digit postcode in the standard Toolkit survey, GDPR does need to be considered. This is the basis on which the rest of this section will be based.

Between the receiving house and the touring company, it needs to be determined:

  • Who is collecting the data?
  • What data is being collected?
  • Who is the data being shared with?
  • Why is the data being shared – for what purpose?


The Data Protection Officer (DPO) at the receiving house will need to feel satisfied that there is ‘legitimate interest’ from the touring company. The DPO will also need to have ensured that there is provision either in their privacy policy or in direct communication with the respondent regarding data sharing with an identified third party. If sending out the survey via email from a CRM or box office, this could be simple as stating in the body of the text that the results of the survey will be shared with the touring company so that both organisations can develop their practice and programmes in accordance with audience feedback. I would also recommend adding this in the ‘Introduction’ text box on the configure page. This way, even if they missed it in the body of the email, there will be another opportunity for them to receive this information. It is, of course, entirely up to that person if they choose to continue with completing the survey or not.


It’s also worth including that:

  • Taking part in the survey is optional
  • No personal data will be shared or used to contact them as a result of giving feedback


There are other precautions that can be taken for a ‘belt and braces’ approach. Please do get in touch with us if you would like to know more. There is also a wealth of information on the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO) website.



As per usual with our themed blog posts, we have a recording of the accompanying webinar here. Do take a look! The final words of this blog post will come from Katy, herself, on using the Toolkit as a touring organisation:


“There is a lot to be gained from touring companies and venues working together on a single, shared evaluation using the Insight & Impact Toolkit. The audience is only asked once, but both parties benefit and can use the feedback in their ACE Evaluations. It takes some careful planning the first time around, but provides much-needed feedback for touring companies, without compromising the needs of venues in the process.”

Thank you, Katy!





[1] https://www.indigo-ltd.com

[2] Please note that in some instances, it works well for separate evaluations to be used at different locations. To discuss your individual case, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


[3] Credit: Manuel Harlan, ‘Grease’

[4] Credit: Restricted Zone: Temple Mount. Hagit Keysar, Barak Brinker, Animation by Moshe Zilbernage

[5] Credit: Joana Vasconcelos, Pop Gallo, 2016. Courtesy Lui’s Vasconcelo / Unidade Infinita Projectos and YSP

[6] Credit: Belt and Braces via Phrases

Feature Image Credit: Luke Jerram, ‘Bread Poetry’