a performance by an artist or a group of artists outside their permanent place of performance, that is, in another region, city, or country.
Beginning in the 18th century and especially in the second half of the 19th century, some of the world’s leading actors went on performance tours, both in their own countries and abroad, including Sarah Bernhardt, E. Duse, T. Salvini, P. N. Orlenev, V. P. Komissarzhevskaia, E. Caruso, A. Patti, and F. Chaliapin. In the late 19th and 20th century guest performances with a troupe of players and full stage properties became common. Several tour groups played a significant part in the development of world theatrical culture: the Meininger Players; S. P. Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (“Russian Seasons Abroad”), whose members included A. P. Pavlova, E. V. Gel’tser, and M. M. Fokine; and the Moscow Art Theater.
In Soviet times a system has developed of showing the best productions at festivals, pageants, and competitions, and artists make extensive performance tours. Soviet groups with worldwide renown include the Folk Dance Ensemble of the USSR under the direction of I. A. Moiseev, the Red Banner Song and Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Army, the Berezka Dance Ensemble, many circus groups, the Bolshoi Theater, and the Moscow Art Theater. The best theater companies of the world (Comédie Française, Berliner Ensemble, La Scala, the Royal Shakespeare Company) and leading foreign artists make periodic tours of the USSR.