At some point in your career you may well find yourself on tour. Whether you’re in a whacking great Number 1 tour of a big glitzy musical, or a rural tour of Norfolk doing TIE, being on the road for long periods of time can be tough. Here’s our Surviving Actors’ Touring Survival Guide!
- Pack a Tupperware and a set of cutlery in your suitcase. Somehow you’ll always need them!
- Sometimes digs/B&Bs/hotels etc aren’t the cleanest of places so it’s also handy to have a bar of soap and a little bottle of washing up liquid and a sponge in your tour kit!
- Make sure you make firm friends with the wardrobe department- you want them free clothes washes in the theatre’s laundry room!
- Get an address book and keep a log of all the digs where you’d like to stay again in black pen and all the digs you wouldn’t in red pen. Also make sure you ask your cast mates about their digs too! By the end of tour you’ll have lots of information ready to go for next time and it’s also a super useful thing to lend a friend when they go on tour so they can share your joys and avoid your hell.
- Don’t stress yourself out with FOMO. It’s not worth it. I’m no psychologist but I’m sure it can’t be healthy to spend every minute of everyday with the same 20 odd people. Book trains on your own if you want to! Get a hotel on your own for a week! Go home and have ice-cream and wine in bed instead of going clubbing if you want! Don’t feel like you have to be involved in EVERYTHING and ALL THE BANTER all the time- you’ll tire yourself out.
- Always set an alarm in the morning. It’s hard to get a routine going when you’re on tour, but getting up at a reasonable time everyday will help!
- Don’t lose touch with your friends. It sounds obvious but tour can be a little bubble sometimes and you forget about everything and everyone outside it.
- Stay healthy. Vitamin C and Zinc. Those are your pals.
- Try and schedule some time occasionally to go back to base camp on your day off! Whether it’s your flat, your parents’ house or maybe a pal’s house that’s familiar and comforting for you! The whirlwind nature of touring can sometimes result in a strange limbo feeling and this will help!
- Take a folder of your standard rep with you in case of auditions- you never know! And it’s also good to keep the songs ticking over as the cloud of unemployment beckons.
- Book digs for first half of the tour on your own ASAP, so you get the good ones firsts. Then when you get to know your cast you can buddy up and dig it out together.
- Get yourself a tour box, perhaps about the size of a shoe box. This goes on the truck and tours with you and is for you to keep all your cute things in. Photos, cards, your favourite mug, a little mascot- anything that will make you smile and provide you with comfort!
- Be positive. Working and living and travelling with a company is hard work and takes effort, so keep smiling and be pleasant to everyone. A bad, negative energy can often affect the entire company.
- STAY HYDRATED. Water water water.
What are your top tips for touring?
With thanks to Hannah Boyce, Benjamin Yates and Lara Cowin.
Article by Katie Brennan