Random questions about touring musical theatre ....

(14 Posts)
Waswondering Wed 13-May-15 20:09:58

I have a range of questions that have been bothering me for years! Currently, a major musical is showing at our regional theatre. It's here for 4 weeks, and we happened to be driving past the stage door last week, when the lorries were unloading the set.

This reminded me ....

Where do the actors stay? Do they get put up in a premier inn, or in aparthotel/sc accommodation?
Do they get any break between finishing in x on Sat night, and opening in y on Tuesday?
Do they travel to the new venue en made, or have to make their individual way there?
What do they do in a strange town for 4 weeks, when alternative cultural offerings are "slim"?
Do they get tired or bored of doing the same show 8 times a week?

Thank you. I may have more questions!

Waswondering Wed 13-May-15 21:23:20

Anyone? ��

Cinnamoncookie Wed 13-May-15 21:38:28

Where do the actors stay? Do they get put up in a premier inn, or in aparthotel/sc accommodation? Depends entirely on the contract they're on. If it's a big musical, they will probably get an accomodation payment in addition to their salary, and then sort out their own digs. That might be digs in the old-fashioned sense, of renting a room in someone's house, or a self-contained flat, or a self-catering house with others on the tour. Unlikely to be Premier Inn, the payment usually doesn't stretch that far. Accom is somtimes arranged on small-mid tours, rarely on big ones, and tends to be 2* B&B.

Do they get any break between finishing in x on Sat night, and opening in y on Tuesday?
No. Unless the contract specifies it. But pity the technical staff, who do the show on Saturday night, then have to get the set/lighting/sound/props/wardrobe out, transport it, then get it in at the next venue. A big touring show wouldn't do a turnround like that - the in and out could take 2 or 3 days each.

Do they travel to the new venue en made, or have to make their individual way there?
Depends on the contract and on company members. A coach supplied by the company is very rare. Many people car-share, and split petrol costs. Sometimes technical staff go on a tour bus, and sleep on it overnight on the way to the next venue. Depending on where the venues are, and how long the break betwee, people may well 'commute', ie go home on Saturday night, drive to next venue lunchtime of the opening show day.

What do they do in a strange town for 4 weeks, when alternative cultural offerings are "slim"?
Sleep, eat, drink gin, go for walks, read books, watch things on Netflix, knit, sleep with the cast members you haven't got around to yet.

Do they get tired or bored of doing the same show 8 times a week?
Yes.

Waswondering Wed 13-May-15 22:07:29

Oooh thanks.

Much appreciated.

Does the thrill of touring wear off? I think this is the penultimate stop on the national tour ...

Cinnamoncookie Wed 13-May-15 22:28:06

Yes. especially if you live in London, and the tour schedule has a month each consecutively in Belfast, Dublin and Aberdeen grin

Waswondering Thu 14-May-15 17:12:04

I can imagine! smile

Heels99 Thu 14-May-15 17:13:52

In our town they stay in apartments next to the theatre.

Waswondering Thu 14-May-15 23:15:11

Next question (thanks for your patience!)

Do the cast, crew and band all socialise or are they quite tribal?

Also, in a kids' show there is an army of parent helpers behind the scenes. Are there many folks in the wings in a professional production for eg lightening fast costume changes?

AuditAngel Thu 14-May-15 23:21:06

Speaking from my very limited experience of supervising (chaperoning) DS , DD1 and friends, the number of chaperones depends on the number of children. At least one for the girls and one for the boys, but ideally one extra in case a child is ill/needs the toilet.

Generally children don't change side of stage, if they need to, then they will be "suitably covered" even when changing e.g. Ballet tights and a leotard.

Grown ups often change side of stage, need to check nothing too much visible in front of the children, even if that means turning them around and physically standing in the way.

AuditAngel Thu 14-May-15 23:22:54

In our dancing school show, 139 children and young people, yes, parents as dressers. With 3 children, I needed my mum to help as dresser, but my nephew helped me on DD1's quick change into costume, and another mum helped her quick change back out again.

Cinnamoncookie Fri 15-May-15 11:56:56

OP, did you specifically want to know about dressers, or about what production staff would be on a big touring show ?

Waswondering Fri 15-May-15 13:41:26

The latter, Cinnamon ....

smile

Cinnamoncookie Fri 15-May-15 20:58:48

Regarding production staff, it depends on the actual production, and what is required. On a big touring musical, (for example), you would likely have:

Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
1 or more Assistant Stage Managers
Company Manager (this role is often combined with Stage Manager)
Production Manager
Production Carpenter
Production Electrician
Stage Electrician
Lighting Board Operator
Follow-Spot Operator(s)
Production Sound Engineer
Sound No 2
Radio Mic Runner
Automation Technician
Audio-Visual Technician
1 or more Flymen
Stage Crew
Wardrobe Supervisor
1 or more Wardrobe Staff
Dressers
Head of Wigs and Make-Up
Wigs and Make-Up Assistants
Chaperones

Some of these may be hired in locally, eg follow-spots, dressers, and will learn the track (the list of what that role does during the performance, and where and when they do it) for the run of the show. Most will tour with the show.

Waswondering Fri 15-May-15 21:05:24

Wow! Thank you. That's really interesting.

Ok, so another question ... Have you toured, and what was your highlight and funniest moment and lowlight?

Thanks for your insight.

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