By: Emily Dwornik
Greetings humans! My name is Emily and I’m currently on tour with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, and Chelsea has graciously invited me to write a piece about my experience (which I’m taking her up on about four months later because I am the worst). Now that we’re getting near to the end of audition season and actors are accepting summer work, I am CERTAIN that some of you readers have been offered touring contracts of one type or another. My job is unique in that I tour with a partner and we are in one city for an entire week and then pack up and move to the next city each Sunday. When I was preparing to go on tour I scoured the internet for tips and tricks about how to live my best nomadic life, so for all of you avid pre-planners here is a brief listicle on 5 tips you may (or may not) have considered before embarking on a tour:
1. Pre-address post cards or envelopes before you leave.
Yes, it is easy to shoot someone a text or Facebook message a friend you haven’t connected with in a while, but man, doesn’t it feel good to open your mailbox every once in a while and find something that isn’t a bill or junk mail? Being on the road can be quite isolating, so being able to send a little sunshine to someone you care about far away will make you feel more connected to those people you’re missing. By pre-addressing them you are able to save yourself the hassle of looking up addresses out on the road. As you say your goodbyes, have them write down their address for you and boom! There you go!
2. Download apps for restaurant rewards.
Listen, we know that actors don’t make good money, and while touring can be a great way to save up (by you know, not having rent) it’s still not gonna rake in the big bucks for you. Tons of restaurants have apps that will give you coupons, free stuff, and rewards whenever you eat there. While I highly suggest trying to master microwave meals and cook for yourself, sometimes all a town is going to have is a Subway, so you might as well save a little bit here and there to make you feel better about the footlong meatball sub you just stuffed your face with.
3. Pack layers. And ones you actually like to wear.
Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who got your whole tour route before hitting the road, but in my case, we often don’t know where we will be heading until shortly before we get there. Layers save lives. Every person in the country keeps their home at a different temperature. In this tour alone I have experienced a swing from -20 degrees below (actual temp, not wind chill) up to 52 degrees. You never know what you’re gonna get with the weather, so you better prepare for everything, keeping in mind that you have to pack light. Your options are limited, so focus on a few pieces of different lengths that you actually like to wear. Don’t let that trendy bulky sweater take up space in your suitcase if you’re not even going to wear it.
4. Find ways to continue practicing your craft.
When you’re out on the road working, sometimes it’s easy to forget that this job is going to end at some point and you’re going to need to move on to the next one. It’s important to find ways to keep up your skills, Jack Kerouac! Whether it’s dedicating a few hours a day to writing your musical, practicing and perfecting a new monologue each week, or even reading articles from Playbill, keep yourself involved in the community.
5. Develop structure.
Often the inconsistency of your location while on tour can make you feel like a plastic bottle floating in the ocean (because you know, humans are ruining our planet). Having some kind of structure to your day, just as you would if you stayed in one spot, can make you feel grounded and a little less lost than you might otherwise be feeling. Starting out small like beginning each day with a cup of coffee or tea, some affirmations, and a little stretching can be the way to go. Or if you’re into bullet journaling, you can go all out and decide minute by minute what you’ll be doing each day. Personally, I like to maintain consistency in the way that I start my day and finish my day and include little goals peppered throughout to make me feel like I have some more control in what can be a highly variable job.
I hope some of these tips and ideas have you feeling less anxious about going on tour, or perhaps even excited to audition for one and try out the traveling lifestyle. While I may not be tipsy (right now), from one theatre traveler to another, enjoy the ride. ((Also my tour is up at the end of August so if you’re from the Chicago area and looking for a nanny/part time electrician/actor/person to follow you around and laugh at your jokes then hit me up))
~ Emily Dwornik, firstname.lastname@example.org