As you all know HOB as been on tour this past month. Newcastle to Eastbourne, Hull to Llandudno with Guildford and Bury St Edmunds inbetween - we’ve made a pretty good tour of the UK so far and clocked up a lot of hours in the minivan. Theatre touring is a relatively new phenomenon in the Burlesque Revival although those of us coming from theatre backgrounds have had some experience of the joys of regional show work. So here for anyone contemplating going on tour, and for the amusement of those of us already doing it and for all of our lovely audience who wonder what life as a travelling burlesque gal is really like is a humorous look at the Dos and Donts of touring work.
DO: Ditch the diet. No matter what your good intentions there is no way you are going to get fresh salads at service stations and at 2am, starving after a show and hyped on show adrenaline and red wine there is nothing more tempting then the endless packets of biscuits at the petrol station.
DO: Learn to sleep anywhere…the queen of this is Jolie Papillon, and in full make up too!
DONT: Drink too much coffee. The temptation is great as almost all dates have early starts but that must be weighed up the lack of bathroom facilities on a minibus for a few hours at a time!
DONT: Underestmate how traffic can turn a 3 hour journey into a 5 hour journey and so….
DO: Be prepared even on short trips with food, drink, music, blankets, pillows and things to do. Bored? Hungry? You only have yourself to blame - be prepared!
DO: Develop a big repertoire of Musical Theatre songs, you’ll be surprised how even the most cynical cabaret performer can enjoy a 1am Les Mis sing-a-long if it helps pass the time. I’m not sure our driver felt the same though!
DO: Bring costuming work with you… the sight of a coach full of showgirls sewing is one of my favourites
DONT: Be tempted to paint your nails…the smell doesn’t help those who get travel sick. Same goes for smelly food.
DO: Realise that the actual show is a very small part of the job, this can take people by surpirse but the theatre world is a lot less fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants then the cabaret world. Every move, sound, light and moment has to be programmed, planned and worked through - tech and travel time will make up the majority of your day and your job.
Do: develop a nose for sniffing out the nearest cafe and supermarket near each venue, this will save you valuable time on arrival.
DO: Enjoy it! Regional touring as a process can be long, tiring, intense and at times trying but…There is nothing greater then when someone comes up to you after a show and tells you that they’ve never seen burlesque before and that they have really, really enjoyed watching the show and have had an amazing night.
Thank you to all the lovely audience members from the shows so far who have made our days with their lovely comments and feedback!
We will be on the road in September again…