With both Gameshow and Circus Geeks getting ready to pack their bags and hit the road next month, I’ve been thinking about some of the most useful investments for touring circus/ theatre shows.
For 101 reasons, largely split into practical and marketing tasks, a smartphone has to be my number one item. For directions, Tweeting, finding contact details, making videos, looking back over contracts, finding an open petrol station or decent coffee, blogging … the list really is endless. I’m going to add a backup charger to this entry as well, as GPS is an absolute battery killer.
2. Vehicle recovery with relay.
If you break down on your way to a show, you need to know that you’ll get to the venue– not just the nearest garage.
The photo above was when our technician’s car broke down in the queue onto the ferry (just about close enough to push it on- luckily his Leatherman saved the day) – so while we’re talking cars, maybe treat yours to a service before you go.
3. Decent storage for your props.
Make everything as square, and as robust as possible; and think logically through how you pack the van ahead of your tour- when it’s dry and light outside, and you’re not in a rush. It will save valuable time on your get-outs. Make sure you have a list of everything that needs to go back in the van, and label the things that are likely to get mixed up with venues’ stock (cables, adaptors etc).
Before you tour, get a map and stick it on the wall where you do your admin. Even if someone else is booking your tour, there will inevitably be a time when they call to ask if it’s ok to do the show in Margate on Wednesday night, and get in to Halifax at 9am on Thursday morning. Sure, you can Google it- but I find having that constant reminder of where places are has been very helpful for me; especially whilst on the phone, and need to decide quickly. Drawing dots on the cities helps me to visualise the tour much better than simply a list of dates and venues. If you’re not so inclined to get Blu-tacking, making a Google Map for the tour is a great alternative.
5. Pot Noodles + fork
Not a popular choice, I’m sure. But when you’ve finished your get-out in Harlech at 11pm, and the last restaurant has just closed- a dinner that you can pour boiling water on and eat in your B&B room in your jammies might just save the day. As they say, beggars can’t be choosers.