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The Future of Small-Scale Touring

Two weeks ago, in partnership with ITC, PANDA and Manchester Royal Exchange, we hosted a symposium to explore the future of small scale touring. The responses to a survey we conducted in 2013 highlighted a uniformity of issues amongst companies, artists and venues throughout the sector, including audiences taking less risk on new work, an unsustainable financial model and challenges in maintaining consistently high production values.

We invited producers, artists, venue programmers and touring companies to discuss the ways in which we can meet these challenges head on with inventive and strategic solutions.The day was split into three sections; New Touring Models and Approaches to Tourbooking, Data and Audiences, and Working in Partnership; and each section was delivered through a series of TED style talks, which shared practical and applicable ideas.

Opening the event, Louise Blackwell and Kate McGrath from Fuel, presented New Theatre In Your Neighbourhood and highlighted their use of local “Theatre Adventurers” as a way to start conversations with local audiences. Their speech concluded with a call to arms: “when you get back to your towns and cities invite three new key members of your community to see a show in your favourite venue and meet them for a drink before or after the show and ask them what they thought”.

‘Conversation’ was a recurring theme throughout the day, instigated by key note speaker Vikki Heywood. She asked: “how much are we talking to our audiences about what they want?”

The need for local ambassadors to encourage and broker these conversations with audiences was then echoed by BAC‘s Katie Roberts and Fevered Sleep‘s Sophie Eustace, both of whom create touring work to reach new and young audiences. Sophie said “we’re making meaningful touring partnerships rather than just asking venues to present the work. So there is a shared ownership of the project and an excitement and belief in the work.”

Paines Plough joint Artistic Director George Perrin discussed similar consultative relationships with venues through Paines Plough’s small-scale network and the development of a portable small-scale in-the-round auditorium, which will embed itself in local communities and lend its space to local artists, as well as playing a repertory of new plays on tour.

On taking work out of traditional theatre spaces, Chris O’Connell from the Shop Front Theatre said “being at the shop has helped us make a point of having conversations with our audiences and understanding what they can afford, what they like, and what they can pay. We’re not retailers like other shop keepers, but we welcome people at the door, we trade experiences, build relationships with our audiences and have conversations.”

On touring in rural Scotland, Neil Murray of NTS asked “how can we change the demographic of audiences?” and introduced Five Minute Theatre – plays by anyone, for anyone – as their means to bridge an ever widening social gap.

Contact Theatre‘s Artistic Director Mat Fenton presented the need for internal collaboration through multiple programmers and artistic visions, to enable a socially diverse programme of work.

Sam Eccles introduced the The Touring Network, an on-line tool to enable more efficient rural tour booking in Scotland. A similar database to that of partnership touring network HOUSE, which Mark Makin presented while emphasising a fundamental need for shared risk between venues and touring companies.

This financial sharing of risk was later reaffirmed by ITC‘s Charlotte Jones, who in reference the #illshowyoumine campaign said “we cannot keep pretending it’s acceptable to work for nothing,” and suggested that the Arts Council help level the playing field, calling for re-distribution of funding across the UK.

But it wasn’t all about money. Warwick Arts Centre‘s Matt Burnham and Marine Theatre‘s Tim Bell and Harry Long spoke passionately about artist collaboration and development through their offerings of space and time resource. As well as their R&D by the Sea, Tim and Harry celebrated breaking down exclusion zones by working with neighbouring venues on programming.

Throughout the day, we were reminded of Arts Council England’s recent announcement to enforce the sharing of audience data amongst NPOs. As explained by Nick Bareham from Au Insights, to use this data effectively we must provide a value exchange which calls for transparency with our audiences and again, conversation. Jo Taylor of Morris Hargreaves McIntyre also said “if we understand what someone wants to get out of the experiences we offer, we are best placed to fulfill them.”

Speakers from the wider industry also offered interesting provocations. Sholeh Johnston from Julie’s Bicycle noted that rural touring is 30% more sustainable than bringing a theatre full of people into a city, and likewise, the emissions from a theatre production are less than if the audience were to stay at home and watch TV.

As the day drew to an end and delegates descended on the Royal Exchange bar to continue their discussions, we at Paines Plough left Manchester abuzz with ideas on how we can implement this sharing into our own touring models, and in particular how we can create more meaningful relationships with our audiences and partners. For all the challenges we face as a touring theatre sector, the reasons for collaboratively finding a way of securing its future feel more urgent than ever.

We’ve collected all available online material on The Future of Small-Scale Touring, which you can access here. To view some of the speeches and presentations from the event, click here.

As we move forward and continue discussions on the development of touring, we’ll be adding all interesting contributions, so if you have anything you think might add to the discussion then, please tweet @futuretouring with #fsst and a link to the material.

Introducing our new Producer… Hanna Streeter

Through the mist of unstaunched tears at PPHQ over the departure of our cherished colleague and indomitable producer Tara, there is happy news to report.

We’re thrilled to announce that our new producer will be Hanna Streeter.

Hanna, as you may know, is currently Assistant Producer here at PPHQ, and will step into Tara’s ballet pumps from 20 January.

Hanna has already racked up an impressive CV of PP producing credits having helmed all three tours of WASTED, as well as assisting Tara on Programme 2013.

Hanna joined Paines Plough on a temporary basis as administrator cover in 2010. And she hasn’t been able to escape since. She went on to be appointed permanent Admin Assistant, before being promoted to Administrator.

In 2012 we gave Hanna a sabbatical from her admin role to produce WASTED full-time and further her ambitions to produce. Thanks to funding from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, we were able to create a full-time Assistant Producer role in 2013, which Hanna has filled with distinction.

James & George said:

“We could not be more excited to be working with Hanna as we approach our biggest and most exciting season of work to celebrate Paines Plough’s 40th Anniversary in 2014.

“Hanna is an outstanding producer with the skill, ingenuity and drive to ensure our 40th is our best year yet, and to pioneer the next 40 years of Paines Plough.

“Hanna’s meteoric rise from temp to Producer in just fours years is testament to her extraordinary ability, admirable tenacity and infectious passion for new plays and for touring. She embodies Paines Plough, and we are delighted that the company, our partners and the artists we work with will benefit from her brilliance in the years to come.”

So, that’s exciting, eh?

Feel free to send Hanna flowers and chocolates and stuff, or post congratulatory comments below.

Tom’s first couple of weeks..

I am currently an MA student at Central School of Speech and Drama studying Creative Producing. The course is 1 year and requires a Practices module- spending time in a placement and documenting what you learn. This, for me, is one of the most important aspects of the course, as it allows you to get your teeth stuck in to the day to day jobs of Producing and get a feel for the office environment.

Fortunately, I was lucky to get a place with Paines Plough working in the Production Office as Production Assistant to Tara and Hanna. Everyone in the office has been extremely accommodating so far, and even though I have only just started my second week, I feel like I’m settling in to the family well. Working all day doesn’t sound like the best way to spend your birthday, but working with this crew makes it a lot of fun! Cake and coffee was on the cards! Thanks guys!!

One aspect that stands out for me is how well this group of people work as a team. Everyone is present at company meetings and ‘creative chat’ which really helps you to get your head around the structure of the company as a whole and the goals it is working towards. This allows me to see my role in the context with the company’s future. In creative chat, the Directors George and James bounce their ideas off everyone in the company to get feedback. It is nice to know (for an intern) that your opinion is valued within the company.

I am currently in charge of several aspects for Tom Wells’ new show JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS. This entails working on the marketing pack for the show, liaising with cast and creative’s, facilitating the creation of the show from start to finish. As rehearsals are happening next door, there is always a buzz in the office. For me, this is very important as you feel more involved with the creation of the show, and I believe this is part of the reason why Paines Plough is such a close-knit family of people.

I’m looking forward to the next few months ahead!

Super Sunday: Open Auditions

We’re gearing up for Super Sunday once again, with 190 actors coming along to our Open Auditions at The Actor’s Centre.

It’s one of our favourite ways to spend a day, meeting lots of great people and watching them perform extracts of contemporary plays.

Open Auditions are our way of broadening our horizons when it comes to casting, and getting to meet actors we might not otherwise get to know. So we split the PP team across three rooms and meet actors for a quick chat, and ask them to prepare a duologue from a play written in the last 15 years.

We’re not casting for anything specific, it’s just a chance for us to meet you, and for you to meet us. But we employ around 50 actors per year, so of course we’ve got an eye on the productions we have coming up in the next year, and hoping to meet people who might be the right fit for one of our shows.

Alongside Team PP, we invite other directors to join us, to maximise the opportunities actors have to meet people who can give them jobs. Joining us this Sunday are Charlotte Bennett (artistic director, Forward Theatre Project), Joe Murphy (artistic director of nabokov and associate director of Soho Theatre), Stef O’Driscoll (artistic director of Dirty Stop Out), Jack Lowe (artistic director of Curious Directive), freelance directors David Mercatali and Gemma Kerr, as well as freelance casting director Sophie Davies.

Team PP is represented in full by artistic directors James and George, producer Tara, administrator Hanna, general manager Claire, production assistant Sarah and our super volunteer Annabel.

We have a little chat, find out a bit about you and what plays and playwrights you like, see your duologue, and give you a chance to grill us about anything you like.

So what happens next? We keep everyone’s details on file and if we liked what you showed us we’ll be sure to keep you in mind for future castings. Lots of people we’ve met for the first time through Open Auditions have subsequently been invited in to meet for our productions. At the end of the day, we all head to the pub for a discussion centred around finding parts for people who really blew us away.

If you’re coming on Sunday, thank you, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Administrator – Sabbatical Covered

Three and a half months ago, on a rainy Thursday morning I stepped back into 43 Aldwych, climbed the four flights of stairs, reached the top, caught my breath (trust me, if you’ve ever done those four flights, you’ll know they’re a killer!) and hey presto I’m back in the Paines Plough offices and ready to go.

Earlier this year Paines Plough received some funding from Esmee Fairbairn to do some audience development work on a small scale tour to discover more audiences, in more venues, in more places than ever before. In comes producer extraordinaire Hanna who took up this mantle and headed out on the road with the WASTED team to Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Folkstone and everywhere in between to compile some serious research that will help Paines Plough tour for years to come. Bonza!

This meant however that I was left to look after Hanna’s job as PP’s Administrator…well I promise nothing too serious went wrong; I excelled at spreadsheets (geddit…?!…sorry…), financed my way through Thursdays, booked that rehearsal room to within an inch of its life and yes, of course, ate enough cake/sweets/chocolate/doughnuts/cookies to sink a battleship.

It’s been a cracking few months at PP Towers with WASTED out on the road and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at the Royal Court and after they were both up and running we announced the full programme for 2012 which has got some absolute corkers in it heading all over the country so be sure to check it out and book yourself a cheeky ticket or two.

I’ve had a cracking few months back with the brilliant PP Team and so I’ll leave you with some very wise and very apt words when working in the PP office courtesy of Sandra in Love, Love, Love:

‘Now, does everybody have a piece of cake?’

A day in the life of a WASTED CSM on tour – on caffeine.

A blog by Harriet Stewart – Company Stage Manager on WASTED

7am. The day starts with a rather invigorating shock that my bedside alarm is actually going off. It feels like 20 minutes since I set it. Stage management are always the first to arrive, last to leave, so the early start is very usual, and yet so is the shock. Whether at home, or in a Travelodge – the day always begins with tea – Caffeine Hit Number 1.

8am. After a shower and quick breakfast, its onward to the venue. Having our fantastic producer, Hanna, with me on tour, is a huge support and I can rely on her for the morning van run, feeling as bleary eyed as me! I can rely on her too for joining me in Caffeine Hit Number 2.

10am. Arrive at venue. Engine off, and it’s a speedy van-unload, helped by any venue techs I have working with me that day. (Hopefully 2. On good days: 3; bad days: 1;  and days we don’t want to talk about: 0)

10.15-10.30am. Recce the venue, talk to the tech manager about how we are going to set the show up, and what the plan for the day shall be.

The challenge, and an interesting part of a small-scale tour such as WASTED, is taking the show to a huge variety of spaces, from 600-seater venues with a traditional proscenium arch, to a shop front, literally, with 4 lights on a stand and a domestic electrical set up which won’t manage all our equipment. Every venue can create a different challenge – sometimes, trying to work out how the set will fit in, I have the Crypton Factor theme tune in my head. Seriously.

It means the show and company have to be adaptable and I have to be able to think on my feet and problem-solve each day, to get the show up and looking at its absolute best.

Coffee anyone? Caffeine Hit Number 3.

10.45am.Then it’s straight on to the dance floor. No, I’m not throwing shapes – that comes later. It’s the first part of the set to be laid. Followed by: the rest of the set, rigging the projector, getting the av working, and running in our own sound desk and equipment, and our extra set-lights. All being well, and problem free, I have time to stop and have a bite to eat for lunch.

             

1pm. Plonk myself down with Hanna who is hard at work at her laptop in the venue cafe, or dressing room if no such thing exists! After munching and distracting her from her work its back into the theatre to start on the lighting – with coffee number 3, Caffeine Hit Number 4 in hand.

2pm. Each venue pre-rigs our lighting plan, so when I get to the venue all I need to do is focus the lights, then do checks. A focus can take anything from an hour (if you’re lucky), to 2 and half hours. And this is where the chocolate comes in… and possibly, dare I say, Coffee 4 Caffeine Hit Number 5.

            

4pm. If everything is on schedule, I’ll have a couple of hours to finish little jobs off – running sound checks, lighting checks, setting props, ironing costume, tidying up, re-painting parts of the set, making props, etc. … the list is long.

6pm. The cast arrive: often a welcome sight. Time to run a cue to cue on stage – giving me a chance to check all the lighting states are working as they should be and everything is lit well enough. The cast walk each scene – stopping when I need them to. As venues and the lights used can be so different, this often involves a lot of tweaking and updating states, adding in light where needed.

6.15pm. I run a microphone check with the cast – and afterwards, we run the first part of the show purely for sound purposes, so I can make sure the levels are all correct – its also a good opportunity for the actors to run lines, get focussed, clear any, hmmm, hang-overs.

6.50pm. If I’m lucky, I may have a snack and sit down before we get to the half – but more often than not there are little bits to be done. By this time I’m off the coffee and moved onto the harder stuff: coke (diet) – if things are bad, it may even be a red bull – Caffeine Hit Numbers 6, 7 and 8.

    

7.10pm. The cast and I vacate the stage area and auditorium around 15 mins before the show for the house to open.


7.20pm. Dressing room. Essential group hug.

7.20pm 45secs.  Yes that was a 45 second hug. And now it’s time to leave the actors at the 5 with the fond farewell, “See you on the other side” and get into position in my control area.

7.30pm. I love this show and never get bored of watching the performance, and cueing it is always fun – I operate the sound and av and the microphones live during the show and I cue the lighting to the lx op.

         

8.30pm. Once the show has finished, its to the bar… but only for one and a quick 15 min sit down! The last small job of the day is still to come… the get out. Luckily, our get outs are all hands on deck, so the team can be 7 or 8 strong with all the company getting involved – we are now a well oiled machine and our record get out time is 50 minutes including the van pack – the giant game of Jenga!

         

         

10pm. Van packed, drinks done, final checks to make sure nothing from WASTED is left behind, and its back in the fun bus and off to the pub… or dance floor… or hotel… or next town… or sometimes, if we’re lucky, home.

**All times are subject to change and are made at CSM’s discretion.

RUNS and STORMS – Love, Love, Love’s last week at the Southbank

A very excited “over and out” from us at London Bridge as we complete our final day between these lovely, draughty Chocolate Factory walls and head to the Royal Court to begin our tech. Next week we will, no doubt, remember fondly its pockets of heat, its scattered red pillars and the Donner und Blitz that framed each afternoon session, as if on cue. I have seen more storms in London during this past week than I have in my whole time living in England. We seem to attract them. Pathetic fallacy? Very possibly.

We discovered that the place is also, possibly, haunted. A ghost passed through our rehearsal room during Act Two on Friday. It rattled the huge stable doors at one end almost off its hinges and then made a sneaky escape through the main door out into the stairway with a move and a shake. It certainly caused a collective shiver. Come to think of it, the front door has been acting quite ghostly during this whole process. Unable to fully close (due to the fact that it self-locks), the door dithers and creaks every 15 minutes causing all three of us behind the desk to turn expectantly towards it, convinced someone is surreptitiously trying to enter. We do this every 15 minutes, without fail. We never learn. I tell you, it’s comedy gold: we’re like three synchronised meerkats.

The goblet saga continues.. the chalice has somehow made its way onstage and thus has become a minor character in the final act (complete with those dastardly wasabi peas). Watch out for it.

“Cheese Thursday” was the major event this week – a regular Royal Court tradition I hadn’t experienced before. And I really do mean ‘experienced’. We were informed by Stage Management and we got excited. It was discussed days in advance. I stressed the need to delegate (the horror of everyone turning up armed only with chutney, loomed in my mind). When the grand day finally arrived, our party of eleven was dismally diminished to only three hard-core cheesists. Their loss of course. Borough Market offered and we gladly accepted and a fantastical feast followed. Apples, grapes, chutney, spek, smelly brie, smoked cheddar, gorgeous stilton, oat cakes and french loaf. Olives were a slight deviation but welcomed by all involved. Needless to say, I went on quite a cheese roller-coaster that afternoon: a glorious cheese high was followed by a cheese low(er) which finally settled into a cheese lull for the rest of the day.

And finally, the Guardian crossword has taken the company by storm. Small victories and huge frustrations are played out over tea breaks. Mr Miles continuously spoils the fun by knowing every answer so we are forced to ban him from taking part and only defer to his vast intellect in emergencies.

We finished the week with two full runs of the play for small audiences of production team members. To see it all together like that for the first time was astounding. If one can watch it in a rehearsal room, with all the sounds of London Bridge zooming through the windows at high speed, and still feel that it is delightful, devastating, captivating and breath-catching, then we’re in for something pretty special indeed.

And to end, an attempt at a (somewhat) cryptic crossword clue:

“Seen three times in red: what a sight for old Peter Jones” (4)

Stephanie about her first month with PP

It seems like you are closing your eyes.
Just for a moment.
Or two.
And time flies by.

This is already my fourth week as the not-so-new-anymore intern at Paines Plough. This is nearly a month and also almost a third of my time with this incredible company which makes me sad already knowing there are just two more left. It felt like I was going through someone else’s things in the first week, trying to find a rhythm and a natural order in the second week, by the third week I found myself very settled in a routine and now in the fourth week I cannot imagine having not been with the Paines Plough family before.

Given the fact that being German I am used to an utterly different theatre system, every day at work has something new for me to discover and learn.

Touring theatre does not exist in Germany to this extent as I suppose this habit got lost in two wars. The fact is that companies toured Shakespeare’s plays to the continent already when the writer himself was still alive. Touring theatre was known at this time but theatre developed differently on the continent than on the island: today it is hardly alive in German speaking countries anymore. But here in the UK touring companies are an institutionalized part of the theatre landscape and I find myself only beginning to understand how the system here works. I have been given a great opportunity.

When I was at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer (I feel like a philistine to admit that it was my first one. Ever.) and later in London, where I have lived now for six months I always stumbled over Paines Plough’s name and their work. I feel very privileged and honoured being in this lucky position and find myself challenged, part of the team and finally working in the British Theatre industry.

Also I not only enjoy climbing up the four floors to the office everyday but also crossing Waterloo Bridge by bike and its incredible view to London’s skyline and landmarks realising every day what a sparkling city I live in now and what a promising future I have working with Paines Plough.

(c) Stephanie Königer

 

Picture Us Paines-takingly WASTED.

After last week’s Halfway Red Herring, it’s time to let you in on all the goss of not the last one, but two weeks of this rather splendid WASTED tour.

Week Four of the WASTED Five Tour. The Shop Front Theatre in Coventry, the Hat Factory in Luton, Phoenix Arts Centre in Hampshire and the Firestation in Windsor.

Then week Five and we were storming The Albany in Deptford, Arts Centre Washington and the Astor Theatre in Deal.

Whichever theatre we were at, you could count on some pre-show regularities: Harriet hard at work setting everything up, the cast chilling out and running lines, Hanna hard at it between meetings and working on her laptop, and the occasional bromance.

However, as the tour continues, it seems catching forty winks these past two weeks has also become a familiar pre-show preparation..

Halfway through the tour, it seems poignant to moot on various ‘Number One’ best moments: the ‘Number One’ best sandwich ever. Bread, ham. No mucking about. Thanks Tescos. Thanks Hanna; 2. The ‘Number One’ embarrassing moment: heading up to a group of kids straight after a show while still sat in their seats, and engaging them in conversation, before realising this was not the group of kids we’d been asked to chat to. Thanks Hanna; 3. Number One inspiring moment: chatting to the right group of kids and hearing their really incisive and enthusiastic thoughts on the show; 4. ‘Number One’ post- show tipple: Jagerbomb; 5. ‘Number One’ place to stay on the road: Travelodge; 6. Cary having a ‘number one’ in the bushes.

No, this isn’t a Stef O’Driscoll Best Moments, but when we got to Deptford, Kwake Bass was back to perform live with us, which he did from up on the balcony and it sounded amazing. And as we were also performing the show in the Thrust (3 sides) because we had packed out the place! we needed to tech and rehearse the show during the day; and fortunately Stef, Champion A.D, was able to step in. Bernd was also on hand to help with attending to the new space, and along with Harriet and Stef discussing and solving much, it made for a great show. I caught a snap of the empty seats before they quickly filled. The night was massive. Huge standing ovation. Incredible buzz. We came off stage and just wanted to go straight back out. Instead, we headed to the pub where this play is set and where we rehearsed the first day, and enjoyed some down-time.

Before we sign off for this blog, Harriet has also begun bringing her camera out on tour, and has been taking some beautiful pics. Next week, Harriet shall be posting a blog of her own with some of her photos. Until then, here are a few moments she’s captured in the dressing room during the half.

PS: some thoughts to leave you with till next week: getting size envy when faced with Windsor’s very own Fun Bus. The fact that it did not stop raining the entire time we were in Newcastle. Kate Tempest’s new book is incredible and everyone should buy it. Hanna smiles for the camera, come rain or shine. I should really take more photos whilst on tour for this blog or we may have to resort to drawing our escapades.

I post this as we come to the end of a week’s break. But now we head to Canterbury, and James’ hometown of Folkestone. Look forward to seeing you there!

A Day in the Life of an Actor on Tour – Top Quiz.

So its halfway through the WASTED tour, and what better way to celebrate this exceptional tour by all sharing in a fun game!! The photo blog, Picture Us WASTED, will recommence next week with a fortnight bonanza, but for right now, what type of actor are YOU??

To write about a day in the life of an actor on tour is to write of the infinite quandary of our cosmos: so many types of actors, so many types of days. Below is a fun, slightly tongue-in-cheek, 10 question quiz, to help you discover what type of actor you are or could be, on any given day of a tour.

1. Your bedside alarm rings at 7.30am Do you?

A- up you get. You wanna get in the shower in time for breakfast and an hour’s vocal warm-up.

B- snooze it five minutes, if not more. There’s no way though you’re getting up for breakfast. And you did a vocal warm-up yesterday.

C- wake up in blind confusion. Smack the off-button. You ain’t getting up till at least midday. You didn’t get to bed till 5am and that hangover ain’t clearing any time soon.

D- there’s no way you will have set an alarm for half 7 in the first place.

 

2. Your digs landlady has left you a clipping of a local review of your show by your door. Do you?

A- pick it up. Read it quietly to yourself in your room, taking down any notes the theatre critic has kindly made of your performance to take into later consideration.

B- pick it up but without looking at it, pop it in your pocket for a later burial in a far away public bin. You don’t want to upset the landlady and she meant well, but you no longer read reviews. Not since the Bletchley Times spelt your name wrong and suggested they’d rather eat their own face than watch another of your performances.

C- pick it up. Realise what it is and throw it back on the floor. You need to attend to the three S’s before even entertaining any ideas of theatre and work.

D- you never made it back to your digs last night.

 

3. You’ve never been to this city before. Do you?

A- make sure you take out with you your Lonely Planet guide. You don’t want to miss a thing.

B- head out for lunch with the rest of the company in a local pub. Sit out in the beer garden and take in the ambience. Perhaps go for a walk round the shops if there’s time.

C- head out for lunch. The company are heading to a local but you fancy Wetherspoons. You know what you’re getting with that. Besides, it’s right next to your digs. Perfect.

D- watch This Morning, followed by Cash in the Attic, followed by Neighbours, followed by Quincy, followed by Countdown. Followed by, heck is that the time? You better get to the theatre. You’ve just missed the half.

 

4. It’s the half (half hour before the show starts). Do you?

A- warm up. Get your vocal exercise book out and follow its instruction methodically as always, careful not to skip anything.

B- warm up. You’ve noticed your higher range is slightly weak so you decide to concentrate on that. Perhaps try loosening the shoulders. See if that helps.

C- choose not to warm up. Get into your costume though and make sure it all feels comfortable. Yep, it does.

D- have a couple of cigarettes. Helps with the stress. Especially after the Stage Manager’s had a go at you for turning up smelling of alcohol.

 

5. You’re about to step out onto the stage for your first scene. Do you?

A- go through your three circles of concentration, your objectives and your super-objectives.

B- go through your lines.

C- check your flies.

D- sneak a peek into the audience. That girl you met last night said she’d come along. You wanna make sure you push all your best emotions and facial expressions in her direction. She was hot.

 

6. It’s the final show in this city. Do you?

A Help strike the set. It’s best it’s done quickly so more hands the better. You want to get an early night in before heading to the next theatre. Another week, another community to inspire through the medium of theatre.

B- have a quick drink then help strike the set. More hands the better and you want to have a couple more drinks somewhere else.

C- get to the bar and get in the drinks. You’ve got at least a couple hours of drinking time before the set is packed up. It’s always nice to get some praise from the audience.

D- leg it off the stage, throw your costume on the dressing room floor, run next door to the Wetherspoons, order yourself a line of Jaeger Bombs. The tour van can pick you up en route. You just can’t remember if it was your turn to drive it.

 

7. You’ve got the Sunday off. Do you?

A- get up early. Get down to the gym. Read through your script. Have a pleasant Sunday lunch with your nearest and dearest. Get an early night.

B- meet with some friends you haven’t seen in a while. Enjoy a few glasses of vino but not too many. You want to get a good night’s sleep in.

C- get a video in, a take-away. Start with a couple beers but your mate comes over and you end up getting really drunk. You get your script out but only to use as an intermediary between your lap and the very hot plate of curry.

D- wake up in a strange city, in a strange bed, a red stamp on the back of your hand, wondering why you hadn’t gone home on the tour van.

 

8. It’s the first show back after a week’s break. Do you?

A- get together with your fellow cast members that afternoon for a line-run, a discussion of new ideas you’ve had for the show, and to show them the drawings you’ve done of each of them.

B- get together with your fellow cast members to do a quick line-run before the half. You’ve not looked at your script for a week.

C- you’ve not looked at your script for a week. It might be quite exciting to go onstage and at times, be completely surprised by the lines you’re saying. Maybe that might bring about the spontaneity your drama teacher always harped on about.

D- just hope and pray the week you’ve just had, the most hedonistic, alcohol-fuelled week you’ve ever dared have in your life doesn’t harm what was already a rather compromised performance.

 

9. It’s the final show of the entire tour. Do you?

A- do as you’ve always done. You’re a professional, goddammit.

B- really go out there and enjoy it. It’s your last chance. It might be your last job ever. Have fun out there!

C- try out some new things. Drop in a few jokes of your own. Don’t tell the other cast members though. It’ll be a right laugh. As long as no one’s allergic to cat hair.

D- take the night off.

 

10. It’s the end-of-play party. Do you?

A- take some headshots along. You never know who you’re gonna meet.

B- dress snazzy. You never know who you’re gonna meet.

C- dress as you always dress. You know exactly who you’re gonna meet. You never liked them anyway.

D- not go. You got so smashed the night before, you’ve not slept for 48 hours and quite honestly your last performance was such a debauched embarrassment, it’s best for all concerned if you stayed away.

 

Results:

A If you answered mostly A, you are an actor.

B If you answered mostly B, you are an actor.

C If you answered mostly C, you are an actor.

D If you answered mostly D, you are an actor, frighteningly.