Pre-show is an exciting time in the theatre — it’s fun to get into costume and makeup, anticipating a great show and thinking about who might be in the audience. But it’s also a time when things can get out of hand if you let them. So without further ado, let’s discuss some pre-show etiquette in the theatre!
1. Respect each other’s personal space and preparatory processes. Some actors need to be quiet and focus during their pre-show prep. Respect their space and don’t bug them, and keep the volume down. There’s nothing worse than trying to concentrate and get into character while someone is going on about their problems on the other side of the room!
2. Keep your personal items to a minimum, and help keep the space tidy. Most theatres have very small dressing areas, so it’s best to leave as many personal items at home as possible. Not only does this keep things from going missing or getting stolen (you never know), but it saves people tripping over piles of bags and clothing! Like your mother said — clean up after yourself!
3. Get ready and then get out of the way. There’s no sense loitering in the dressing area — you’re just in the way of others trying to get ready. Get in, get into costume, get your hair and makeup done, and get out of the way!
4. Make sure all your props and costume pieces are ready to go. Do a pre-show check of everything you need and make sure it’s where it needs to be. There’s nothing worse than having a panic attack mid-show because you can’t find your pants. Save yourself the stress during showtime!
5. Drink water and warm up. Water is the best thing to consume before a show. Soda makes you gassy, milk coats your throat, and juices can stain your costume if they’re spilled. Hydrate with good old H2o! Take the time to warm up your body and voice. Do some stretching and tongue twisters and get in the zone! Going through a pre-show warm-up will help calm your nerves too.
6. Don’t be late to group work (for example, dance or vocal warm-up, or fight call). If your cast does group warm-ups, join in. Don’t hang around backstage preening in the mirror. Get out onstage and work with your cast. Not only are vocal and physical warm-ups important for you as an actor, it’s important to spend that time with your cast and bond as a team!
7. Treat the backstage crew with respect. They have been working their butts off to make the show look amazing, and they don’t get the big bow at the end of it. So if the wireless mic assistant needs to put your microphone on, don’t make them wait! Pick up and hang up your costume instead of leaving it in a wad on the floor for the costume team to deal with. Put your props back in their correct spot so the props team and ASMs don’t have to hunt for them. In other words, don’t be a diva!
What’s your pre-show process? Hit me up on Twitter or share your thoughts in the comments!
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