I have been lucky enough to be involved in some truly awesome things. One of which was the incredible experience of touring Cinderella through the Philippines. But what does that mean? And if you are wanting to do something similar what should you expect? Here’s some of what I picked up on my journey which might help you out along the way!
So our group was the bite-sized travelling half of the tour so we moved around even more than some groups would. We went to so many islands I would have to look them up just to list them. Now I love travelling and I don’t mind early mornings – but travel can be a big shock to the system when your job is to sing and act and dance. My advice would be to absolutely anticipate the worst case scenario. Here’s some of what got me through. The adventure is tremendous and so so much fun – but you need to remember to preserve your instrument.
You will have flights at crazy times. You will have to sit in air-conditioned rooms waiting for transport to said flights or back from them. You may not be near somewhere to buy food before you perform. I think there was one day we flew out at 5, got on a ferry, did two shows and then got on another late flight back ready to perform the next day. Bring your steamer, keep your fluids up, have something small to nibble on available so your system doesn’t start to tense up, and try to relax and rest as much as possible! If you are someone who can sleep on flights then you absolutely should.
Sometimes you will bump in to venues at strange hours because that is when they are free, especially if you are performing in shopping centres or places that are hired out or in use during the day like we did. I kinda loved lying down in the middle of a giant centre in Manila while the stage was prepped just before midnight. Trying on costumes when everyone has gone home and the mall is closed. Singing on a stage to a giant echoing multiplex. It’s one of those cool things that you wouldn’t have an opportunity to do any other time.
Going to new places means considering you will be in different conditions – that may mean pollution, temperature, even the local sicknesses and flus that your body isn’t quite prepared for. So whatever you like to include in your emergency kit – have it ready. Remember that where you are going may not have what you normally need or use. For instance when I did my course in London I found that Betadine rinse was not a thing (or any sort of iodine mouthrinse it would seem). And in the Philippines where there is an additional language barrier it took me three chemists to find probiotics and vapodrops (which they call vapocool). So beyond this obviously to avoid the issue – keep your body as healthy as possible. Take advantage of the hotel gyms if you have them available and find some time to do some deep breathing and relaxation. Eat well and don’t get too distracted by all the amazing food options you may have just had opened up to you. Absolutely try things but don’t go crazy and don’t try something exotic and spicy etc just before you go on stage or the night before a big flight.
Keep yourself safe! You are working. So don’t do anything that will jeopardise your ability to do so. Don’t go to an event where you will be up late shouting or drinking. Stay away from things that may be dangerous (even if they are really awesome flying foxes that you absolutely wanted to check out). Steer clear of sunburn!! I talk from experience. I was clever enough to keep everything visible in my dress completely covered out in the sun but I managed to (being fair skinned that I am) do a pretty good number from my midriff down one day out at the pool. Dehydration and sore skin do not make things easier when you are trying to change costumes and sing at your best.
Be prepared for close quarters. You will probably be sharing spaces with your cast members and stage management. This can be an awesome opportunity to make some great friends. I particularly loved when our two casts got to spend time together which was just so great. I remember fondly going to a class at the hotel gym with two of the princesses from our other cast and the instructor including Australian songs just for us. It was so awesome. But be aware you will be in a space with other people because it does change how you go about your day. It means being aware of other people and what they need to stay rested and prepared and also being cautious when there are sicknesses floating around. I was pretty lucky as a lead in that most of the time I had my own room so I could get up and warm up etc whenever suited me best. My little apartment in Manila that was home base was pretty much one of my favourite places. So much space and my own little fridge and bath. And it was literally inside a giant shopping mall that had a giant poster of me in costume up outside on the building. Finding all these little places to love in the world is one of the great things about touring.
And the BEST thing about touring is just how many people you get to perform for! There were so many kids that had photos taken with me and loved being in the audience for our shows. Kids in an entirely different country no less! Such an honour and a privilege being that little bit of magic in their lives. I still have this little gem that one girl gave me because she said it matched my Cinderella dress. I will treasure it always.
So if you get the opportunity to tour then absolutely do it! It can be hard sometimes just like anything and brings with it its own complications and set of things to remember. But at the end of the day, it is one of those incredible opportunities that you absolutely will remember forever.