“A Life on the Road”

– by AMTA Grad Leanne Clark

 Touring in the UK vs. Germany

THE AUDITION

I auditioned in London at the RADA studios for White Horse Theatre (German tour). I had to prepare a monologue either contemporary or classical and if I wanted to I could sing too but it would need to either be acapella or with a disc. No piano provided.

The audition was all day, 9-5pm. I was quite nervous but I felt happy with my choices of monologue and song.

Along with presenting our monologues and songs, we also read pieces of script that they wanted to hear, that ranged from Shakespeare to contemporary plays. I enjoyed it and by the first hour, it felt more like a workshop than an audition and the two directors hosting it were very fun and welcoming.

I struggle at times with my confidence in singing but I got up and sang what I had prepared! I sang an Abba song and I have since learnt that Abba is the director’s favourite group. So glad I got up and sang! And let that be a lesson to all..just get up and do it because you never know what could happen! Let it be a chance to ‘sing on a Wednesday’.

I waited about 3 weeks for any contact with the company, who rang me and told me they would like me to be a member.

 

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Leanne in the AMTA production of Sweet Charity – June, 2013

REHEARSALS

I had about 2 months to prepare before going out to Germany. I read and learnt all of the 3 plays I was cast in. I found during rehearsals that knowing the lines was a good head start, as learning the movement and all else was tricky too.

You have to be mentally prepared to take on a lot of information in a short space of time. You have to learn fast. We set up the stage and look after the costumes ourselves. So you have to not only be a performer but you have to learn stage craft and costume preparation too. You get physically fit over the time you’re there. Moving the set and prop boxes etc. up 3 flights of stairs to the school’s theatre is demanding, especially when you only have 30 minutes to get in and get the set up!

TOURING LIFE

The main thing love about being on tour is the time to explore the areas you are living in. In Germany we start at 5am but we finish at around 2pm. There is so much time to explore and really get to see the country! Take a camera!

I have found since being in Germany which is different to touring in the UK, is that there aren’t many home familiarities. In the UK if you are away from home, it’s ok because you go to the same supermarkets and everyone can speak your language so you can converse with the assistants in the shops and everyday things are normal to you. Living in Germany, I am learning the language as I go but everything is different here. The supermarkets are different, I can’t just chat to anyone and even the road signs are different. It’s all very unfamiliar. I do like the strangeness of it all but there are times after a long day at work that I would just like to know what I’m buying at the supermarket! Or talk to someone else other than my team (even though they are lovely!) 🙂

I started rehearsals living in a huge house with 12 people (2 other tour groups). We got close with everyone within the last month. We had parties and went on day trips at the weekends and shared all our rehearsal fears and successes. We are now apart touring in our groups of 4. You have to learn to like change. People come and go and you may find that you’re touring with people you aren’t best suited too. Find your own way to cope with that. Go for walks alone, try and bond with them by watching films together or having a cup of tea after a hard day and learning about them. You’re with them for a long time (in my case 9 months!) you have to try and learn to like something about them.

Touring with 3 other people (2 males, 1 other female) who may do things that grind your gears isn’t easy. You have to communicate at all times and learn ways to get through it for yourself. I’m very lucky I have a good group. They are similar to me but sometimes maybe a little too similar. I have learnt though that people’s way of doing things may not be the way I would do it, but it’s ok to let them get on with it. It’s ok to not always control the situation. If you have 4 people trying to be in control it doesn’t work. It does help to allow people to take charge in some aspects of touring. Like loading the van or having someone in charge of props and costumes.

Touring is hard and it isn’t for everyone and that’s ok too. You’re not alone with finding it hard. We all struggle with different aspects of it.  My main points for touring are:

1) Communicate.

2) It’s ok to have time on your own.

3) EXPLORE!

4) Take a camera.

5) Home sickness will happen at some point – it’s ok!

6) Have fun! You’re there to work but you’re also there to live.

7) Be patient!

8) Learn as much as you can before going away but don’t put pressure on yourself!

Since starting the German tour I have cried over missing my family but laughed so hard that it out ways the lows. It is physically hard and mentally tough but when you get young adults inspired by English and telling you they loved the play, it was their first performance they had ever seen then it makes it all ok. To see the enjoyment and enthusiasm in their faces makes you realise why you do these jobs and I think personally they teach you valuable lessons to take with you throughout your whole acting career and you get paid to see the world!

Leanne Clark (AMTA Grad – 2013)