Touring companies take Broadway on the road. They range from high budget shows that stay in large cities for weeks at a time, to those that travel around the world, to “bus and truck tours” where the entire company packs the show into busses and trucks, traveling from city to city for just one day of performances at a time.
Many professional kids won’t do tours because of the hardship on the family. It is tough to be separated and always on the road. Financially, many tours lose money, and it is not at all unusual for a parent to be in the red when the tour is over. If you are considering a tour, here are some tidbits to consider:
--Point of origin is not the city that an actor lives in, it is the first city you rehearse and play in. For many tours, this can be Chicago or Denver. Per Diem is usually NOT offered, and even if you live far away, you must foot the bill for lodging, transportation and food while in the “point of origin city”.
--Joan is a parent who spent 600 miles a day in a cramped bus that was filled to capacity. She notes that touring is not for the faint of heart. “A series of one-nighters is exhausting. There were times when there wasn’t even time to check into the hotel with your luggage. Those days we went from a long bus ride straight to the venue, did the show, schlepped our bags off the bus to our rooms late at night and then up at 5:00a.m. for an early bus call." The children get their four hours of school on the bus.
--Also note: even on tours, parents are expected to leave their child with the wrangler and leave the theatre for each performance. You don’t get to see your child perform often.
--Considering hiring a chaperone to take your child on tour? Consider this before you accept the job—can you really afford to? Can you leave your job to accompany the child on tour? We suggest NOT signing over guardianship to another parent. Too many things can happen, especially on international tours. Some parents tell us that a chaperone situation can work, but only if the chaperone does exactly what is required by production and also has the best interests of your child in mind first and always. That’s a tough bill for anyone but a parent to fill, so think twice.
--Remember that you won’t have a car. Ask about tour car usage…can you get on an insurance rider so that you can use the company van to say, take a field trip if you are in a city for a week or two?
--Ask about per diem for the chaperone as well as the actor. Equity tours require it, but other categories of tour do not. It's really hard to feed two people on the $15 a day that is left on a single per diem after housing.
We’ll talk more about tours throughout this set of articles.
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