20 Items You Should Pack For An Out-Of-Town Contract
We all know Broadway is not the end all, be all. Many actors find steady work in productions at regional theaters across the country.
(Touring contracts are a whole different story. Perhaps a blog post for next time!)
If you find yourself scrambling choosing what to pack for an out-of-town contract, don't fret! Here are 20 simple things you should bring.
1. Neutral colored clothing
Pick things you can mix and match! Neutrals are best because you can add layers and accessories to create new looks.
2. Workout clothes
The obvious. You will most likely live in rehearsal clothes, so plan accordingly.
3. Two pairs of sneakers
You'll want to be comfortable (especially if you're wearing heels in a show).
4. One formal outfit
An opening night look is important. A nice dress and heels, a suit and tie. You know the drill.
5. Three or four dressy casual outfits
A pair of sandals and a sundress or nice slacks and a button up go a long way. You'll never know when you'll be going to a nice event or a party on a night off!
6. Two or three pairs of jeans
Keep it to a minimum. Jeans tend to weigh your bag down, especially if you're bringing multiple pairs. You'll probably end up living in athletic wear anyway.
7. A week's worth of socks and underwear
Bring more than you think. Wearing the same jeans or shirt twice a week may be no big deal, but you'll want to have plenty of underwear until you can do some laundry. (PS - a foldable laundry basket will come in handy!)
Smartphone (obvi), computer, tablet. Whatever makes you happy. Consider bringing a small speaker and/or a mini-tripod for recording video submissions while out-of-town!
Your electronics won't last forever! If you can, bring two phone chargers... I always end up losing mine at the theater. Power strips are helpful too.
To block out the haterz. And to blast some good good music at the gym.
11. Audition Binder/Headshots/Resumes
You'll never know when you'll have to whip out an audition song or two. Every contract I've been on, I've been able to also get a few auditions in on my days off. It's worth to pack your music and a couple of resumes, just in case!
12. Stage Makeup (and makeup-makeup)
You won't want to waste your super expensive, everyday makeup on performances. Make sure to bring some makeup that you can dedicate just to theatrical needs.
13. Magic Bullet
A bunch of my actor friends have found it helpful to bring their own blenders. Magic Bullets are great because they are light and packable.
14. Favorite Teas and Coffee
Not all grocery stores stock up on your favorite teas and coffee blends!
Tupperware can be used as storage not only for food, but for personal items too! Jewlery, hair ties, stamps, and various small items can be stored away and stacked.
16. Multi-purpose bowl or mug
Bringing your own personal bowl or favorite mug is great if you make oatmeal or drink coffee every day. You can also always get something like that there, if needed.
17. Favorite Pillow or Blanket
If you have a favorite pillow, bring it. Favorite blanket? Bring it. It’ll definitely make you feel like home!
18. Water Bottle
Unless you can't live without plastic water bottles, pack your own sturdy water bottle. Extra points if it has a filter in it!
19. Flip flops and slippers
What's your bathroom situation like? You may want to bring flip flops or shower shoes (and a bathrobe!), just in case. And consider bringing slippers! You never know what the floors of your housing will be like, and you can also wear them backstage if need be.
20. Bathing suit
Think about what part of the country you'll be in, and try to do a little research on the weather during the time of year you'll be there. Hopefully there's a pool or a beach nearby for some swimming! You'll kick yourself if you don't bring a bathing suit.
BONUS - portable foam roller. You'll thank me later.
* If you're a member of Actors' Equity, check your contract. Many, if not all, are required to ship a certain amount of your personal items. That includes not only your checked baggage on the airplane, but also reimbursement of shipping a box to your contract, and then shipment home at the end of your contract. Each contract is different, and it varies how much stuff they'll ship.
Pack light and pack smart!
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