What to take to a Performance – For Performers

So, it is performance time.  Usually we remember most things – but I always recommend taking what I call a “Performance Bag”  something that has everything you need in it.  Here are my recommendations of what to remember to bring with you.

Costume and Makeup:

  • If you have any elements you need to remember from home, such as shoes etc, bring those.  Make sure they are clean.
  • Bring your make-up kit (especially for eyes and lips – as sharing these items can be harmful to your health).  Make sure you have washed your brushes and you have new sponges.
  • Hairbrush, bobby-pins and hair-ties.  Relying on the crew for these things can be stressful, and you know how to treat your hair best.
  • Underwear – sounds silly, but think about this first.  Do you have the right bra (strapless, cross back, etc), are your underpants the correct colour for your outfit?  Make sure you have packed supportive garments, as worrying about wardrobe malfunctions is one thing you can avoid.
  • This includes special items such as dance shoes or circus props.  Double check everything is in working order before you leave.


  • You never know when you may get sick.  Prevention is key.
  • Bring a water bottle.  While water is often available in the greenroom, having your own vessel means you can move around with it.  Keep your water intake well up.
  • Basic first aid – such as plasters, insect spray (for outdoor performances).
  • Paracetamol.  Bring a simple painkiller as you never know when a headache or cramps can get to you.  And the show must go on.
  • Feminine hygiene products…. once again, you never know…
  • Allergies and other medications.  If you normally take these, bring these.  If you need an epi-pen, make sure your stage manager knows and knows how to use it as well.
  • Vitamin C – one of my friends has a tradition of starting and ending a performance with vitamin C in a drink… just to boost her immunity during performance season.
  • Do remember to bring something to wash your face before heading home.

Personal Space:

  • You should be aware that your personal space will be an issue (unless you are the lead in a Broadway show, don’t expect a private dressing room).  These items are to help you stay in the zone and not let the others breathing around you get on your nerves.
  • Bring a book.  People rarely disturb someone who is reading (or pretending to read)
  • Bring an iPod or Mp4 player – if this helps you get into the zone.  I’ll often make a special playlist – either the songs I need to sing or songs that get me into the right mental space before a scene to listen to)
  • Bring a blanket/pillow – having something warm and cozy is handy for those cold green rooms.
  • Change of clothes.  Do not underestimate the absolute joy of changing into track pants (or cotton leggings) and a soft tee shirt before going home.


  • Bring a notebook and pen.  These are useful for noting things that need sorting out or things to improve.
  • Script – I like to bring mine and mark on it where I either mess up, or where I need to note more time for audience reaction before speaking.  Always go back an re-read your lines before a performance, especially with something like Shakespeare, where the rhythm is important.
  • A few bucks in cash – either for gas, a ride home, a chocolate bar, donation to the gift for the director– it is just nice to have that security.
  • Take a photo of yourself and your make-up before opening night – and keep this for continuity.
  • Having a small repair kit with safety pins and a sewing kit can be a god-send (and something less for your wardrobe manager or stage manager to remember)
  • Phone – charged and good to go.

If you have any other tips, leave them in the space below.


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