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Dressing Room Essentials

Things I Like to Bring to My Dressing Room on Show Days!

Hi! Doing shows over the years and having dressing rooms has let me pick up a few tips on how to pack for a show effectively. Being in community theatre, we often have to share dressing rooms which can be fun or annoying depending on who you share with (it's mostly fun). That being said, it gives you a limited amount of mirror and overall dressing room space. Here I'll give you a few tips on how to get the most out of your space and a few lifesaving dressing room essentials. 

At my company we always bring our own suitcase full of stuff to bring to the theatre where the dressing rooms are. We bring all the basic stuff like hairspray, cell phones and shoes. But people often forget the truly essential things. As I mentioned, space can sometimes be limited so I like to get to the theatre early, ensuring that I get first dibs on which spot in front of the mirror I get and which dressing room I want. The dressing rooms can sometimes be different sizes so this tip comes in handy to make sure you aren't stuck with the smallest one. 

Unless you are getting your makeup done for you by the makeup artist, it is very important to bring your own makeup, in the ensemble especially since it is less likely you will get made up by the artist. Personally I have a large case for all of my makeup that fits in my suitcase, so I bring it all just to be safe. But if you prefer to travel lighter, I suggest making a list of all the makeup you need for your character and pack a few extra products that match to your list as well as a few products you think you won't need, just in case of emergencies. I remember when bringing all of my makeup came in handy: the costume designer decided last minute that the makeup didn't go well with our costumes, so she told us all before going on to put on an entirely different lip colour. It was a pretty tight turnaround but since I brought all of my stuff it was no trouble for me. Speaking of having a ton of makeup, you will possibly be asked to do someone else's makeup because you have a lot of makeup and look like you know what you're doing (funny right?!). If this happens, make sure to do your own makeup first and sort out all of your own stuff before you focus on anyone else. 

The atmosphere in the dressing room before a show is often quite loud and party like. This is really good for hyping you up but still be cautious! Bring a Bluetooth speaker and some dairy free snacks for the room. You'll be a national hero and keep the party going! Keeping this in mind, remember not to get lost in the party and still ensure that all of your pre show to-do’s are in order. 

Speaking of food! Another essential is some healthy snacks to keep you energized but not heavy feeling. Consider bringing some crackers, protein bars, and even popcorn to the dressing room to snack on while getting ready. As far as drinks go, I love bringing a big bottle of Gatorade or Powerade to the theatre as well as a water bottle that I refill as needed. Tea is also a great option if you have a thermos or even a portable kettle you can plug in. Stay away from coffee and caffeinated teas because they can dry out your voice and no one wants that before a show. Something else to keep in mind is to cut dairy from everything you eat that day as it can make your voice extra phlegm-y and no one wants to sing like a toad! 

With all this food, drink, and makeup (don't even get me started on foundation!), there's bound to be some stains! This is especially frustrating when you have a white costume and you get s stubborn foundation or makeup stain on it! I recommend bringing a portable stain stick and some safety pins to the theatre in case this happens. You can remove the stain with the stick or pin the fabric together in such a way that it covers the stain. Also to prevent deodorant stains, invest in a good “invisible” antiperspirant to ensure dryness, no odor, and stain free costumes. 

Perhaps the most life saving essential of all, is pills! Like Advil for headaches, gravol for nausea, and Midol for cramps! You never know when something could hit and it's always good to be prepared. In the same vein as cramps, be sure to pack some tampons (pads can be uncomfortable in costumes) because you really never know when you or another actress might need one.

I hope you enjoyed my list of dressing room essentials for theatre! I hope I could help you decide what to pack for your next show!

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