Archived Story

Performers are people, too [UPDATED]

Published 10:17am Thursday, April 4, 2013 Updated 12:19pm Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life on the road is what many performing groups have chosen for a profession, and it really is a choice. Touring sounds so incredibly glamorous: new towns to explore, new people to meet.

Or maybe not. Spending 180 or more days sleeping in a new hotel almost every night and endless hours of driving, all so you can spend two and a half hours on a stage playing for an audience — the only two and a half hours in a day that you really know what will happen. You arrive at the theatre, load in your equipment, meet the stage crew, do a sound and light check, and go to the hotel room (maybe) change, go back to the venue, eat a snack and do a concert.

After the concert, you meet people in the lobby, and then pack up all the equipment, load it into a vehicle and go try to find a place to eat before going back to the hotel to catch some sleep before you do it all over again.

Not as glamorous as it sounds, especially with everything that can go wrong.

I have done many tours in my career, from Summer Touring Theatre where we performed two shows a day for 30 days in 29 different towns and we stayed with “host families,” to a national six-month tour with Cloris Leachman.

As a touring artist, you have a tendency to remember the best three and the worst five cities/venues of the tour, Everything else was just a stop. But, you do remember the people.

Artists are people too … with real lives. They have families, friends, and lives. People are allowed to have bad days. People are allowed to be tired and people are allowed to be off (just not when they are on stage).

Life on the road is not as glamorous as people may dream. Be kind to touring artists.


Michael Burgraff is the director of A Center for the Arts in downtown Fergus Falls.

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