Author Topic: WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Packing for a Summerstock  (Read 4984 times)

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bpaige

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WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Packing for a Summerstock
« on: Mar 26, 2012, 05:05 pm »
So maybe it's me just thriving on checklists but I have been browsing the site looking for a good thread on what to pack for working at a summer stock. This summer I will be working out of state, driving about 22 hours from where I call home for my job. It will be my first experience being so far away from home and I am wondering what I should bring with me.

For other clarification, the only thing I will be supplied with this summer is a room, a bed, and a dresser. I know that I will be bringing at least two sets of sheets and towels. Haha.

Edit to subject line-Rebbe
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 01:34 pm by Rebbe »

loebtmc

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #1 on: Mar 26, 2012, 06:57 pm »
WOW, they are not supplying sheets and blankets? Yikes!

There is a site about being on the road but I am out myself and just checking in - if someone gets to it before I do, great, and if not I will search when I get home tonite. In the meantime, check the city/space online and see what's nearby, what you can count on and what you might need to bring.

But, a few things:for one, your pillow. You will be glad to have your own pillow. Really. And a couple of specific home-based items (photos, a candle or two, a nicknack or toy to hang onto home for the bad days.

If you are there long enough, and since you are driving, clothes for two sets of weather. At least two weeks worth, so you can get thru first tech without dealing with laundry til your day off. Yes, they have grocery stores and all, but some places are pretty far from the nearest market plus you will have no time.

Don't forget laundry soap along with the obvious basics (toothbrush and paste, soap, two towels, etc)

SHOES - your feet will be grateful for variety. Flip flops or sandals for the shower, slippers at nite, something besides your work shoes (and two pairs of those).

I always bring a hotpot for late-nite tea or hot cocoa. Also, I bought a cheap version of the magic bullet and it has saved me many times over - from breakfast smoothies to late nite snacks to mixed drinks. Not an essential, but nice to have if you can make food in your own space.

If you share a "dorm" style room, something clever to lock up/hide any personal items/valuables you need to access regularly while you are out being efficient. But remember not to bring anything you don't mind losing.

Eye mask - can't tell you how many times it has helped encourage sleep during the day or if someone has a light on.

Of course, there are the obvious things: Is there a gym? Workout/gym clothes. Do you need dress-up for any reason? At least dress blacks for opening of each show. Is there a pool? Bathing suit.

Add mosquito netting/bug spray to your kit (depending on where you are, but most places have things that bite come out in the summer.

Check groupon and other discount couponing sites to see if there's anything featured in the area.

Have a blast


Maribeth

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #2 on: Mar 26, 2012, 07:42 pm »
Here's the thread about packing for a tour- there are some great ideas for packing in general that might be helpful in your situation: http://smnetwork.org/forum/stage-management-plays-musicals/tours-tips-for-packing/

To avoid lugging a lot of books around, I think an iPad, Kindle, or other e-reader is a great idea. Or, if there is a public library system nearby, I usually get a library card once I'm there.

Will you have access to a kitchen? If so I would make a list of basic kitchen items to take, including a chef's knife, saucepan, and frying pan. Even if there isn't a kitchen, bringing some cups, plates, and silverware might be a good idea.

I spent a few months out of town twice last year- the first time I didn't bring very much, and the second time I brought a TV, my Nintendo Wii, my houseplants, and a bunch of other things to make the stay more "home-y". The downside to bringing more stuff was (of course) that you have to pack it all up when you leave. If you don't have a lot of downtime, it's definitely not worth it to pack the "extras". But, it's nice to have something to do with time off- read, knit, go running. Pack what you need to do something for yourself every once in a while.

An umbrella.

I second Loebtmc's "shoes" suggestion.

An alarm clock.

loebtmc

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #3 on: Mar 27, 2012, 02:08 am »
Thx Maribeth!

If you share where you are headed, some of us may have personal experience w the venue to help direct you (things like kitchen or laundry or how close the market is, etc) -

and either way, break legs and have fun!

PSMKay

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #4 on: Mar 27, 2012, 03:06 am »
Obligatory SMNetwork feature plug: you might also be able to find prior employees in BTDT.

We now return to our regular discussion.  :o

bex

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #5 on: Mar 27, 2012, 11:41 am »
A portable laundry basket/hamper (one that is easily carried up & down stairs, across the street, etc.)

I absolutely second Maribeth's kitchen items suggestion- whether you don't have a kitchen or you have a "fully stocked and supplied" kitchen, bring your favorite coffee mug, a couple of cups, that bowl that's the perfect height where the water doesn't boil over the side when you make oatmeal in the microwave, anything like that.  Also a good idea- a few pieces of tupperware. You'd be surprised how quickly that stuff disappears.  And LABEL all of your stuff! 

If you're a big movie-watcher, I'd get a cd sleeve, one of those zip-up things with the plastic sleeves, to put any dvds in that you want to bring. That way you don't have to deal with cases that take up way more space than is necessary.  Also, label your dvds or at least make a list of what you're bringing so that nothing disappears.

I also take a couple of pictures with me for a nice homey touch. 

A power strip and an extension cord! You never know where or how many outlets you'll have in your housing.  Label those too.

Labeling your things seems to be a common thread for me...

You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

NomieRae

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #6 on: Mar 27, 2012, 12:23 pm »
Power strips, extension cords!

Sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.

More underwear than you think you'll need - especially if laundry is hard to come by.

a good pair of headphones to watch movies, listen to music, etc if you have a roommate who has a different schedule.

a few good water bottles - the more durable the better. Granted the last time I was at summer stock was many years ago, but in upstate NY in july it's easy to get dehydrated.

seems silly, but a small lamp is sometimes nice, some rooms only have overhead lighting and just a little table lamp can make it a little more homey.


--Naomi
"First, I honor life, and with it my life in theatre." -- Jacques Burdick

DeeCap

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #7 on: Mar 27, 2012, 01:26 pm »
A blanket and sweatshirt for when it gets cold at night (depending on where you're going)

Either a desk fan or a box fan for when it gets hot.

I agree with the wide variety of shoes. Also bring a few towels, as well as beach towels or an old bed sheet for relaxing outdoors. (when you have time)

Lots of socks. I absolutely hate it when my feet are damp, and summer stocks tend to be wet and/or muddy. 

bpaige

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #8 on: Apr 01, 2012, 03:30 pm »
Thanks a bunch for all these suggestions! I will be in Custer, SD with the Black Hills Playhouse. I have been contacting people about the job and asking them their suggestions as well. =] I was happy to add a thread about summerstock though. I had found the thread on touring (thanks for the link!) to be quite helpful, but there are some differences since I will have my own room for a summer as opposed to having to pack everything up for different venues.

Thanks for the help.

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loebtmc

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #9 on: Apr 02, 2012, 01:11 am »
If you are as far north as SD, one more thing - check the weather expectations over the time frame you are there. You may discover winter hasn't left when you start, or that it begins before you leave. Assume you have checked out the town online as well -

BeccaTheSM

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #10 on: Apr 02, 2012, 08:58 am »
Similarly, altitude can affect temperature as well. I've worked several summerstocks that have been at reasonably high altitudes for the region. What it will often do is be warm during the day (often pretty hot in July and early August) and then get quite cold at night (okay, maybe it'll only be mid-40s to mid-50s, but after a 90-degree day, that feels quite cold).

So, as someone mentioned earlier, bring two 'seasons' of clothes -- or at least a couple of good sweatshirts/jackets/longsleeves/whatever.

Also -- Rain. Everyone tends to forget that it rains in the summer so they end up getting soaked in that sudden downpour.

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos. - Stephen Sondheim

megf

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #11 on: Apr 03, 2012, 05:57 pm »
Not to complicate things further, but... it may help to think about how much you DON'T need to pack. Often, the move-in and move-out schedules in stock (and regional company housing, for that matter) are very tight, and the last thing you want to do is spend your first and final days wondering if you'll ever finish unpacking (or stuffing things into your car.) Also, know you'll probably have wonderful opportunities to collect the perfect sweater, handbag, work pants, tool belt, etc. while you're there, and will definitely want to bring it home with you... so allow yourself the space to bring back a great find, that also brings back great memories!

After spending about half of the last five years in company housing or traveling with a show, I've learned to pack so I can leave something behind or toss it out. In my case, that means ratty workout clothes, T-shirts I don't care about, and (occasionally) running shoes that should be recycled anyway. They're useful while I'm there, and when it's time to start packing, I drop off anything really useful at a Goodwill, and toss out the rest. (If you're responsible for any cleanup before you leave housing, an old T-shirt can be extra useful!)

It sounds like you'll be sharing housing with some colleagues, too - have you connected with anyone about kitchen supplies? Depending on the kitchen setup, it might be really helpful to sort out any large purchases or appliances. Does someone have a George Foreman grill they're comfortable sharing? Does someone have a knife set? What is provided, and what do you and your housemates feel is important to make the kitchen your own for the season? (A blender, for post-opening margaritas? An mini outdoor grill for s'mores?)

More than anything else - congrats on the gig, keep us posted, and have a fabulous time!

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NomieRae

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #12 on: Apr 06, 2012, 11:35 am »
South Dakota is BEAUTIFUL in the summer (I'm from ND and am partial to the summers there)

Summers in that area are beautiful (70's, 80's and not humid)  - but I cannot stress enough: BUG SPRAY. If you are near any body of water they'll be really bad, especially after dark.

--Naomi
"First, I honor life, and with it my life in theatre." -- Jacques Burdick

Maggie K

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #13 on: Apr 25, 2012, 01:44 am »
I agree with everything above.  Couple of things I would add: a few hangers, if you have prescriptions make sure you have enough for the time you are there.  Something my sister and I have both done if we are driving to the summer stock, is to take a few meals/snacks packed in a small cooler and some basic cooking ingredients (salt, pepper, small amounts of flour and sugar in tupperware).  The meals/snacks are nice to have on hand while you get the lay of the land and if you like to cook it's nice to not have to rush out and spend a lot of money on the basics.  The cooler is useful anytime.  We also frequently have a small tote with non-perishables (cereal, cans of soup, etc).  I know it may seem like a bit much but not having to worry about grocery shopping for the first week is really nice.  Also, prices for things can really go up in different parts of the country and in small towns.  Last summer my sister went somewhere that had a shared kitchen but her room was a distance from it and there where about 60-70 people using the same kitchen.  She bought a small mini fridge for her room so she could have things like milk and fruit on hand.  Some places might not allow that though or you might not want to haul one around.

Something else to consider is your banking situation, particularly if you have bills and such that you have to pay.  Check to see if your bank has a branch near where you will be staying.  If there isn't one see if the company can do direct deposit.  The other options are to cash your paycheck at the theatre's bank and live off cash/money orders for the summer or to open an account at another bank.  There may be other options as well.  Don't forget about anything you pay with automatic bill pay! 

Have fun this summer!
I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost - it's there and then it's gone. -Maggie Smith

loebtmc

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Re: Packing for a Summerstock
« Reply #14 on: Apr 25, 2012, 09:59 am »
Quote
particularly if you have bills and such that you have to pay

It didn't used to be true, but now, if you have internet access, you can pay pretty much any bill online. Unless you want to do automatic payments, set up online bill pay access along with a calendar alarm (you will lose track of days/dates pretty quickly in stock) and pay when you get your paychecks! Most bills also now allow you to preset the pay date regardless of when you use the online system.

Tags: Summerstock packing 
 

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