I’m footloose and fancy free!
Travelling all around the country, staying in places you’ve never been before (possibly with people you’ve never met) may sound like a barrel of laughs. However, I have found it to be quite stressful. Those who know me wouldn’t exactly describe me as laid back, but even with those more relaxed personalities among us, no one wants to turn up to a random city with nowhere to sleep that night. For me, it’s very important to stay somewhere where I can still have some home comforts. I wouldn’t want to spend weeks at a time in B&B’s or hotels because I want to have he freedom to cook, do a washing, and have my scrambled eggs and spinach in front of BBC Breakfast. It’s important to me.
So, where do you look?
Common with most touring contracts, were are provided with a ‘living away allowance’ or ‘subsistence’ if rehearsing and/or performing away from home. This is a set amount of money which you can use to book your own accommodation and put towards living expenses. You are also given travel worked out from your home address or previous venue to the next venue. This is where a 16-25 railcard is a dream if you can get one. You can start saving money on travel instantly. Also, using the trainline or going direct through the rail provider’s website (or using SkyScanner if you’d rather fly) can bring up some great deals if you can be flexible on time.
My first point of call when looking for theatre digs is http://www.theatredigsbooker.com
They have a great search engine and a strong list of recommended properties. I managed to find my panto digs for Northampton on here. They are right next to the theatre, used to accommodating touring actors and you don’t need to pay the full amount until rehearsals.
Theatre’s also can provide a (usually) fairly comprehensive list of digs. We were lucky enough to receive a list in advance from the wonderful Victoria at Sell A Door, but theatre’s should provide this should you ask.
My most successful finds have been on AirBnB (link). I have secured a lovely flat for some of us to share in Portsmouth and a cute cottage for the entire company in Exeter. The upside to this is that you get lots of pictures, reviews and maps to aid in your decision making. The downside being that AirBnB does add an extra third party charge and the full amount does need to be paid upfront at the time of the booking.
Another excellent resource which sourced me my gorgeous Coventry Digs (thank you Hannah Farquharson) is Facebook. There is a fabulous page called Theatre Digs List, which you can access if you type it into the search box and like the page. Lots of hosts and actors post every day with recommendations of places they have stayed or have to offer. It’s been very helpful especially when I have found myself coming up short in other avenues. I just post up a little message with my required dates and location and most often someone will come back to me with suggestions of contacts.
I have gained a bit of a reputation within the Silver Sword company of being a ‘fixer’ with digs and deals so I thought I would share my insights in case it’s helpful for anyone out there. Feel free to ask any questions you may have or share your own tips.
My tickets are in my hand.
Gosh, isn’t the feelin’ grand.
Good gracious, they’ve sent a band!
Gettin’ out of town.