Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Green Room: Do you have a show-day routine?

Do routines matter? Some members of our panel like to stick to a fixed schedule before a show, others find it depends on the production. Photo: Shutterstock

Meet our panel: We have given our panellists pen-names and used stock images but their biographies reflect their real career details…


Albert Parker is 60 and has appeared as a regular in soaps, two BAFTA award winning sitcoms, theatre and TV

Vivian Lee is 38 and has played leading roles at the National, the RSC and the Royal Court, alongside regular TV appearances

Adam Lovett, 45, has appeared in Oscar-winning films, on TV and in theatre at the RSC, National Theatre, and the West End

Gary Abblett is a 38-year-old jobbing actor with experience at the National, RSC, in the West End and on the road

Annie Walker is 25. Since graduating from drama school, she has worked predominantly in regional theatres and is also a writer and street performer

Ros Clifford is 30. Currently a deputy stage manager, she has worked extensively in London and regional theatre for nine years

Josie Woo is in her 30s. She has been acting since she was a teenager and has since worked extensively in theatre


Adam I once got into a great routine of eating an omelette in the morning, and a Pret salad and a box of sashimi from the Japan Centre in the West End in the evening. Every day. For about four months. Lord alone knows why I fell into the routine but it was incredibly comforting and I lost loads of weight. The next show I did, I tried to recreate this and failed miserably. I ate like a horse and had to have my trousers let out during the run. The shame.

Ros It totally depends on the show. Usually it’s get in (early), have a natter, reset, have another natter, eat, run, fight, call/sit in on soundchecks and that kind of thing, call the half, do the show, go to the pub. Although that’s not accounting for last-minute understudy rehearsals, technical glitches – all the things that can disrupt the routine for a stage manager, especially in production week.

Jon I’m guessing that most routines are disrupted in production week?

Josie That depends on the show and director. I have worked on a fair share of shows in which we rehearse and restage right up to the hour.

Gary I don’t have any kind of show-day routine I’m aware of. I’ll usually have a cup of tea and go to the bog during the half, but that’s about it.

Annie Always a physical and vocal warm-up before/during the half, it depends on the show. There’s always a morning coffee. And usually a post-show pint.

Josie Yes, I like a good warm-up. I hate rushing in and feeling flustered before going on stage.

Annie I usually have a catch-up with front of house while I’m walking the space.

Jon Are we early or late arrivers? I used to be the kind of person who would dash in as the half was being called when I was younger but now I get twitchy at about 4pm.

Vivian Housemates and friends have told me I start getting ‘odd’ from about 4pm and they don’t get much sense from me. That’s assuming they ever do.

Adam I like to think I’m super disciplined and dedicated but I always mess this one up by trying to do too much during the day and arriving at the show knackered. In general, the less I do during the day, the better I am in the evening. But you’ve got to live your life, haven’t you?

Albert I do find the show is in my mind from the moment I wake up. But my favourite sort of show day is when I’m doing another job in the daytime such as filming – and then I get to the theatre, have no time to think and just get on with it.

Josie I always arrive too early, rather than late.

Annie If I have wigs or a lot of fighting to do or something I’ll get there a bit earlier, and usually have a meal prepped. I hate being late.

Albert I can never eat after about 5pm, which is good as normally I eat dinner late – so it does help keep the weight down.

Vivian I always try to eat early enough but not too early. And I often bribe myself to go home early by telling myself I can have that kebab/toast/dessert when I get home. Gets me out of the pub and ensures a somewhat early night.

Gary If I like the show, I come in early. If it’s a bit stinky, bang on the half.

Annie Yes, if I want to hang out with the cast and team then I’ll get there a bit earlier.

Gary Exactly. It’s more about that – the experience – than the show.

Josie Agreed. The happiest shows have been the ones I’ll happily get there early and have a natter beforehand.

Adam I do love the effortless social life that being in a show gives you. Arriving at the theatre early, popping into dressing rooms, having a chinwag. I end up taking it for granted; when the show finishes, I always spend a few weeks bereft at home.

Albert I like to get to the theatre with enough chance to chat to my fellow cast members and not meet them on stage for the first time.

Jon During the show itself, would you rather have long scenes with long breaks, or be busy throughout?

Annie I really don’t mind too much. I had a great team on a busy costume/fighting/puppet-heavy show and we had a lot of fun backstage. But I believe it’s all about the audience and the story, so being out there telling it is just brilliant.

Jon I have said on many occasions that my last remaining ambition as an actor is to end a show in the same costume I started it in.

Josie If it’s a good show, I love just being out there and doing it. But, equally, if there’s fun to be had backstage…

Gary I like to keep busy during a show. But, again, if it’s a good craic, long breaks can be great.

Annie That’s true – unless you’re in a corset, dress and wig that make you weigh and look like Hagrid during the summer season.

Jon Gary’s always in a corset, dress and wig whether he’s on stage or not.

Annie I had a feeling he might be…

Gary Everyone has a niche. I found mine.

Annie It’s a people business and it’s the people on and off stage that make it. And a pint afterwards… did I mention that already?

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.