The Green Room: Have you ever toured overseas?
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 58 and has appeared as a regular in soaps, two BAFTA award winning sitcoms, theatre and TV
Dale McKenna, 25, trained at Laine Theatre Arts, has performed in West End musicals and is currently touring the UK
Molly Muffet is 37. After graduating university Molly joined the cast of a major BBC sitcom, since then she has worked extensively on stage
Beryl Phoenix is in her 40s. She has played leading roles at the RSC, worked on new plays, and toured national and internationally
Jenny Talbot is 39 and has nearly 20 years of experience in West End and touring musical theatre
Jenny Yes – to the US. Make sure you get financial advice, otherwise all your money will go on tax.
Dale Enjoy not having to sort your own digs.
Molly I’ve toured abroad. Remember that the US and Canada withhold tax, which you can claim back, but it’s complicated.
Beryl If you’re flying a lot, don’t drink too much booze on the flights, drink loads of water. Take the malaria tablets – they won’t stop you getting malaria but they will make it treatable if you get it.
Jenny Enjoy the job and work hard, but use the opportunity to see the country.
Molly Try to live on your cash per diems, then you get a nice amount to come home to in your bank account.
Jenny I liked them taking my tax at source as I didn’t have the opportunity to spend it (bad habit) but I couldn’t claim much back as I was there for so long. I should have set up a company, but no one told me.
Molly If you can drive, take your licence – nice to hire a car and explore on days off.
Jenny I went to lots of museums and saw lots of films.
Beryl See as much as you can, but make sure you rest loads too.
Albert My first ever job was a Shakespeare tour of Europe. Eight weeks and a huge learning curve. Plus lots of botanical gardens for illicit encounters.
Beryl Respect the local culture, be nice and represent.
Albert Most of the time you’re so tired that on days off you just want to rest in the hotel. On that tour, we slept in most days because we’d been out the night before. We were performing in large European towns for two or three nights at a time. The camaraderie was fantastic.
Jenny It’s a lovely job if you’re with the right people. Really special. Everyone should tour at least once in their career.
Albert In those days, you got a better room if you shared, but being asked to share a room by the leading married actor who had designs on your chastity was a little embarrassing.
Thomas Other than tax, are there any challenges of international touring you’d warn actors about before they tour?
Albert I suppose it’s easier these days with the internet, but I remember being away for eight weeks in the late 1970s caused problems with paying bills at home.
Dale International touring is even more of a bubble than a UK tour.
Molly You’re entirely thrown on each other’s resources. Don’t make bad relationship choices – there’s nowhere to escape.
Jenny Check the per diems are fair. I’ve heard some tours are a bit stingy, when outside Equity’s jurisdiction.
Beryl If you are vegetarian and are going to Malaysia, China or Japan, take a jar of Marmite. Once, in Kuala Lumpur, I lived on Marmite sandwiches – packed lunches I made from the bread at the breakfast buffet – because even the plain boiled rice had fish sauce in it.
Molly Invest in a local mobile phone if you’re in the country for more than a week or two.
Albert Our per diems were supposed to be £12 a day, but we were asked to vary it in accordance with countries’ exchange rates. Funnily enough, it only went above £12 a day once in Switzerland, but in several countries it went down to about £4 or £5 a day.
Jenny If you’re away from your partner, always have your next visit scheduled. It makes homesickness much easier to cope with.
Thomas Have you noticed a difference with audiences when working outside the UK?
Molly We found that US audiences were more enthusiastic – Australian audiences too.
Thomas Would you tour internationally again?
Molly If it fitted with school holidays, yes.
Dale I’d love to do one.
Jenny Not now – children tend to keep you in one place. I’d go for an international job in one place but not long term.
Molly I turned one down last year because of family – it would have been six weeks in New York. It’s a shame we can’t take kids out of school any more.
Jenny I just turned down a tour. The money was not enough to leave home for – with or without a family. I wouldn’t have done it.
Molly When I toured to Canada 10 years ago, we had a lot of the actors’ kids with us. They had a great experience.
Jenny The worm is turning, Molly. Hopefully we’ll be able to take them on tour with us again soon – it can be so edu
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