It’s a thrill getting the phone call from your agent or manager saying the words you’ve been waiting to hear: “Pack your bags. You’re going on tour.” You let your school know you’ll be absent for 6-12 months and you bid goodbye to your friends and family as you embark on the dream of a lifetime.
During those next magical months, you learn to adjust to a new schedule. You attend school with your fellow actors in a small room for three hours a day. You work long hours rehearsing and performing. You travel to new locations, stay in hotel rooms with room service, and don’t have to make your bed or take out the trash. You enjoy the thrill of opening nights and applause after every performance while making new friends. It’s terrific.
And then, it’s over. When a tour ends, you can experience an emotional and physical letdown. This letdown is natural and to be expected.
All of a sudden, you return to living at home with your siblings, doing chores, and attending regular school with your old friends. Life back home can be a little dull after the intensity of a tour. You may want to start auditioning again or decide you’re going to take a break. It’s a significant change. But don’t worry. There are steps you can take to make the transition back to “normal” life as easy as possible.
1. Make space for downtime.
Traveling for such a long time can be exhausting. You may want to find some downtime to reconnect with friends, read, catch up on TV shows and movies, and dream of your next adventure.
2. Appreciate all you did.
Being a kid and working is hard! Celebrate your hard work and accomplishments. You’ve learned discipline, how to work under pressure, how to deal with conflicting personalities, and how to watch other great actors act. Revisit photos and reminisce about the fun times and even the frustrating ones and how you overcame them. You might want to create a scrapbook, slideshow, or video highlight reel of the moments you don’t want to forget.
3. Find new hobbies.
You’ve been singing, acting, dancing, and rehearsing long hours. Perhaps it’s time to take up something new and unrelated to show business like a sport or photography. Summer is around the corner. You might attend a camp offering other activities to pique your curiosity like cooking, yoga, creative writing, or tennis.
4. Consider other acting opportunities.
If you’ve aged out of the theater for a while, explore making the transition to film or television. Talk with your coach, manager, and parents about what opportunities exist and ways you can adjust your skills to on-camera work.
5. Know the sad feelings will pass.
All of us have letdowns after an exhilarating experience. Sit with your feelings, experience them, and then let them go knowing in time you’ll be on to your next project creating wonderful new memories.
6. Have a reunion with cast and crew.
Plan a get together with fellow cast mates. You may not be able to replace the memories you made, but together, you can relish in the amazing highs and lows and the special bond you created with your peers.
7. Reach out for support.
If you find yourself struggling with getting back to your routine, having trouble eating or sleeping, withdrawing from friends, or are not motivated to audition and study, you may want to reach out for support. Young performers under the age of 18 in New York City or Los Angeles may be eligible for the Actors Fund Looking Ahead Program, which offers free services like individual, family, and group counseling, informational seminars, group activities for young performers, and more. Eligibility differs in each city. You may need to have membership in an entertainment union, professional representation, or be able to show two years of professional industry income.
At first, it may seem like all the fun is over after a tour, but by taking these steps you can find your footing and move forward in no time.