I just wanted to write a quick post on here as I haven't been here in ages, and I've had a metric shitload of emails from people (some on here, some just enquiries from the website) which I've pretty much had to read and hope I'd find a time to reply to - which I haven't!
The last 6 or so months for me have been stupidly busy work-wise, I spent probably 5 nights at home between the middle of November and Christmas Eve when I flew out of the UK to the USA to go on tour with a theatre show.
As some of you know - my 'real' job is in the entertainment industry, I'm a Lighting Designer/Tech/ AV tech etc for events and shows. My current role is the Head Lighting Tech on an USA National Tour of 'An American In Paris' which we started tech rehearsals in Washington State on the 2nd January, after I'd been to South Carolina just after Xmas to de-rig and get an LED video screen packaged up to be shipped to the tour. The tour opened in Yakima, Washington on 11th January, and was supposed to be touring all the way through until the 7th June - where most of the shows are all 'one nighters' Ie we do one show in a venue in a day, and then move somewhere else - instead of like a lot of shows where you'll be in one venue for a week!
From memory we are due to hit about 85 ish venues in 30 odd states, and do 130 odd performances. Our schedule has a load of travel days where we as crew are travelling overnight on a tour bus, and then in a location for most of the day, before leaving again in the middle of the night for the next venue. We also had 2 full days off scheduled in the whole tour!
Our show tours in 3 x 53ft trucks, one of which is JUST lighting/video equipment, the other 2 have audio, costumes, scenery, props etc in them. My day generally starts just before 8am walking into a new venue and figuring out where we are putting everything that day, where our mains power comes from, where we have to run it to, how we are running cables to keep them out of the way of doorways, loading access, cast access etc.
At 8am, I'm in charge of unloading our truck, with local crew who are varying levels of usefulness in each city. By 0830, the truck is usually unloaded, I've had my morning workout in the process and we then get to hanging all the lighting. Some of it is on a pre-rigged trussing system which we hang with electric chain hoists - other parts of the lighting package hang on battens in the theatre.
We generally are finished with our load in by 15:30/16:00 and have a couple of hours to go out and get coffee/food, before being back for a show call to run the lighting for the show. The show itself usually starts around 19:30, and runs for just over 2 1/2 hours, including a 20 minute intermission. We're usually finished the show just after 10pm, and then we start loading it back out, and then once everything is packed away and flightcased, we load the truck about midnight. We now finish our load out around 00:30, have a shower in the venue, and then get on our tour bus and go to bed (there are 12 crew travelling on the bus, and we have a bunk to sleep in and a couple of lounge style seating areas). We generally leave a venue about 01:30 once everyone has showered and on the bus. Maybe we'll have a drink, or a bit of food, and then head to bed, with the alarm set of 07:30 to get up and do it all again!
A couple of weeks ago now we had 7 shows in 7 venues, in 7 days.... one of them was a matinee show, where our normal 8am load in is earlier at 6am!! I worked over 90 hours, so then when we had a travel day, I spent most of it in bed asleep! We've been through the midwest, where some days it was around -21C when we were unloading the truck OUTSIDE!!! And then reloading it outside in the same kind of temperatures at midnight!
Every day is different - venue, crew, how much of the show goes in depending on venue size/layout/access... we had one place where we had to unload the 3 trucks on the street and everything went up on an elevator on the outside of the venue to get it inside... and it started snowing on the loadout, whilst we were trying to load the trucks on the road!
This is my 'normal' kind of lifestyle, and P38's are my hobby, which I do love working on - but unfortunately it's all had to take a backseat due to this tour and schedule. Likewise, emails that I've had, I've tried to read and then failed at responding to - because of time, or where I have had time off, I've been sleeping, or trying to get out and about and see some of where I've been etc. So my apologies to everyone who has been in touch, and I haven't gotten around to replying to - and the fact I've not been on here either!
Why am I writing this now?? Well, I have a bit of time off... due to the coronavirus outbreaks, we were told a couple of nights ago that some venues were cancelling or rescheduling, and we now had a week layoff at the start of April (which would have been a welcome break by that point!!). The next day (Friday 13th incidentally!) we got a message to say that as of the 14th we were all being laid off for 5 weeks until the 21st April. We were in Florida at the time, and everyone has been disbanded back home. Well, ish... I'm currently sitting in New York, waiting to find out if I'm flying home on Friday, or being put up somewhere out here to hole up and wait out the layoff. Part of me wants to get home, so I can then have some time to myself to reset, and hopefully catch up on a load of p38 jobs for myself and other people. Part of me worries that if I do that, then I'll struggle to get back out here with the travel ban to the US from the UK/Europe - if that's still in effect when the tour is due to restart.. so hence I'm in a bit of limbo waiting to see what's going on.
At least it's given me the time to start replying to some emails, and get on the forum again a little bit. Hopefully I'll be able to spend a bit more time on here and get the rest of my emails caught up on over the next few days!
Thanks for your patience if you have emailed, and I apologise in advance for when the tour starts again, and I have to get back into the routine of lots of work, little sleep, and zero spare time!!