Talking about fitness in the performing arts, we instantly visualize the workouts of dancers and acrobats, muscular bodies, and six-packs. But being in good physical shape is crucial for anyone working behind the scenes!
Every stage production is physically demanding for the team involved. Whether it be a theatre or a convention hall, a cruise ship, or an arts festival, every department has its particular movements that put a strain on their bodies. Some of us might be rolling flight cases or taping down cables; others carry costumes or heavy props. Some walk around for miles during rehearsals, while others sit in one rigid position. This stress is often connected to little or bad food, lack of sleep, and extensive traveling on buses and airplanes.
keep your focus!
Physical fatigue takes away valuable energy that we need for working at our personal best. When our body is challenged, it affects our general attendance: Exhaustion reduces our focus, and we start to avoid any additional strains. The more tired we are, the rather we channel our energy to essential tasks only, instead of being open to our surroundings. Flexible communication, as well as creative exchanges, drop.
the ultimate tool
By reducing our attention, we lose the most important asset for working behind the curtain: teamwork and cooperation. When we are busy looking after ourselves, the quality of the overall production suffers.
pushups, yoga or long walks?
Being resistant to physical, work-related stress, therefore, is a fundamental requirement for all jobs in the performing arts – from technicians to the make-up department, from a prop master to the stage manager, and from the director to the wardrobe assistants. Everyone needs to find their personal way of being fit. And “in shape” doesn’t necessarily mean having a six-pack or doing yoga every morning. It means being resistant to physical stress, having a robust immune system, and keeping a fresh mind through long nights, exhausting load-outs, and walking marathons backstage.
In my book “Collaborating Backstage” you can find my favorite Tricks to stay fit on the road, reduce jetlag, and keeping your energy levels high during lengthy productions. Let me know which techniques work best for you and what you do to stay positive and focused!