A Day in the Life of an NTC Actor

As members of NTC’s Professional Educators Network, you’ve likely seen at least one of our shows and met our performers. But have you ever wondered what the day-to-day touring life looks like for NTC actors? This post aims to shed a light on their daily routine.

NTC actors start their day bright and early. At some time around 6 AM an alarm rings, and all around the United States our troupes are waking up, getting ready and eating a continental breakfast before hitting the road. Before long the actors arrive at their first school of the day. They meet with their contact at the school and go over the schedule and location of the performances. The actors then load in, and assemble their set and arrange their props and costumes in the space set aside for the assembly. Amazingly, this process only takes about 15-20 minutes!

The students enter the performing space and the actors welcome the audience, establish the ground rules and launch into an entertaining, educational 30-minute program. After one, two or three successful morning shows our actors take a short break for a well-earned, delicious lunch right around noon. Sometimes there’s a bit of extra time between shows and our actors are able to check out a nearby park or take a nap in the car (also well-earned). Then it’s off to school #2 for the day, usually around 1 PM.

The Energy Agents - middle school

After performing at their second school in much the same fashion as the first, the actors head back to their hotel, where they’ll plan out the next day’s route and unwind with a good book or some Law and Order reruns. They often celebrate a successful day by grabbing dinner at a local dining establishment. Then it’s back to the hotel for some much-needed rest before the next full day of NTC performances.

We talk a lot about resources in our shows: energy, water, money and others. But perhaps the most important resource to our actors is time. By the end of an eight-week tour, our actors are experts in the field of time management, as that’s what it takes to make sure they have time to perform, eat well and relax.

Our actors have a motto: be flexible and solve problems. Having a daily plan allows us the structure to adjust when unexpected variables pop up day to day. It’s that budgeting of time and being prepared that allows our tours to operate smoothly.

Encourage your students to try and budget the time during their day. What time do they wake up, and what time do they need to be outside for the bus? How much time does that give them for breakfast? What time do they get home from school, and what time do they go to bed? How much time does that give them to get their homework done, eat dinner and do something for fun?