If you’re involved in local am dram as a hobby (whether that’s backstage or as part of the cast), or study performing arts as part of an educational course, you’ll know that when it comes to show-week you have to be prepared to leave your normal life behind for the duration.

When months of rehearsals lead to just one week of performing the show you’ve been preparing for, things can get frantic, and stress and exhaustion can often lead to heightened, mostly unreasonable levels of emotion for the cast and crew involved.

Whether you’re trying to hide the fact you’re laughing hysterically during a particularly dramatic scene or sobbing backstage because your costume ripped and revealed a bit too much during a high-energy dance number, there are many aspects of show week that we all dread. So, what are the other things that leave us wondering, show after show, why we put ourselves through it all?

The dreaded tech/dress rehearsal

For many local amateur dramatics societies, putting on a production is a huge expense, and the cost of hiring a local venue often means that the crew and cast can’t actually access the stage space until the weekend before the show.

This means that weekend basically becomes one none-stop rehearsal. If your show starts on the Monday, Sunday will often consist of an early start and a very late finish after a full day rehearsing, plotting stage lighting, and running any super quick costume changes. Stress levels are usually at an all-time high, and it isn’t unusual for the stage manager and director to have a shouting match across the stage for all to witness!

Bruises. Everywhere

Backstage areas can be tight at the best of times, but when filled with set pieces, props and lots of cast and crew, things can get dangerous!

As we’ve already pointed out, no one’s ever calm during show week, and this manifests itself particularly well when it comes to people getting around backstage. If you’re stood backstage, expect to get ‘accidently’ pushed into walls, walk into corners of the set or trip over stage lights and ropes. Remember, what happens backstage stays backstage.


By the end of the week, you’re so emotionally and physically exhausted that curling up in the nice, soft stage curtains and missing the second act of the Saturday Matinee seems seriously tempting.

All of the adrenaline rushes of the past few days start to catch up with you, and once the final Saturday evening performance is over you’re ready to crawl into bed and sleep for a month.

Despite all of this though, you wouldn’t swap your hobby for anything. Nothing compares to the feeling of taking your bows and hearing the audience’s cheers and applause after months of hard work pays off.

From the camaraderie of the cast during rehearsals to the friends you make and the amazing feeling of performing a great musical score or acting out beautifully-written lines, once you’ve been bitten by the performing bug there’s definitely no going back!

Got any backstage anecdotes or bugbears of your own to share? Join in the chat over on Twitter or Facebook!

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