A Day in the Life of a Circus Performance Director

A Day in the Life of a Circus Performance Director

A Day in the Life of a Circus Performance Director | brokeGIRLrich

Now that I’m actually a little settled into my job and no longer running around like a chicken with my head cut off (most days), here’s a look at what my three most common types of days look like.

And if you’re wondering about the type of skills that led me to this jobs – it’s an awful lot of stage management, a little bit of production management and PR/event coordinating. I also get more of a voice than I’ve ever had in the creative development of the shows, which is pretty cool.

The specific jobs that have prepared me really well for this job include my stint out on cruise ships. I learned how to handle a large department there, oversee lots of different departments and work with groups outside of just a typical entertainment structure, and how to work with different cultures. Clearly Ringling Brothers taught me a lot about circus and overseeing PR. Finally, The Midnight Frolic I worked on over the summer in 2015 taught me a lot of skills about how to just jump in and help other departments when you really care about a show and want it to succeed, which I’ve tapped into more times than I expected during this job so far. Also learning how to battle through sheer exhaustion from a bus and truck tour helped numerous times too.

The Glorious, Elusive One Show Day with No PR

8:00 AM: Wake up. Turn on radio. Make coffee and breakfast. Check emails peacefully in my pajamas.

8:30 AM: Work on brokeGIRLrich. Read blogs.

9:30 AM: Start getting dressed.

10:00 AM(ish): Stop by cookhouse for a cup of tea.

Tech Week

Sometimes tech week made me feel like this.

10:05 AM(ish): Go to office. I make two post-it notes daily. Things that absolutely have to get done for the show to happen. Things I’d like to get done. Work on those post-it note items.

12:30 PM: Lunch. Leisurely lunch. Usually I wander out in NYC lately and see what there is and peruse a Christmas bazaar while eating empanadas and drinking hot chocolate lunch.

2:00 PM(ish): Return to lot. Probably some sort of meeting.

3:00 PM: Back to the post-it note projects. Work on the schedule for the following week. Follow up on PR requests. Organize PR requests. Once, when I was really sick, I took a nap during this time and it was pretty phenomenal.

5:00 PM: Update callboard with information for the evening show.

5:30 PM: Maybe eat dinner.

6:15 PM: Check the house (after Ring Crew Chief calls ring is set).

6:30 PM: Open house.

7:00 PM: Showtime

9:00 PM: Post show activities. Sometimes overseeing the Meet & Greet (my Company Manager usually does it, but when we have VIPs he gives tours then).

9:30 PM: Write show report. Check emails one more time. Go home.

10:00 PM: Back into PJs. Watch TV or read. Go to sleep.

The Far More Common Two Show Day with PR in the Middle

8:00 AM: Wake up. Turn on radio. Make coffee and breakfast. Check emails peacefully in my pajamas.

8:30 AM: Start getting dressed.

9:45 AM: Update callboard for the day. Check the house (after Ring Crew Chief calls ring is set).

10:00 AM: Open house. Loiter around Concessions for an hour waiting for schools to be seated.

11:10 AM: Showtime. Maybe 11:15 AM. Schools do not show up on time.

12:30 PM: Afternoon TV crew inevitable shows up super early, while we’re still running the first show. Radio Company Manager to go get them and put them somewhere out of the way.

1:15 PM: Show ends. Go meet TV crew who are chomping at the bit to get in the tent, even though I wrote 1:30 PM as their arrival time in all our correspondence.

1:45 PM: Set up grinds to a halt because TV crew has forgotten a battery pack/lens/power cord and had to run back to TV station to get it.

2:00 PM: Performers show up, but we’re running behind. Everyone gets crabby.

2:15 PM: Cameraman returns. Readjusts camera angle 14000 times.

2:25 PM: Finally start filming. Try to cram all the segments they wanted in despite having 30 minutes less to film.

5:00 PM: Remind them that we HAVE to wrap up by 5:30 PM because the ring crew need to come in to set for the next show.

5:28 PM: Cut the television crew off as ring crew glare at me from where they’re all huddled together in the seats. Waiting. Guys, there’s still 2 minutes to 5:30.

5:30 PM: Performers and anchorman leave. Wait for camera guys to pack up all their equipment. This takes forever. There goes dinner.

6:10 PM: Walk out cameramen.

6:15 PM: Check the house (after Ring Crew Chief calls ring is set).

6:30 PM: Open house.

7:00 PM: Showtime

PR

PR isn’t usually my favorite, but at least walking in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was kind of cool.

9:00 PM: Post show activities. Sometimes overseeing the Meet & Greet (my Company Manager usually does it, but when we have VIPs he gives tours then).

9:30 PM: Write show report. Check all the emails I didn’t check all day while working. Order Seamless.

11:00 PM (hopefully): Back into PJs. Watch TV. Go to sleep.

If this were a really rough day, it would also have begun with early morning PR.

Then the day would’ve looked like this:

4:20 AM: Wake up. Bundle up.

4:30 AM: Wait for camera crew by security booth. Bring them inside the tent when they get here.

5:15 AM: Anchorperson arrives. First performer arrives in tent.

5:30 AM: TV hits for three hours.

9:00 AM: Pack up camera crew. Walk them out.

9:15 AM: Run to Starbucks for coffee.

9:45 AM: Schedule picks up like a normal day.

Three Show Days

8:00 AM: Wake up. Turn on radio. Make coffee and breakfast. Check emails peacefully in my pajamas.

8:30 AM: Work on brokeGIRLrich. Read blogs.

9:30 AM: Start getting dressed.

10:15 AM: Update callboard for the day. Check the house (after Ring Crew Chief calls ring is set).

10:30 AM: Open house.

11:00 AM: Showtime.

1:00 PM: Post show activities. Sometimes overseeing the Meet & Greet (my Company Manager usually does it, but when we have VIPs he gives tours then).

1:30 PM: Write show report. Check emails.

1:45 PM(ish): Eat lunch.

2:15 PM: Check the house (after Ring Crew Chief calls ring is set).

2:30 PM: Open house.

3:00 PM: Showtime.

5:00 PM: Post show activities.

5:30 PM: Write show report. Check the emails.

5:45 PM(ish): Eat dinner.

6:15 PM: Check the house (after Ring Crew Chief calls ring is set).

6:30 PM: Open house.

7:00 PM: Showtime

9:00 PM: Post show activities.

9:30 PM: Write show report. Check emails one more time. Go home.

10:00 PM: Back into PJs. Watch TV. Go to sleep.

 

If you’re interested in what some of my other days looked like, check out those posts here:

 

 

 

 

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