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Words by Eva Devore, Photography by Mia Maraschino

Welcome back to Cherry Poppers, our handy how-to guide for new performers who are taking the leap to their first solo performance! A little while ago we posted Cherry Poppers Part One, with a guide to applying to perform at shows. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read it here!
So your application is in, and very excitingly, you’ve been accepted! Hooray! It’s now the crucial countdown until the show, and the best thing you can be is prepared. There are lots of things to think about heading into the performance, from your technical specifications to keep your show running smoothly, to the costume and make up you will wear on the night. We’ve combined all the most important things to think about in this week’s blog, so take a peek and make sure you’re perfectly prepared for your performance!

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Once you’ve been accepted as part of the show, there are various things that the producers may need from you. This can include photographs and details for promotional purposes, stage and lighting specifications for your performance, and the music you will be using. Often, producers will set deadlines that these must all be in by, and it’s crucial that you get the required information in by those times!

Many producers will include dates and deadlines for the important information required within your acceptance email. They may also have a private Facebook group or message chain for performers in the event, to stay up to date with announcements to do with the show. Make sure to read all communication from the producers thoroughly, and to add any important dates into your diary!

If you have any questions, this is also a great time to ask the producers, so that if you need to make any changes, there is plenty of time to do so! Great questions to ask, if the information hasn’t already been supplied, include;
- What are the dimensions of the stage/performance space?
- What are the details for any rigging/apparatus to be used?
- Will there be tech rehearsals on the day, and if so, what time will they commence?
- Are there any promotional tasks you need to do for the show?
- Will there be photography at the event, and if not, is personal photography permitted?

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Once you’ve been accepted into a show, it’s time to get down to business preparing your act. If this is a new act, you may need to organise costumes and props before the show! Time management is really important here, as you don’t want to be left with nothing to wear on the day of your performance.
If you need to purchase your costume, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to order, receive and potentially return your purchase. When buying costume pieces, especially if shopping online, make sure you have enough time to receive the pieces you need. Check shipping times to your country, and then add at least one extra week to the estimated time. There’s nothing sadder than knowing your gorgeous costume or prop is stuck in transit and won’t reach you before the show!

If you have decided to create your own costume or prop pieces for your show, set yourself deadlines to ensure everything is done on time. Costume pieces and props should be well-rehearsed with before your performance, so setting yourself a deadline to have them finished well before your show will really help you to feel confident and ready! Aiming for about one month before your performance is a good idea for any integral pieces, ie, a costume you will be removing for a burlesque routine, and at least two weeks for props/pieces that are not as essential or can be substituted.

If you have decided to commission your pieces from another maker, ensure that you communicate the deadlines you need and give them enough time to get the job done! It’s not fair to ask for a piece with only a week until your show, and the maker will be able to do a better job for you if they have the appropriate time to do it in.

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If you’re bringing a performance to the stage, practicing is paramount. A well-rehearsed act will benefit you in so many ways, from helping to ease stage-fright and calm your nerves, to ensuring you can give the best performance you possibly can.
Establishing a rehearsal schedule will allow you to dedicate regular time to your act. Pick a time that you can consistently practice, and commit to that time being your rehearsal time. It might be a particular day that you can spend a couple of hours at the studio, or perhaps you’ll dedicate an hour each evening to work on your act. Whatever you choose, make sure to stick to it and keep yourself accountable!

When rehearsing, think about your act critically. When you’ve got the shape of your routine, you can start to really put the work in to refine, polish and perfect your performance! Look out for perfect lines, pretty hands and pointed toes, and make sure to pay attention to your facial expressions. What sort of emotions are you conveying in your performance? These sorts of polishing factors can really help to elevate your act to something special.

It can be helpful to film your rehearsals, so that you can watch back and make notes of what you like, and what you need to work on. That way, when you next practice, you know exactly what to focus on! You can also bring in a trusted friend or training buddy to give you honest feedback on your performance, or even book a private lesson with an instructor to get their professional feedback and polishing assistance!

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You’ve worked your butt off and you have an amazing new act - now you need people to show it to! Promoting yourself and the show will help to encourage a great audience turnout, which benefits both you as the performer, and the show as a whole. Nobody likes to perform to an empty room, as this makes it so much harder to feed off the energy of the audience.

Posting about the show on your social media is a great way to encourage friends and followers to come along. Some shows may offer a discount code, or give you special images to share on your social streams. Other productions may be able to give you posters or fliers to put in local businesses and public spaces, or to give to friends. You could also post sneak peaks of your costume, snippets of rehearsals, anything that will make your peers excited to come along to see the show.

Promoting the show not only means that the audience will be bigger (and filled with friendly faces to cheer you on) but also means that the production or venue will be more likely to invite you back in the future. Producers are always looking for acts that can draw a crowd, so if you can pack out the place with paying audience members, your chances of coming back increase! So much of the entertainment industry relies on word-of-mouth, so if you develop a reputation for bringing in large crowds to see you perform, you may find that many more performance opportunities will come your way.