38 Insights I Learned Touring with NTC

NTC OfficesIn September 2011 I left on my first tour with the National Theater for Children. At the time I was writing a blog post about all the things I was learning on the road. For some reason I never got around to publishing it.

Late’s better than never, right?

Special shoutout to rockstar tour partners John Potter and Tony Milder for their support, patience, understanding, trust, and love. Additionally, much love and respect to Rebecca and Andy for the adventures we shared collectively!

Here’s what I learned on the road for future NTC touring actors.

  1. Pace yourself.
  2. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/10037379996/tour-destinations-88-schools-135-performances

  3. Kids are everywhere, Behave.
  4. Compliments come in many forms.
  5. But remember: Haters Gotta Hate.
  6. …So Review your script.
  7. Stay loose.
  8. Elementary school bathrooms are disasters. Pee-pare to be disgusted.
  9. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/9479000647/do-you-have-problems-with-odor-then-consider-this

  10. You’ll usually park next to a dumpster leaking spoiled milk.
  11. You’ll fight with your tour partner.
  12. Take risks.
  13. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/18190714361/remember-to-play-hard-leads-to-great-stories

  14. Buy postcards. Then send ’em.
  15. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/16534800962/oh-the-places-youll-go

  16. Stay active.
  17. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/16978316312/no-membership-fee-or-hidden-costs

  18. Stay hydrated.
  19. Sightsee.
  20. IMG_4193-001

  21. Earn & thank the fans.
  22. Learn something new everyday.
  23. Get your hotel lined-up early.
  24. Everything is negotiable.
  25. Tour under-budget & negotiate a higher contract next time.
  26. Bring business cards. If a staff member at the school is taking pictures easily request a copy & you could even get yourself a new agent…
  27. IMG_0989_NTC

  28. Meet up with other tours.
  29. IMG_0374_NTC_Rebecca_Andy


  30. Bring your own supplies.
  31. Share duties.
  32. Know car basics.
  33. 405413958

  34. Take lots of pictures.
  35. Be yourself.
  36. Support your tour partner.
  37. Eat healthy.
  38. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/19204913091/the-most-difficult-decision-of-my-day-taken-with

  39. Discover local gems…
  40. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/10777123112/seriously-the-best-in-town-im-on-my-way

  41. …including the locals!
  42. IMG_9781_Friends_NTC

  43. Try new things…
  44. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/12100425241/perhaps-youve-been-doing-it-wrong

  45. …including: dating the locals!
  46. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/18518207094/an-example-of-my-past-relationships-taken-with

  47. Patience: learn & practice.
  48. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/18191572825/quiz-if-the-wait-at-starbucks-is-9-minutes-and

  49. Costumes need to be washed more often than you think.
  50. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/11841964446/washland-taken-with-instagram

  51. Love the clothes you bring.
  52. My favorite sweater is a hand-me-down from my old man.
    My favorite sweater is a hand-me-down from my old man.

  53. Stay in touch with loved ones.
  54. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/19128121022/cheers-to-friends-family-both-here-hereafter

  55. Be grateful.





  57. Rejoice! You’re living the dream!
  58. http://michaelvenske.tumblr.com/post/16925504288/hi-from-gumby-2-ntcactorsontour-taken-with

What have you learned while touring? Please leave a comment!

An Open Letter to 2011


Dear 2011,


Did you really need to share so much disappointment, frustration, sadness, shame, loneliness, and embarrassment this year? At least you kept things real and raw.

Congrats on making all the other months seem less terrible by making just this one month — July — so much worse than the rest!

Tom Poole’s accident and subsequent death remains to be the low point, 2011. I miss him. We all do. There’s no way to get around it and not much more to say. Let that be the mark of a life well-lived.

Another relationship that ended unexpectedly in July was the one I was in with my girlfriend, Sarah.

But you weren’t done yet. July just kept getting better…

Like when my home went into foreclosure. Well-played, 2011!

Oh, and special thanks goes out to Wells Fargo. I couldn’t have gone into foreclose without you!

Thanks for taking 7+ months to review the necessary loan documentation to qualify me for the Making Home Affordable program in an attempt to save my home. Thanks for misplacing the files I sent in November 2010 and then waiting until the files were all expired in February 2011 to contact me. Your expeditious handling of my account really helped fuck me. Well done.

However, there are the five things that got me through such a shit year.

  • The love and support of family and friends
  • A new bike that took me over 1,300 miles
  • Getting over my fear of the Unified Theatre Auditions and auditioning!
  • Teaching at Young Actors Theater Company,Harmony Theatre Co. & School, and Public Art St. Paul
  • Touring with the National Theatre for Children

Thank you for the difficult road 99% of us have been traveling on, because this year has certainly made us stronger.

Here’s to never reliving you again.