Ultimate Guide to Show Day Prep

Our tips for show day prep are suitable for actors, musicians and public speakers. If you do your research you’ve probably read numerous articles about looking after yourself as a performer, but there isn’t as much information around what you should do on the day itself. We can’t learn your lines for you or memorise the words, but we can hook you up with the Ultimate Guide to Show Day Prep.

Days, Weeks & Months Before Show Day

It’s worth going over a few important points about what to do before the big day. It’s a cliche you’ve heard a thousand times or more, but practice really does make perfect. Leaving everything to the last minute and trying to cram in hours of clammy handed heart-racing practice on show day is not likely to end well.

You know when the performance is happening so pace yourself; if you think of rehearsing like athletics, you don’t want to run a sprint when you should be running a marathon. Rather than going full steam ahead in week one and burning yourself out practice in manageable time slots up until show day.


The Night Before

Did you know that consuming carbs the night before a performance gives you energy? Try your best to get a good night’s sleep. You can read more about this in our Top 10 Tips For a Good Night’s Sleep article.


Show Day! *Jazz Hands*

Now you’re at the guide proper where we’ll take you through our Ultimate Guide to Show Day Prep.

Rise & Shine

It can be tempting to get up painfully early to rehearse, but this will rob you of essential energy when it comes to performance time. Making sure you have enough energy to function on show day may mean treating yourself to a little lie in. Set yourself up for a great day by having a decent breakfast first thing.

Eggs, Greek Yoghurt and Nuts are great choices for a healthy breakfast. Breakfast is fuel for your day keeping snack cravings at bay and helping you to retain focus.


Light Exercise

Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day assists with momentum whilst putting you in a positive state of mind. Your brain reads the heart pressure increase associated with exercise as you fleeing from danger causing it to release the protein BDNF (Brain Derived Neutotrophic Factor) which protects it from stress. This protein is restorative and protective acting like a reset switch to make you feel happy and at ease. Going for a jog or brisk walk may be the best choice if your performance later is particularly physically demanding.


Keep Hydrated

Remaining hydrated all day is essential for any performer, especially if your performance discipline requires extensive use of your voice. Water keeps your vocal folds lubricated, preventing dryness and friction which can result in vocal discomfort, hoarseness and sore throats. Drinking plenty of water also aides digestion (keeping weight off) and is known to improve your appearance via skin, hair and nails. Most experts recommend you drink 2 litres of water a day.


Respect Your Nerves

The best way to consider nerves is that they’re inevitable and they prove that you still care about what you do. Dedicating time and effort trying to avoid nerves can be detrimental to your well being and performance. When you’re feeling stressed your adrenal glands rush adrenaline into your bloodstream causing your body to go into a heightened alertness mode. This is characterised by a dry mouth, sweating, shortness of breath or dizziness. Over time you’ll become familiar with how your nerves manifest themselves and learn how to manage the situation. Knowing that you’ve prepared as much as possible in advance is key to calming nerves.


Keep Travel Simple

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to live next door to the performance space, so some of your day will inevitably be taken up with a journey. Know from the team behind the performance specifically when they need you to be ready and work backwards from there; do you need to get changed before this time? do you have your own transport? do you have a backup plan for delayed trains or other transport?

Travel can be stressful especially since you just want to get on with hitting the stage, but its always going to be a necessary evil. As with rehearsals, make sure you’ve prepared as much in advance as you can so that you have less to worry about on show day.


Think Positive

Show day is the only day you don’t come across as arrogant by continuously bigging yourself up, so take full advantage of it! Treat show day as a ‘me me me’ day but obviously not to the detriment of those around you. Spend every waking minute imagining how well your performance is going to go, how well rehearsed you are and how much you’re looking forward to that stage adrenaline hit.


Avoid Cigarettes

If you’re a smoker you’ve no doubt heard from your peers about how bad a habit it is, particularly for singers, actors and public speakers. For this reason its not necessary for us to labour the point here, but it is a good idea to lay off the cigarettes on show day for the sake of your voice.


Steer Clear of Dairy

We know cheese seems to make everything better, but unfortunately voices are an exception to the rule. Dairy stimulates the production of mucus which is not conducive to a good performance.


Other Foods & Drinks to Save for the After Show Party…

Alcohol and citrus fruits dry your throat and coffee and spicy foods irritate. Fizzy drinks fill your stomach with air making you feel bloated and uncomfortable.


Relaxation is Key

Between breakfast and traveling set aside some time to do something you really enjoy which involves minimal fuss. Pamper yourself with a luxurious bath or energising shower and just chill out in front of your favourite TV show or film. If dancing to your favourite album gets you into the right mindset for show day get the speakers blaring. If your favourite method of relaxing is a two hour drive away probably think a bit more local for show day relaxation!


Shameless Plug

Of course a show day wouldn’t be complete without Vocalzone! When used in combination with good hydration, the powerful formula in our pastilles and tea helps you keep a clear voice.


Written by Laura Thomas

Social Media and Marketing Executive at Vocalzone. The Simpsons, The Wicker Man (original!), real crime shows, metal, punk and the new punk (grime)