Archive for January, 2013

10 Necessary Precautions to Take for a Gig Abroad

January 29, 2013 Comments Off on 10 Necessary Precautions to Take for a Gig Abroad Uncategorized

Everyone knows that half of the awesome part of our business is getting perform in exotic places. I personally have thoroughly enjoyed every single trip abroad we have done. We have also had incredible hosts all over the world. However, it is a good idea to keep a good head on your shoulders while negotiating even when an island is calling your name and you are freezing your butt off in the Northeast somewhere.

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

1. Make sure you have a round trip airline ticket

This seems obvious, but often you get the airplane tickets at the last minute and might not really look at them. I’ve heard awful stories of people stranded in other places because they only were given one way tickets and didn’t realize it until they were trying to get home.

2. Make sure you are paid before you leave

If you are doing a single event, this is absolutely a must. If you are doing an on going show then at least make sure you get some money before you go and that the pay schedule is established and how you will get paid is set up.

3. Insist on at least three star hotel and or ask for pictures

Some hotels can be very sketchy in other places. Make sure you know where you are going to be staying, how far it is from your venue etc. It could make or break your experience.

4. Make sure you know exactly what your rigging situation will be

If you are doing aerial work, be extremely cautious and diligent about your rigging situation. Standards in other countries can be very different. Even when a rigger there is “certified” and claims to have rigged circus before, you still have to really know your stuff and double check their work. If you don’t know enough about rigging then insist on bringing someone, at least for the first few days, who does. We have had trusses built on several occasions that looked okay from afar, but up close it was very obvious they were not up to standard. You don’t want to trust what you are given blindly.

Paris, France

Paris, France

Also make sure you know if will you be outside or inside. We have been surprised by that one before as well. Have a plan in case of extreme humidity or wind.

5. Consult with someone who has worked in that country before

Ask around if someone has worked in the place before. There may be some commonalities in experience or cultural expectations to be aware of. There are also some spots that may be best avoided all together even if they sound good on paper.

6. Investigate the agent or company hiring

Google the company, ask around, but make sure you know who you are dealing with. If they don’t have a website, use extreme caution. If a company is hiring directly, strongly consider finding recommendations for an agent in that area to negotiate and arrange things for you. It will just make your life that much less stressful.

7. Stay on top of the news, warnings for traveling abroad, and read a guide book on the way over.

While a lot of news hype can really blow things out of proportion, you really want to be aware of what is going on before you go somewhere. If there is any unrest, inquire about what safety measures will be taken when you get there.


Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

8. Bring several costume options

Sometimes a country will seem to be very conservative, but the specific audience you are performing to is not and vice versa. It’s always good to have a variety of options from sexier to conservative. Also in case a costume doesn’t work for one reason or another, you want to make sure you have a back-up.


9. Don’t get married to a timeline or expectations

We had one gig where the lights didn’t arrive until after the first show and the sound system didn’t arrive until 15 minutes before the opening. Don’t freak out. This just might be normal protocol where you are. Do the best you can, stay safe, but know that some things may just be out of your hands.


Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia

10. Listen to your gut, don’t do anything you are uncomfortable with

Don’t let yourself get intimidated by a culture or language barrier. If you feel like you are too high and need a mat, or feel like they have scheduled a show too close to the one before it, say something. We have always in the end gotten what we needed and while they may have protested a little, nobody in the end was too put out.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Traveling is awesome and 90% of the time it goes smoothly as long as you are prepared.