How many acts?

As a performer, it’s great that the mind is constantly ticking over with ideas, excitedly hearing a track and thinking, “that would make an awesome act”, or seeing a costume and thinking, “yes! another new act”… but it is far better to have a few acts – and done well – than a load of acts you’ve only performed a handful of times… Trust me on this one! Here’s why… 

  • The more you perform an act and hone every inch of it on stage, the better. You become more confident with what you are doing (and confident enough to “ad-lib” – if you are that type of performer – without getting lost…) and the more polished the act looks. 
  • Some audiences – and even producers – might love an act they’ve seen, and want to see it/book it again. This becomes your signature act. Which is all good…
  • Acts work differently on different audiences, and sometimes something that happened by accident in front of an audience might be an inspiration to add it into the act.
  • Having a few strings to your bow encourages you to channel and focus all your energies into those acts.
  • Wardrobe space! I mean who on earth has the space for 15+ full costumes/props. And who on earth has the money to create these things?

Sometimes it is hard when you are a resident performer of a regular show, whose audience come to most of the shows, The pressure is on to show them something different every time. In this respect, I must admit I’ve created acts that I’ll probably never perform again – mainly because I love all my regular acts and didn’t love the act I’d created for the show enough to add it to my repertoire. A huge repertoire of acts might seem impressive but to producers it looks like the performer hasn’t honed their style / acts and it’s a bit like been bamboozled by a menu with too much choice.

My advice to new performers

Take the time to develop your act. In your first year you may be doing shows where only one act is required on the bill so really concentrate all your energies into your act. Practice, hone and improve if necesairy. The more times you perform the act, the better! It can only go in your favour… When you feel comfortable with that one (or you are getting offers of two slots on the bill…) then develop your next act. Write down all your ideas, costume inspiration, music choices… and research! not just the ideas behind the act, but check the scene to see if other performers are doing the same acts (you might want to do this before you’ve spent time, money and blood, sweat and tears on costumes and routines!) Yes, it can be hard – you want to use all that creativity to get cracking on loads of acts but you may find that in your first year producers will only book one of your acts…    

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