10 Items Every Actor Should Carry in Their Rehearsal Bag

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

September 22, 2016

Have you ever shown up to rehearsal and been ridiculed for not having something? Water? Your script? A pencil? Don’t worry. Before your next rehearsal, pack your bag with the following items so you’ll be prepared for anything.

1. Your script.

Duh. Even if you’re off-book, always have your script with you. This helps if need to check blocking, entrances, character notes, or the order of scenes in the show. Plus, it’s always a good feeling to have a well-loved script on your bookshelf after a show — a well-loved script means a hard-won performance.

2. A pencil.

A pencil allows you to make notes and erase them later. Ever try to erase pen from a script? It’s impossible. When you use pen to make notes, your script becomes a graveyard for discarded blocking, scribbles, and sloppy writing-while-standing margin notes.

3. A notebook.

Even if you don’t journal regularly, a notebook is a great tool to have during rehearsals. You can take down show concept notes, character inspiration and discoveries, and any ideas you might have about your performance. If you journal as part of character development, you can use down time during rehearsals to explore your character further.

4. Jazz shoes.

You never know when you’ll need to dance or move in a way that requires shoes other than flats, heels, or tennis shoes. Capezio, Sansha, or Bloch are the most popular brands.

5. A jacket or sweater.

It might be cold in the theatre or space in which you rehearse. Pack a sweater or jacket to keep warm. Maintaining a warm body temperature after physical and vocal warm-ups helps to reduce the possibility that your muscles will cramp up because of the chilly atmosphere.

6. Rehearsal clothing.

This includes any clothing items that you use to help you get used to a piece of clothing that is part of your costume (when you don’t have your costume yet). For men and women, wear shoes or hats (if you’ll wear a hat) that are like those you’ll be wearing in the show. For ladies, if you’ll be in a skirt or dress, wear a rehearsal skirt (one that can get dirty or torn in case of accidents). Also, corsets are common in period pieces; if you can find a good quality corset (steel boned), wear it during rehearsals to train your body to move with it before you’re introduced to your final costume.

7. Face wipes.

Sometimes we get sweaty during rehearsal. It’s okay! Wipe off that rehearsal grime with some face wipes. Have sensitive skin? A number of companies make wipes that are gentle on skin while removing sweat and makeup.

8. Water bottle.

In addition to drinking 7 glasses of water a day, you’ll need more if you’re walking, running, leaping, crawling, and gallivanting around a stage. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated so you can perform your best in a rehearsal. Want some flavor? Add fruit!

9. Snacks.

If you don’t have time to eat a full meal before rehearsal, or if your rehearsal runs long, you’ll need some snacks to tide you over. Don’t let yourself go hungry because eating wasn’t convenient before rehearsal. Carry some granola bars or fruit, snacks that are light and won’t make you go into a food coma in the middle of the Act II run-through.

10. Cough drops and tea bags.

At some point, you’ll get a scratchy throat. It happens! But you can fight it with cough drops and tea. (For tea, see if the space you’re rehearsing in has hot water or a microwave.) Interested in more remedies? Check out our article on 10 Remedies to Help Your Throat Survive Audition Season, and protect your voice for your big performance!

Ashleigh Gardner received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College and her Bachelors Degree in English Literature and Masters Degree in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright, an actor, and PerformerStuff.com’s Editor.