5 Pro-Tips for Loading Out Your Show

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

March 15, 2018

You’re a thespian troupe at district or state competition or a professional company, you’ve likely run into the problem of loading out your show in, what? 20 minutes? 10 minutes? 5 minutes? Check out these 5 quick tips to help your fellow actors and technicians get out of that venue ASAP in an organized and efficient manner.

1. Rent a truck (or find someone who can haul your set for you).

One of the most common problems in shows without a permanent space is transporting set pieces and furniture from one place to another. Ask around to see if any friends or family members have pickup trucks and if those people are willing to help you out in exchange for a comp to your show or some dinner. If you can’t find someone, consider renting a U-Haul truck. They come in various sizes from trailers to giant trucks capable of moving an entire house-full of furniture. If you’re traveling cross-country, you may want to consider investing in your own trailer.

2. Know how much time you have.

Knowing this is half the battle. If you have five minutes to get outta there, plan for it. The same goes for 20 to 30 to 60 minutes. And remember that you’re most likely sharing the venue with other productions, so being out on time shows professionalism and respect.

3. Ask your stage manager to assign load-out tasks.

Talk with your stage manager to see if they can assign load-out tasks. (EX: Person A gets prop box and lamp, Person B gets costume rack and wigs, Person C and Person D get couch and coffee table, etc.) This allows everyone to know exactly what they’re responsible for during load-out. It eliminates a lot of unnecessary talking and standing-around-decision-making.

4. Request that calls be given at regular intervals.

To keep everyone on track, it’s important they know how many minutes they’ve got left to get outta there. The stage manager should call minute marks (5 minute load out) or every 5 minutes (10-30 minute load-out).

Ashleigh Gardner received her MA in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies (with concentrations in Film, Gender Studies, and Psychoanalytic Theory) and her BA in English Literature (with concentrations in Victorian, Gothic, and Early American Literature and Gender Studies) from the University of Central Florida; she received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College. She is a playwright, an actor, and PerformerStuff.com’s Editor.