Open Forum

Performing in the Heat

  • 1.  Performing in the Heat

    Posted 05-21-2021 13:34
    Hi Everyone,

    You were so helpful with insect prevention tips for performing outside. Do you have any tips on how to keep actors and audience cool during outdoor shows especially when in direct sun?

    Christina Vincent
    Director of Theatre
    The Woodhall School
    Bethlehem, CT

  • 2.  RE: Performing in the Heat

    Posted 05-21-2021 14:22

    If direct sun absolutely cannot be prevented, limiting the duration of performance (or rehearsal), frequent breaks, and lots of water and fans are some of your best options.


    David Simpson
    Performing Arts Center Manager

  • 3.  RE: Performing in the Heat

    Posted 05-22-2021 15:29
    • For performers, make sure there is shaded space offstage, so when they are not on stage, they can be out of the sun. See if you can borrow some 10x10 pop-up canopies, tents, beach sun shelters, or even beach umbrellas. You can use bedsheets to create walls for even more of a sun-barrier.  
    • Provide some buckets of ice, and ask the actors to bring a shammy, cooling cloth or washcloth. They can dip their cloths into the bucket and wear them around their necks backstage, or even on stage.  If you can do so hygenically, provide a cooler with ice and drinking water so actors can fill up their water bottles frequently.   Have your backstage folks keep some sports drinks handy for folks who get overheated. 
    • I second fans, if you have access to electricity. 
    • If possible, keep costumes lightweight, light-colored, and long-sleeved. 
    • For the audience, communicate the situation ahead of time so they can be prepared with wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen and lots of cold beverages.  Make sure to let them know if umbrellas are allowed or not.  Maybe there can be a row in the back where umbrellas are allowed for your more heat/sun-sensitive audience members.  
    • Sell or distribute frozen water bottles, sports drinks and juice boxes before the show. 

    Elana Kepner
    Theatre Instructor
    The Oakwood School

  • 4.  RE: Performing in the Heat

    Posted 05-24-2021 07:16
    Rehearse early in the morning before the real hot arrives, Use fans and shade, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Schedule specific times for people to be out so they don't need to sit around in the heat. make sure your performances start as it starts to cool down, no mid day shows absolutely.

    Jerry Onik
    V.P. Theatrical Supplies and Equipment
    Heartland Scenic Studio
    Omaha NE

  • 5.  RE: Performing in the Heat

    Posted 05-24-2021 19:36
    Thanks everyone for these incredible tips. Ironically, the forecast is rain for our show weekend.