Monkey Motivation - on the road with a TIE tour!

Anna Blackburn shares her Austrian tour diary

From working with Netflix to immersive performances, and from forming their own theatre companies to Theatre in Education tours, Fourth Monkey alumni actors and artists can be found carving out varied, multi-faceted careers in the creative arts industry!

 

Here, we get some Monkey Motivation through a glimpse behind the scenes on a European “Theatre in Education tour”, courtesy of Two Year Rep (now BA Acting) Class of 2020 graduate, Anna Blackburn, who takes us on a whistle stop tour of Austria, where she travelled with Vienna’s English Theatre Schools Tours in early 2022.

 

I recently travelled through Austria for two months with Vienna’s English Theatre on a “TIE” or “theatre in education” tour, where we took a fast-paced, quirky adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne to theatres, schools and arts centres across the country. Above, you can see our trusty tour van, AKA Jane, plus a shot of the show in action!

On average, we performed three shows each day, sometimes in a single venue and sometimes moving to new locations after each performance. Touring in this way therefore means you do a lot of lifting and carrying, with many hours on the road. Luckily, my fellow tourmates had excellent taste in music for the journeys and a shared enthusiasm for card games to pass the time. We soon became experts at setting up and pulling down the set at record pace; anything for an extra half an hour in bed! A word of warning for night owls – early starts are very much the norm on these tours, with most days starting between 5:00 and 6:00am.

We moved to a new hotel every night, so packing light was essential. As we moved through the country’s different regions, performing in large cities as well as tiny villages, the weather changed massively – some days we were wading through snow, others we were baking in glorious sunshine. Austria’s landscape and architecture is massively varied and incredibly beautiful, so trundling along in a van with fellow actors is certainly a joyous way to see it.

Here are just a few of the snapshots I captured of the vastly varied landscape I saw whilst travelling through Austria.

The traditional Austrian food was a true highlight – heaps of schnitzel, goulash, tafelspitz (a delicious beef in broth, and my personal favourite) and strudel kept us going. And, of course, the beer wasn’t too shabby either!

Weekends were packed with opportunities to explore. We were able to take trains or our van to new cities or to remote parts of the country for walks. We crossed into Slovakia and visited Bratislava, spent a long weekend in Salzburg, hiked through the mountainous ski regions and, of course, took every opportunity we could to spend more time in Vienna. We visited countless museums, saw theatre performances, attended an ice hockey game amongst a plethora of other activities – it was such an amazing way to discover the country.

A snowy, misty day in Salzburg.

Beautiful Vienna by night.

A sunny day in Bratislava, Slovakia’s sublime capital city.

Over the course of the two months on tour, we performed the show 60 times and saw over 11,000 audience members. The enthusiasm we felt from the audiences along the way made it such a thrilling and fulfilling experience – lots of autographs were signed and selfies taken!

This TIE tour was, without question, an ideal job for me and a truly wonderful two months.

If you have been inspired by Anna’s Austrian adventure with Vienna’s English Theatre, why not explore our accredited professional actor training courses! Whether you are looking to lay the groundwork through foundation-level training, are ready to dive into an intensive industry-relevant acting degree or you are an early career creative looking to hone specific skills and meet likeminded artists with whom you can work collaboratively as a theatre maker, we have something to suit actors and artists at all stages in their creative journey – hit the link below to learn more!

Plus, there are two remaining audition days for 2022 entry at our London base, The Monkey House, and one at our Bristol base, The Bamboo House – perfect for anyone ready to take the next step! 

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