Post Show Blues

  • Emma Burn


    Hi Everyone

    I have just finished a great show and am straight back into the day job (hence the spare time to sit at a computor and whinge). I now have a serious case of the post show blues! Does anybody else suffer from this and does anyone have a remedy for this dreadful affliction.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Much Love

    The Burn

    • 30th Dec 2006
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  • Toni Brooks


    I k now how you feel - it's a real downer isn't it. The best thing I found is to keep looking for more work.


    • 19th Dec 2006
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  • Lucy Perkins


    Arrange a night out with your fellow actors (although I'm sure you've done that already, but any excuse eh?!)and put it to bed. Nothing like a hangover for distraction!


    • 19th Dec 2006
    • 2
  • Kathryn Debbage


    I agree, oh its really not very nice. I really feel for you. I agree with both. Go out with all your fellow cast members, then have a day to yourself, nursing your hangover, then throw yourself into looking for work, and stay possitive.

    If this doesn't work, Jan Sales start soon, SHOP SHOP SHOP. Always makes me feel better.

    I really hope you feel better soon.

    Have a great and HAPPY christmas!

    • 19th Dec 2006
    • 3
  • Owen Frost


    I know exactly how you feel. Just finished a tour last Friday myself, now I'm back in the office phoning for home insurance.

    It's a funny old game bieng an actor, going from one extreme to the next. But that is what makes this career choice so exciting, you never know what's around the corner...

    And at least it's Christmas soon.

    • 19th Dec 2006
    • 4
  • Blake J Askew


    What I have done:

    1) Write off every day for more jobs. EVERY DAY. this does help psyxhologically.

    2) Exeercise- dance classes, the gym , running etc. This will prevent the adrenalin withdrawal that we get on stage...its a drug after all.

    3) Its always a good thing to be in counselling or therapy as an actor. I still am in counselling for my own personla issues and its wonderful to have someone neutral to help you with no sense of judgement. Think about it.

    4) Make sure you see friedns reasonably regularly, and if you have an agent- take them out for lunch and discuss the next year of castings etc.

    5) Set golas- two actors centre classes a week, or getting fitter, leraning a new skill, writimg ten letters a week etc.... basically be forward focused instead of reminiscent.


    • 19th Dec 2006
    • 5
  • Monty Burgess


    Yoga or pilates. Your brain will appreciate it as much as your body.

    Eat the scrummiest healthy food you can find.

    And watch something really really funny. Stand up works for me. Bill Bailey. Robin Williams. Dylan Moran. Lenny Henry. Family Guy. Muppet Show re-runs. Friends outtakes on YouTube. Whatever makes you giggle.

    I'm sure we all understand that feeling and empathise.



    • 19th Dec 2006
    • 6
  • Victoria Denard


    Am with you ms burn wholeheartedly! I finished a show yesterday and have been brought back down to earth very speedily with my return to the temp world this morning!

    I think friends outtakes and christmas chocolate eating will see me through. And i agree with Blake, keep searching for the next job....

    The post show blues will pass - i promise. x

    • 19th Dec 2006
    • 7
  • Lee Ravitz


    Blake is basically right. But its always a psychological issue, first and foremost. If you (correctly) see your temping job as just that (the needful, possibly very boring, means to an end) and your acting work as your true vocation, then you'll find getting through the temping much easier to cope with. I feel we have a tendency to think the opposite - that we're almost 'dipping in and out' of acting work when it's available, and doing crap jobs most of the time. Rubbish. You're earning money now in the hope that a time will come so that you won't have to do such tedious work in the future, and will be able to focus on what you really want to do. Think of it like that, and it becomes less of a burden.

    Obviously, anything that keeps your 'creative juices' flowing during a down - time period is good - whether that's sending off applications, attending workshops (if you can afford to), reading books on technique, or, hopefully, finding the time every now and then to get to do another audition somewhere. And like many of the peeps on the board have been saying you also need to keep healthy, and enthusiastic, so that you'll be able to deal with opportunities better when the next acting offer comes along. Again, I don't think we should ever be down if we don't know where the next job will come from - lots and lots of actors spend 'downtime' between jobs. But that's all right - surely doing a finite amount of temping is bearable (2 months and then you're acting again, say). It's the prospect of temping *for ever* with no acting work in sight that gets daunting. But that never happens - keep trying, and you'll always land a job somewhere.

    Equally, I don't think it's *just* the horror of going from the 'glamour' of some acting work to a boring job that is a bit of a come - down. Finishing a show (even a film you've been working on for a long time) is always a come -down - you've just been doing something that was incredibly intense, been learning to interact with people you've probably never met before on the most intimate levels, been challenging yourself every night to go in front of a crowd and present yourself body and soul to them. This is bound to feel extreme in one way or another (good or bad). And most 'real life' isn't that extreme. I think it's why the vast majority of actors want to be actors - they get the same adrenaline buzz from working at this level of psychological intensity that climbers get from scrabbling up mountains, or speed freaks get from zooming around in cars or whatever. It's great while it lasts, but it can never exist outside of the confines of the production. So, really, even if you were going straight from one job to the next, there'd still be a period when you felt at a bit of a loose end, between the finish of the one play, and before the next project started to get into high gear, I think.

    And so, in that sense, it's just something you have to get used to and accept, I suppose. Don't let it rule your life - the next chance to act is always just around the corner.

    • 19th Dec 2006
    • 8
  • Blake J Askew



    Its crucial to realise that in spite of constant work etc, you can still be going through the blues etc and sometimes depression etc.

    I would ALWAYS ( and this is from personal experience) recommend anyone who gets the blues after a show to strictly monitor themselves. The worst thikng is that you hang around actors who have nothing but negative remarks about the industry etc. If your friedns are like that, I suggest making new friends.

    I am not blowing my own trumpet, but I am almost daily seeeking work, practicing vocally or reading a play or listening to a musuical etc. This is SO crucila and I consider myself an actor who does temp jobs to pay rent in between jobs and for expenses.

    I am also going to be even more direct here- if yu feel you cant shake the depression or you strat feeling worthless or that life is pointlkess, you need to see your GP and get anti depressants and consider counselling. I have been through this and think its crucial to get whatever help you can to cope if things get too tough.

    Set a list of golas for the new year and focus on them. Dont end up like many actors who become so despondent and lethargic that they do nothing. Stay away from people like that- I call them professional moaners and they drain you of all your energy like vampires do others of blood. Be aroiund positive, focuised people becasuse it will feed off you. One negative person can make a whoile group apathetic. This board has a LOT of positive people because we all care enough to be outward focused and help others instead of self absorbed- so this is a good place to start.

    Just be honest with all you feel, good or bad and dont suppress your emotions. By the New Year, have an action plan and go for it.

    • 19th Dec 2006
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  • Nathan Head


    its really difficult., i get so down between work. lol

    as you said, i just keep applying for stuff .

    • 20th Dec 2006
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Just finished a tour with Bigfoot - met some lovely people, would have been great to have a few drinks tonight but two are very ill, I had to go and do Christmas food shopping, and one still hungover from last night.

    Post show blues? Well, we did three shows today, and I am exhausted but no doubt it will hit me tomorrow when I wake up unemployed and sober.

    Keep chipping away. Hang in there. Don't let the bed bugs bite. You're fabulous, and you KNOW you are.


    • 20th Dec 2006
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  • Caroline Boulton


    Hang out with your buddies! x

    • 21st Dec 2006
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  • Keith Patrick


    It's strange...A lot of peoplw do get this form of depression quite badly after completing a show. I could only say that I myself have only had that 'flatness' afterwards that comes with the whole refocusing of your time, but most importantly, energy. I haven't had that last for very long at all, maybe for only a few days max.

    All good things come to an end, and so does your time on a film or a play's particular run. Constant change is the main thing in the life of an actor, or anyone in showbiz.

    Like Blake said, set a new ambition and very soon afterwards.

    It goes a looong way for an actor (and an actor in particular) to read. Read lots. Become, and remain, informed of a variety of subjects.

    Keep you mind and body well nourished.

    Remember that an actor is like a low-level athlete, in that his career and its success depends upon health and vitality.

    Stay sparkly!

    Personally, I think Showbiz-flu is much worse!

    • 21st Dec 2006
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  • Emma Burn


    Thankyou everyone for all your suggestions, its good to know I'm not the only one. I have sorted out a list of aims for next year (obviously no point trying to do anything over the beer and pie season which is upon us) and that has definatley made me feel more focused. Merry Christmas to everyone.

    PS Caroline, there will be much hanging out with the buddies!

    PPS is showbiz-flu like man-flu?

    • 22nd Dec 2006
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  • Lee Ravitz


    Re: showbiz flu - I don't know. But I've often thought that when you're acting you have to be so adrenaline soaked (especially to hit high emotional moments the same way night after night on stage) this forces your reactions to such a peak, that, as soon as you stop doing this (i.e. when the run finishes), your body is so drained it kind of shuts down on you, momentarily. The adrenaline rush was strong enough, in other words, that it got you through for weeks without even allowing you to notice your body was tired, and, only once you relaxed, did everything kick in. What do you think of that?

    • 22nd Dec 2006
    • 15
  • Keith Patrick


    Yup. That's showbiz-flu.

    It's not something confined to Treaders of the Boards, but crew also cast and crew on film sets. That's where the phenomanae seems more widely known of.

    Say, 3 months of 18hr days and feeling fine. Then when the job ends, all of the little bugs in your system, as you alude to as fened off with hormone-chemicals, then strike in full force.

    Yes, you forge on to get the job done, and then your immunity just seems to shrug its shoulders at you.

    That post-performance flatness, and the immunity-lows are really just something to worry about if you don't get on to the case of managing your energies intelligently.

    Look at Patrick Stewart. He's in amazing shape for his (biological) age. That's not accidental. He's surely had to make deep inroads into his energies across his career, and possibly made mistakes here and there, but if he has made them he's learnt quickly and not repeated them. He stands out to me as an obvious figure for taking good care of his 'instrument'. Whatever he's doing, it's working, and well.

    • 22nd Dec 2006
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  • Blake J Askew


    To be hnest, atheletes get it as well. I once knew a pro tennis player who wuld finish a tournament and then a day or so later would basically emd up snotty and ill.

    Its the body saying "I need some time out!!!!"

    • 23rd Dec 2006
    • 17
  • Keith Patrick


    I used to be an athlete. That's where I've drawn the comparison from.

    Yes, everyone has to get the odd colds, if we didn't the human race would be wiped out within a few generations, and it'd be all down to the humble germ.

    The main issue here is that athletes have to understand nutrition to excede their boundries.

    Even thousands of years ago in ancient Greece, sportsmen of the age would search for herbal based concoctions that would give them the edge over the non-suped up opposition.

    Actors have to develp the same knowledge tp support the immunity systems, following the exertions from doing the Work.

    When I was training as an actor, it amazed me how much the other guys and gals would 'abuse' their health. However, this was out of just-not-knowing about diet.

    This is the difference. Actors need to know this stuff.

    In athletic circles there's a holy trinity of Training, Diet, and Rest. If one of these things isn't in plentiful supply in relation to the others, the whole equation fails.

    Amongst the views of the professional dancers that I know, the concept is that all actors are lazy and unfit, and pay little attention to their overall health.

    Are they right about this?

    • 23rd Dec 2006
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  • Blake J Askew



    I think they are right. Many dancers and MT performers are ultra paranoid about thier health because illness affects their voices which means they cant work ( I tend to be one of those paranoids).

    Most actors I personally know drink to excess, smoke all the time and spend little time developing them selves as actors.

    I have heard straight theatre actors saying that their job is easy as compatred to MT performers etc. Bieng involved in both straight and musical theatre I have to say that most straight theatre is at the most vocally tiring but nowahere nearly as exhausting as singing and dancing.

    I also think that actois tend to push themselves to a larege degree until they burn out. I had this earlier in the year and got really ill due to finishing my german tour and almost back to back going on a musical tour with no rest. I consequently developed a virus that took almost six weeks to recover from and hit rock bottom. It was a nasty virus .

    • 23rd Dec 2006
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