What to Pack: A Quick-Guide for Theatre Majors Going Back to School | Playbill

Back to School What to Pack: A Quick-Guide for Theatre Majors Going Back to School

With the semester starting soon, review Playbill's list of crucial items for any theatre co-ed.

Building study playlists, choosing classes, and enjoying the last days of summer can get in the way of packing as students get ready to begin a new semester. Here’s a list from Playbill to help you remember everything you need to pack for a successful year, whether you’re a freshman or a senior!

Audition Clothes

Whether you’ll be dancing in a group a la A Chorus Line or doing a monologue from Hamlet, it’s important to feel comfortable but look memorable. Wear clothes that allow full body movement, and make sure whatever you’re wearing is clean!


For those days when you have to carry more than a book or two, you’ll want something sturdy. Get a compact book-bag that fits everything you’ll need for the day to avoid taking multiple trips back to your dorm.

Ring Light

In the world of virtual self-tapes, it is important that you present yourself in your "best light." A ring light and a neutral background will make sure the casting agents aren't distracted by anything and focus on your performance. 


It’s easy to lose track of all the loose-leaf sheets. Have an organized system for each class, such as divided sections for notes, handouts, exams, etc., or separate it by week using tabbed divider sheets.


When students get a script, it can be hard to keep track of which lines are yours. An easy trick is to make copies of the pages (if you can’t mark up the book) and then highlight your parts for memorization.


Keep all your sheet music in digital form on whatever electronic device you have, so it’s portable. Don’t forget to keep paper or cloud-stored back-ups to ensure your favorite audition songs are never lost!

Memorabilia/Personal Items

Personalize your dorm room with photos of friends and family, plus a few of your favorite Playbills, celebrity posters, and books. Minimize bulky or heavy items—keep them at home or in storage (dorms are small!).

Music Books

Songbooks from any musical can form a mini-library in your room, in addition to whatever favorite reads you bring. Keep them stored in a visible place so they’re easily accessible and add decor to your room.


These sticky slips of paper help keep track of important information while studying and make it easy to get to your favorite songs in music books.


Costumes get wrinkled—that’s a fact. Keep a steamer in your room so that you can easily smooth out any irregularities before you go on stage. It’ll come in handy for any last-minute fancy occasions, too!

Tap shoes, Jazz Shoes, and Character Shoes

Depending on the audition, rehearsal, or performance, these shoes will become a part of your daily pack. For tap, you will want to bring these metal-soled rhythm makers for any auditions or classes that may require the skill. Even if you haven’t taken tap before, bring a pair and sign up for a free class at your school or a trial at a nearby dance studio (usually at no cost or heavily discounted).

Theatrical Make-up Kit

Bring your own make-up to avoid having to borrow from others—a valuable theatrical hygiene tip! Spend time finding the right kit for you that covers all types of theatre and will last an entire show without breaking the bank.


You’ll definitely need your own, so be sure to check what size your bed will be before you buy these items. Add pizzazz to your room with a Playbill-themed blanket and get to know new neighbors by asking everyone their favorite musical on it!

Tote Bag

With binders, notebooks, and who knows what else, you’ll likely need a backpack. But for those days when there’s a lighter load, a cute tote bag can make things easy and compact. Perfect for quiet days in the quad or at a cafe. The Into the Woods tote will be the envy of your other classmates. 

Water Bottle

It seems obvious, but given how busy college students' lives are it can be easy to forget to drink the recommended daily amount of H2O. Stay hydrated throughout the day with a SIX or Lion King - themed water bottle.

Belt Box

Dorm rooms aren't an ideal place to warm up. A belt box will help you be able to warm up your voice without disturbing your roommates studying. 

Voice Steamer

Regularly inhaling steam from a personal steamer can keep your voice in good condition and prevent vocal strains. Breathing in steam brings moisture into your voice box, hydrating your vocal cords and reducing swelling and irritation. 

Washable Masks

Masks have become a part of life in the theatre. You will most likely need to have a few washable masks to wear in rehearsals or while catching a show. 

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