Designing in regional theatres throughout the United States is a great experience for designers. I enjoy seeing the theatres, meeting and working with their staff, and exploring new areas of the country. There are a few things I feel are helpful to do before you sign a contract or travel to your temporary theatre. Here is my list of a few things to do.
1. Make sure it's in the contract: No matter what is discussed during your interview make sure those promises are included in your contract. I always make sure there is a clause about housing and transportation reimbursement.
2. Research the area: Whether you are researching place to grab food after work or fabric stores researching the area before you go is important. Don't assume there will be a Target or Joann Fabrics near you. Know what you can get readily and what you may need to bring with you. Researching can also be asking questions of the costume shop supervisor or production manager about the shop. Asking them about what is in the shop, storage, shopping around town can be one of the best ways to know what is available to you.
3. Swatch from your local stores before you go: If you live near a favorite fabric store that will mail your purchases to you, or know someone who you can pay to buy the fabric and then send to you, swatching before can be a lifesaver. Being able to fall back on the stores you know can help the design process.