On Tour

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The Independent Culture
I enjoy touring; I like the constant change. You can do things in hotels you would never do at home. I watch loads of Open University - we definitely come back from tour more erudite than when we left. One fortuitous aspect of the recession is that if you have a large cast you can get good deals for posh hotels. Declan Donellan (artistic director of Cheek by Jowl) once said that actors ought to be treated at least as well as commercial travellers - now we are occasionally elevated to the level of middle managers]

We keep a copy of the Good Pub Guide in the van. There are some pubs I really look forward to: The Chequers in Chipping Norton and The Ship Inn in Oundle are both lovely.

The worst experience we ever had was our very first gig in Billingham in February 1991. The only things to do were go to the theatre and go swimming. The minute we arrived, the heavy snows came. Billingham was cut off, the theatre was closed, the swimming pool was shut, and the roads were blocked. We spent a lot of time in the pub and the rest sleeping.

Ben Crocker is artistic director of the Magnificent Theatre Company, whose production of 'The Grub Street Opera' is at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds 9-13 Nov; Lilian Baylis, London 15-27 Nov

(Photograph omitted)