On Tour

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The Independent Culture
I live in Moordown in Bournemouth. I have been stage-manager of the Symphony Orchestra for four and a half years. The Bournemouth orchestras cover nine counties stretching from the tip of Cornwall to Oxford and have the highest mileage per year of any regional orchestra in Britain.

The job entails transporting equipment, setting up the stage and running rehearsals. A national tour can take five to six days and European tours take about a fortnight. In April we will be touring America. My daughter collects foreign dolls - so I have to find her one each time I go away. Life is very nomadic and you have to live pretty much out of a suitcase. We sometimes stay in hotels but a lot of time is spent in the truck. It's called Denis the Menace.

I don't have much of a social life when I get back because I have to deal with chores and events that have happened while I've been away. When at home I recharge my batteries and try not to stray too far from the house. I make time to go and eat at the Lal Bagh (0202 536719), a good Indian restaurant, in Charminster. When in Truro at the Three Spires Festival, I have to get a fix at The Ganges Restaurant (0872 42535). What I miss most when touring is space and sleep yet I cannot ever envisage having a nine-to-five job.

It is always nice to have a tour to look forward to but I still get apprehensive as the actual day approaches. I try and watch what I eat while I'm on tour and hope to lose a few pounds before we set off for America. I'm sure that I'll put them back on while I'm out there.

Christopher Ouzman is stage manager of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which tours to end of March. It plays Wessex Hall, Poole 26 Jan. Full tour details on 0202 670611.

(Photograph omitted)

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