In the theatre touring and repertory companies can date as back as 1899. Transportation was not as advanced as it is today, so hauling scenery was quite a chore. These touring companies did it for the art as much as they did it for anything else. These men —and often women —toured the country from town to town, seldom stopping more than a week in one place. Some of tbe smaller companies even moved on after one or two nights. Travelling on tbe dense railway network of tbe period, they carried huge quantities of scenery and effects. Some managers even boasted about how much it all weighed, which was six tons in the case of London Day By Day (The Era 17 Aug. 1898)
In a touring company’s case, some adjustments may have to be made for set pieces to travel better. With Mary Poppins, the scenery had to be made smaller than so all of the pieces could fit comfortably in a moving vehicle. This makes it possible for the show to function in a smaller venue and helps it reach more audiences.
It wouldn’t be Mary Poppins if she did not fly! So with that in mind, the company also has to make sure the venues chosen for this production (Or any production with specific technical requirements like this) are adequate for their needs. If Mary Poppins were not to fly as much as she does, or Bert were not to tap on the ceiling as he does, the show would lose that magical quality that makes it different.
The Broadway tour of Mary Poppins started March 25, 2009 in Chicago and ended this last summer on June 2, 2013.
A show in a repertory company is not that different from a show in a touring company. A crew still has to take the show down and store it somewhere. Knowing the performance space is really important. In the case of Tucahn summer shows, the performance space is outside and sometimes the weather is unpredictable. The cast and crew have a backup plan if the weather is bad and the flights can’t happen. The benefit of having touring companies and shows in rep is that this fun and magical story can reach audiences young and old alike. Audiences who can’t make it to Broadway have a chance to be apart of the magic!