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Periods at work: Managing my period as a theatre performer

We caught up with Musical Theatre performer Áine Curran (Mamma Mia UK & International Tour) to talk about the industry, the show and how she manages her periods at work when she is performing on stage.

“I graduated at the age of 19 after 3 years of professional training. I have since been fortunate enough to work within Germany and the UK in the musical theatre industry and commercial industry. I’ve worked on TV, in Commercials and various corporate gigs. Musical theatre was always my main passion and I was over the moon when I got my first big show, Mamma Mia! I first performed in the show in Germany and following that worked on another original jukebox musical out there. I then came back to the UK to be apart of the UK & International tour of Mamma Mia! It was an absolute dream to book a UK tour and now to have just completed the international tour.

The thing I love most about being part of Mamma Mia is being a part of something that is so hugely known and loved. People all know the music of ABBA or have seen the film. I also love how much of a feel-good show it is!

Dealing with my period when travelling

I am always travelling around. In the past year, I have taken over 30 flights and travelled to more countries than I ever have in my life. I’ve had to adjust this year with my periods, it’s a challenge with being away so much and not having a solid routine. I also struggle terribly with periods. I loved using organic tampons (before I eventually got my IUD).

Since my IUD (which I’m still adjusting to) I still have terrible period pains leading up to and during my period. It can be so uncomfortable and on occasions the pains are excruciating. This is even more challenging when I’m on stage and fully active! Exercise can ease the pain to make me feel better, but I also swear by hot water bottles and ibuprofen.

Another challenge when performing (besides battling my period pains) is managing a heavy period. Heavy bleeding and multiple costumes changes are tricky. But this year I discovered menstrual cups and my world has changed!

I now swear by menstrual cups!

I could not believe how amazing it was to use a menstrual cup. Admittedly, it was a little scary at first and after the terror of my IUD insertion, I wasn’t sure if I was ready. However, I’m so glad I tried it out. The menstrual cup is an absolute dream. It was so easy to get the hang of it and I was so surprised that I couldn’t feel it. I honestly felt my world had changed. It makes periods hugely more bearable.

Talking about periods in the dressing room

Periods are certainly a topic of discussion in our dressing room! When you are in a room every single day with 10 girls it’s bound to come up in conversation and interestingly, we find our cycles seem to sync. I love that we talk about periods. We all share tips and advice – I don’t think I would have got my IUD or tried a menstrual cup without lots of chat about this with my peers. Our top period tips are to always be prepared and keep a tampon or pad in your bag and to have a go-to hot water bottle. This will always be your ‘period buddy’.

My tips for aspiring performers

The Theatre Industry is an amazing industry to be a part of. It has tried and tested me, it has made me who I am, and it has made me pursue and achieve my dreams. I have made some wonderful friends and had some incredible experiences. The only advice I can give to anyone looking to get into this career is to be everything that you are because no one is you. On top of that – stay TENACIOUS”.

Thanks so much to Áine for talking periods with us and sharing her stories of managing her periods with a career in the entertainment industry. You can follow Áine on Instagram here.

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