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How to be a stage manager

What does a Stage Manager do?

What does a Stage Manager do?

The STAGE MANAGER (frequently referred to as SM), works on a production from the start of rehearsals through the last performance and coordinates schedules and information for the creative team. The SM assists the DIRECTOR during rehearsals, notates blocking, and is responsible for all backstage activity once the show opens. STAGE MANAGERS “call” the show – which can include coordinating deck cues with the LIGHTING OPERATORS, SOUND OPERATORS, CONDUCTORS, and ACTORS, while maintaining communication for all facets of the production during performances. Depending on the size and needs of a production, there may be various categories of stage management, such as PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER, STAGE MANAGER, and ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER.

Skills

Organization | Communication | Leadership | Problem-Solving | Attention to Detail | Multi-Tasking | Patience | Caretaking

Pathways

Assistant Stage Management | Assistant Directing | Production Assistant | Fellowships | Apprenticeships | Volunteering | Internships | Degree in stage management, theatre management, and/or production

How to become a Stage Manager

Many colleges and universities offer degrees and concentrations in stage management, as well as opportunities stage managing student-led productions. Many theatres offer fellowships, apprenticeships, or professional training as stage managers, too. Broadway stage managers often begin as assistant stage managers and are hired anywhere from the start of casting to the last performance. Those just starting out may want to explore experiences working with student-directors or as assistant stage managers.

A few holy ‘musts’ for becoming an efficient and steady stage manager

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How to Be a Stage Manager

How to Be a Stage Manager

The stage manager is often described as being the glue of any production, the person who always knows what’s going on, where it’s happening, and how things are actually progressing.

A great stage manager is typically a calm, professional, and organized person with a good base knowledge of stagecraft, and an ability to courteously manage others. To help you in honing your skills and approaches for that next upcoming production, following is a brief list of commandments to follow to ensure proper stage management:

Thou Shalt Be Prepared.

Begin your preparations before your very first production meeting, jotting notes on what you’ll need, as well as on preliminary scheduling or contacts. As some productions are always more challenging than others, it never hurts to do a little research on Google, as well, to get a feel for any common hurdles ahead. And once the rehearsal period begins, make sure you always have a toolbox of essentials with you, including everything from administrative stuff (pencils, chalk, tape, highlighters), to tools (flashlights, penlights, batteries of all kinds, and more), first aid basics, emergency sewing supplies (especially buttons and snaps), and more.

Know Thy Contacts.

Always carry your production contact info with you on any meetings, rehearsals, performances, and more. A little administrative planning can be a godsend when an emergency pops up, so be sure to write, print, and copy call lists and rehearsal schedules as soon as they’re set. Most importantly, always ensure that you have contact information for everyone in the production, from the director and assistant(s) and other personnel, cast and crew, to the venue managers or janitorial staff for your rehearsal (and performance) spaces.

Taketh Good Notes, and Giveth Good Notes

In the life of a stage manager, especially during the rehearsal process, there’s no such thing as too many notes. So listen closely at each and every meeting, taking extensive notes on blocking, lighting and tech cues as they occur, as well as any other noteworthy aspects. Write in block capitals, clearly, and in pencil until the show is set.

When giving notes to actors after performances, be tactful and professional. Sometimes you’ll have to keep an eye on morale, so if an actor, for instance, flubbed six lines tonight, but four of them were minor omissions or rephrases? Save it for another note, or talk to the actor privately, later. Try to consciously point out something positive when giving multiple notes, as well, as a sweetener.

Know Thy Blocking Language and Abbreviations.

To take good notes, you’ll need a working knowledge of stage terms and especially blocking language. For instance, if Chris is going to cross to upstage right during a monolog, you’d ideally write it in simplified forms, like this: C X USR next to that action in the script. This language will enable you to write notes fast and to be able to accurately recreate even complex stage movement back to the director or players as needed.

Go Forth and Make it Fun

Stage managers are often the caregivers of the production, keeping up morale, making sure everyone’s happy, on time, and doing their best. So cultivate an enjoyable work atmosphere. Be attentive to breaks, noting the times in your logs, and bring candy and veggies to rehearsals for cast and crew to snack on (get reimbursement if you can — it’s a common and legitimate expense). When it comes time to open, give out small gifts or heartfelt well-wishes in personal, handwritten cards on opening night. Make sure you include everyone who has helped to bring the production to life — not just cast and crew, but any other volunteers, venue support or janitorial staff, and others.

Thou Shalt Be Accountable.

The buck stops with you. So arrive first, and leave last. The stage manager’s job is as grueling as it is rewarding, and being ever-present is an important part of the work.

Thou Shalt Stay Classy.

This doesn’t mean you have to abandon the awesome casual feel of working in the theater. It just means you need to be attentive to how you present yourself. So make an effort to be presentable and professional, and even when casual, try to stay classy, with no low cleavage, exposed midriffs or torsos, etc.

Be Thou Courteous

As the stage manager, people will look to you for cues on how to behave, and for what’s acceptable during the production. So try to reign in your language, and avoid profanity and questionable slurs or references, even in jest, among friends, etc. Be professional and courteous at all times. And during a tedious rehearsal or difficult production, a simple smile or encouraging word from you can accomplish great things, so make sure you’re always cheerful, accessible, and approachable.

Thou Shalt Not Gossip

This is a tricky one, just because the theater’s a fun place, and it’s one in which we all tend to make friends and form relationships. But, in a nutshell, while it’s great for you to make friends with actors and crew during the process of mounting your production, make sure that you nevertheless maintain a certain amount of slight but professional distance. Try to avoid too much carousing with the actors, and absolutely never badmouth the director in front of cast or crew, even casually or after hours. You should always put yourself forth as a united front with the director.

Know Thy Tech!

Ideally, all stage managers should know how to run the light board, sound effects equipment, and spots — it’s invaluable knowledge for anyone in the theater. While not every stage manager can run a light board, you never know what will happen, and it’s always good to have good working knowledge of your lighting and sound equipment. At best, it will enable you to manage those crew members more effectively, and at worst, you’ll be able to step in, in the case of emergency. Also acclimate yourself to common headset workarounds, errors or snafus.

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Become a Professional Stage Manager

Professional stage managers work with directors before a theatrical production to ensure an optimal performance. They are heavily relied upon for their organizational and communication skills; even practical skills, like first aid, are highly valued. During rehearsal, the stage manager records actors’ attendance, writes down actor notes, reminds the cast and crew about rehearsals, helps with blocking, and ensures props are available. A stage manager also works with the show’s technical manager to outline and coordinate necessary stage crew work. Once the show opens, stage managers oversee the backstage operations of the show during each performance.

In this occupation, long hours may be required, because professional stage managers must work whenever there’s a rehearsal or performance, which usually includes nights, weekends, and holidays. Professional stage managers may be contract employees; they may also be part-time employees, depending on the size of the theater.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor’s degree
Degree Field(s) Stage management
Experience Working as an assistant stage manager may be necessary
Key Skills Excellent communication skills, understanding of theatrical terms and concepts, patience while working with directors and actors
Median Salary (2020) $41,153 per year

Sources: American Association of Community Theatre (AACT); Job postings; Payscale.com

Step 1: Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree Program in Stage Management

A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program in stage management provides individuals with the necessary skills and experience to work in the field. These types of programs allow students to explore different areas of theater, from costuming to scene design and stage management. A bachelor degree program in stage management typically consists of academic coursework combined with hands-on theater experience. The first year usually covers subjects in general education, production, and design. During the last few years of the program, students have the opportunity to participate in the school’s stage productions.

Success Tip:

Consider a Master of Fine Arts program. Although it’s not required, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program in stage management may help individuals improve their knowledge in theater and arts, while also providing networking opportunities that may translate to future employment. Graduates may qualify for a number of jobs, such as teaching, production, or different areas of stage management.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Graduates may want to consider an internship or assistant stage manager positions to obtain work experience. Schools and independent theaters may offer paid internships to graduates from stage management programs. Internships typically require full-time work for a certain period, from several weeks to months. Assistant stage managers may find work on larger productions and help the production stage manager or director with cuing actors, assisting with rehearsals, and keeping the production process running smoothly.

Success Tip:

Join the Stage Managers’ Association. Joining the Stage Managers’ Association offers aspiring stage managers an opportunity to network and gain theatrical experience. Members can develop job contacts and gain access to career opportunities.

Step 3: Consider Joining a Union

Stage managers may benefit from joining the Actors Equity Association (AEA). Unions typically provide benefits, such as minimum salaries, health insurance, credit union memberships, fair work hours, and members-only job opportunities. Unions generally require individuals to work on an approved project before becoming a member. Members usually have to pay union dues, including a percentage of income earned from employment.

Step 4: Pursue Career Advancement

Through experience and training, stage managers can transition to specialist roles including theatre lighting director, sound manager, or wardrobe manager. Additionally, the experience and skills gained in theatre work can lead to work in production jobs in television or film.

Hopeful professional stage managers should earn a bachelor’s degree in stage management, then get experience working in the field before thinking about joining a union and pursuing specialized positions.

“Stage manager’s work is the least seen of anybody’s on a show,” says Roy Harris, a stage manager for the past 36 years—31 of them on Broadway. On September 17, Harris, along with regional stage manager Lyle Raper and stage manager Maxine Glorsky, who specializes in dance, will all be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Stage Managers’ Association’s annual Del Hughes Award. Chosen for their demonstration of the key attributes of stage management (“patience, diplomacy, organization, and a sense of humor” as noted by the organization), Harris, Raper, and Glorsky have collectively served offstage for over a century with hundreds of productions. Still, aside from their peers, “nobody knows what a stage manager does and how crucial they are,” Harris says. “In a way, maybe that’s good.”

Though the trademark of a great stage manager may be their invisible work, Playbill sought to uncover the demands of the job. What we learned: It’s intense.

The stage manager typically comes on one week before rehearsals (or only two days before opening with dance, Glorsky notes) and is essentially the Chief Organizing Officer throughout the rehearsal process. From contact sheets and company member health forms to scene breakdowns and prop lists to taping out the rehearsal room floor, the stage manager is the keeper of all of the information on a production and serves as the go-between for all departments. As such, stage managers keep copious notes to distribute post-rehearsal each day.

“Your job is to maintain the purpose of each designer,” says Harris. For example, during rehearsals for director Daniel Sullivan’s The Little Foxes starring Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon alternating the leading female roles, Harris might note, “‘Dan and Laura were talking today about Scene 2, and they feel her dress should probably be light blue.’ The costume designer needs to know that because she might think it needs to be dark green. The set designer needs to know that, having to do with the color of the walls.” Items like these create a laundry list of FYIs and to-dos.

Once a production moves into the theatre the stage manager wrangles house staff—the house electrician, the theatre’s props masters, the house manager—and the needs of the creative team and company.

Back in the day, there were stage managers and assistant stage managers, but audiences may be familiar with the credit “Production Stage Manager.” “The production stage manager is the chief stage manager in charge,” Harris explains. “The assistant stage manager usually does props, works out the furniture in the room. The production stage manager calls the show every night.” (Though Harris likes for his assistant to call the show twice a week so that he can watch the show from the audience and to keep his ASM sharp should he have to miss a performance.)

Calling a show means readying and cuing all of the sound effects, lighting, and more that happen throughout a performance. “ The Heidi Chronicles [in one transition] had 23 cues in 20 seconds,” Harris remembers. “I had four different cue lights, and meanwhile I was saying ‘Lights 23 and sound 14 go.”

For those who think stage management is all technicalities and calling cues, a stage manager must also have an innate sense of artistry. “You have to maintain the show,” says Harris. “A show opens and a couple of weeks after it opens, some things may change, and you have to decide: Are these good changes? Does this new laugh in this place help tell the story of the play or does it interfere?”

And actors look to the best in the profession as trusted advisors. “John [Lithgow] is a person who is open to suggestions,” Harris says of the actor, with whom he’s worked four times. “John will frequently come off, after the first act, and say [to me], ‘Was I OK? How was that scene?’ And I would say, ‘You know, this scene here, this was better than last night.’ You have to watch so that you are able to give the right information as an actor.

“If a stage manager doesn’t have an artistic feeling about a play or about the production he’s doing, there’s something wrong,”

In addition to that artistic bent, Harris touts organization, efficiency, a good sense of humor, and the ability to diffuse difficult situations as necessary skills of the job. Glorsky adds intuition, observation, caring, practical decision-making, and being a team player within your production team as key traits.

And they should know. While Harris has been working since 1982, Glorsky has been stage-managing since she was 18 years old, when she began with a Flamenco Company at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 1960; she’s freelanced for nearly 50 years. Their co-honoree Raper began in 1969 at Pacific Conservatory Theatre and eventually made her way to the Denver Center Theatre Company, where she worked for 27 years and called 99 shows with her resident staff. But one of her proudest moments was when the theatre received the Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre in 1998. “Over 200 people lined up from the parking area where Donald Seawell and Donovan Marley, our artistic director, arrived to the lobby of the theatre,” Raper remembers. “Each one of us held the Tony in our hands and passed it along to our neighbor. Donovan said we had all earned it.”

Harris looks back on his career with two favorite bookend memories: “One: The Heidi Chronicles because it was my first show I did that moved to a Broadway theatre. It won the Tony, it won the Pulitzer Prize. It ran for 720 performances. The other one is, strangely enough, The Little Foxes because it was such a thrilling experience to watch those two actors work—and with all the other actors. When Laura’s Regina is angry or upset, she moves, she can’t stop. When Cynthia’s Regina gets lit, she’s almost immobile. It very much [affected] the playing of the scene.”

One of Glorsky’s cherished times is small one: “A young Japanese dancer was at the Pillow stage door. She had come ahead of the Alvin Ailey company who she was working with,” Glorsky says. “She looked forlorn and a little sad. I invited her in, turned on the work lights, then on turned on music. She took to the stage and danced her heart out. It was a magical moment.”

Therein lies the commonality between all stage managers: Their love for the performers. They are the chief caregiver on the premises. Stage managers deliver feedback and keep their performances in check; they determine if a performer is too sick to go on and calls in the understudy. They literally make the lights come on.

And while the Del Hughes Award doesn’t mark complete retirement for any of these professionals, it has prompted them to take stock of their careers. Says Harris, “I hope they’ll remember that I did everything in my power to have the rehearsal room and the tech rehearsals and the backstage during performances as wonderful as it could be.”

Want to learn more about stage management? Harris’ upcoming book Places, Please, Cameos from a Stage Manager’s Life with Theater Folk will be published by Broadway Cares this winter, and Glorsky is working with the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library to archive her Martha Graham papers.

What does a stage manager do?

You would make sure live stage performances run smoothly. You would organise all practical and technical aspects of rehearsals and shows, and make sure all crew and performers are in the right place at the right time.

You would typically be supported by a deputy stage manager and one or two assistant stage managers, although on smaller productions you might work alone. You and your team would:

  • organise rehearsals
  • work with staff to plan wardrobe, set design, scene changes, sound and lighting
  • manage the props budget and organise props and set dressing
  • keep the ‘prompt copy’ of the script, which notes the performers’ positions on stage, script changes, and the props, lighting and sound needed for each scene
  • liaise with theatre managers and front-of-house staff
  • supervise the ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ – the times when sets and equipment are set up before the show and taken down afterwards
  • give cues for the performers to go on stage
  • cue the technical crew for sound and lighting effects

You might also join in with putting up the set and any other practical tasks, particularly in smaller companies or at the start of your career.

What do I need to do to become a stage manager ?

A common way is to take a diploma, foundation degree or degree in stage management, or a closely related subject. Qualifications include:

  • Level 4 HNC Diploma in Performing Arts (Production)
  • foundation degrees and degrees in theatre practice, technical theatre or stage management

Check exact entry requirements with course providers.

You’ll often need practical backstage experience to apply for a course. You can get relevant experience from student, amateur or community theatre, or from working as a casual stagehand in local theatre venues.

Alternatively, you may be able to move into stage management after training as an actor or by working your way up through backstage work.

How to Be a Stage Manager

16 – 21: How to be a Stage Manager

Course dates:

Thursday 7 March, 5 – 8pm
Thursday 14 March, 5 – 8pm
Thursday 21 March, 5 – 8pm
Thursday 28 March, 5 – 8pm

Duffield Studio

This course is available to 16 – 21-year-olds
You must be able to attend every session to take part.

£40 (Bursaries are available)

If you love theatre but don’t want to be in front of an audience, then stage management could be for you.

On this course you’ll have the chance to come backstage at the National Theatre, work with our stage managers and try out the huge variety of jobs they undertake. From learning the basics of cueing to creating a props list and a daily rehearsal call, this is a brilliant opportunity to develop your skills.

No previous experience is required but you must be available for every session to take part.

To apply please complete this form by Thursday 21 February. This is your chance to tell us about your interest in theatre. The more you tell us – within the word count – the more we will understand about you and why you want to take part.

Bursaries

We would never want the cost of a course or project to prevent anyone from taking part. A limited number of full and part-funded bursary places are available. If you would like to apply for one, please indicate this on the form when you apply.

How to Be a Stage Manager

If you’re very well organised, good at communicating and can keep calm in a crisis, you’ve already got some of the key skills needed to be a stage manager. So would a career keeping actors, creatives and technicians under control be right for you?

What is a stage manager?

Stage managers make sure that a show runs smoothly. Their job has two parts.

While a show is still at the rehearsal stage, they help with the practicalities of running rehearsals and ensure that any decisions or changes that the director makes are communicated to others who need to know about them. For example, they will typically:

  • Help schedule rehearsals and other calls on the cast’s time, such as costume fittings
  • Ensure that there’s a list of props that are needed, and that there are at least stand-in versions of these available for rehearsals
  • Prepare the rehearsal room – for example marking out the outlines of the set on the floor
  • Arrive early each day and set up the rehearsal room ready for the cast
  • Make notes during the rehearsal of all the movement that happens on stage (for example a character walking from one side of the stage to the other), so that there is an up-to-date record of the decisions that have been made
  • Making notes of any other decisions or changes – for example, if a particular prop is suddenly required or no longer needed, it’s good to have a record of this and the props team (if there is one) will need to know
  • Ensure that the cast get the breaks they are entitled to (an overenthusiastic director may forget about these!).

Once the show is up and running on stage, the stage manager is responsible for everything that happens backstage. They need to:

  • Make sure that cast members are in the right place at the right time (and get on stage in time)
  • Check that the set and props have been set up correctly
  • Ensure that lighting, sound and scene changes happen correctly and at the right time
  • Ensure that health and safety procedures are followed
  • Deal with any problems that arise – for example an actor getting injured or a technical malfunction.

What do deputy stage managers and assistant stage managers do?

On many productions the stage manager will have assistants, so they won’t have to do everything themselves.

  • Deputy stage manager (DSM) is a very common role. DSMs oversee the technical team and stage crew during the show, wearing a headset to communicate with everyone else and give instructions, including telling them when their cues should happen.
  • Assistant stage managers (ASM) are junior to DSMs. This is a typical first job and can include things like making sure props are in the right places during performances and helping out with scene changes. On small productions this role may be doubled up with that of an understudy or an actor with a very small part.

Who employs stage managers?

Stage managers, deputy stage managers and assistant stage managers typically work freelance, moving from show to show with different theatres and theatre companies (groups that don’t necessarily have their own venue) and being paid separately for each one. This means that you’ll have to be good at building and maintaining a network of contacts, and do a great job on each show you work on (so that you keep a good reputation and people want to hire you). However, there are also some permanent jobs available.

How to become a stage manager

A typical path to becoming a stage manager is to study a stage management course at university. After university, a usual first step would be to look for work as an assistant stage manager, then progress up to deputy stage manager.

However, if you don’t fancy going to university, you may be able to work your way up to assistant stage manager level by starting out as a stage crew member, for example at a local theatre. Take a look at our article on
careers in theatre to find out more about stage crew careers.

Stage management qualifications

If you decide to study for a stage management degree, your options include:

  • A foundation degree in stage management (similar to a standard bachelors degree but shorter – typically two years – and leading to a slightly lower level of qualification)
  • A bachelors degree in stage management (a standard university degree, typically lasting three years in England or Wales)
  • A masters degree in stage management (a higher level degree for students who already have a bachelors degree or a lot of relevant experience, typically lasting one year).

Sometimes stage management will be combined with a similar subject, such as production management or technical theatre. In these cases, check how much of the course focuses specifically on stage management.

How to get onto stage management courses (foundation degree and bachelors degree level)

You don’t usually need specific subjects in your A levels, Scottish Highers, BTEC or equivalent to get onto a stage management degree. However, you will need to prove that you have a genuine interest in this career, so it’s important to get involved in theatre – backstage if possible – before you apply. For example you could:

  • Help out backstage with school, youth theatre or amateur productions
  • Get work experience with a local theatre
  • Go and watch theatre productions, or cinema screenings of theatre productions, and think about what you like and why
  • Take a qualification that includes getting involved in theatre productions, such as the production arts BTEC (which covers a range of off-stage roles) or A level drama (which gives you the option to perform or take various other roles, though not normally stage manager).

For some courses you’ll need to attend an interview, which will include talking about your relevant experiences. In some cases you’ll need to produce a portfolio with evidence of your involvement, such as photos of props you’ve made, a props list you’ve compiled, a programme with your name in it or the prompt copy of the script that you’ve put together (a script annotated with decisions that are unique to that particular production, such as lighting changes and actors’ movements).

Unlike most universities, Birmingham City University does ideally likes a performance-related A level or BTEC, such as drama, for entry onto its stage management bachelors degree. However, it states: ‘We also welcome applicants with practical experience in the performing arts.’

How to get onto a masters degree in stage management

There are a handful of stage management masters degrees available, which are aimed at graduates who have a bachelors degree in a different subject. The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Queen Margaret University Edinburgh don’t mind what subject your bachelors degree is in; Guildford School of Acting says that it likes a ‘relevant’ subject but adds: ‘Applicants who can demonstrate exceptional talent and can satisfy the panel of their ability to complete the course may also be considered.’

Taking this route might suit you if you’re not 100% sure about a career in stage management and want to study a broader subject first. However, make sure that you get lots of voluntary experience, such as stage managing student shows, during your time on your bachelors degree.

Stage Crew Job Description

A stage manager is responsible for the overall organization of a theatrical production. The job requires keeping actors and technicians on task, managing meetings and rehearsals, and remaining calm and level-headed throughout a process that tends to be emotionally and physically draining. Although a difficult task, the job can be highly rewarding when the result is a successful production.

Duties

All duties involving organization and scheduling of a production fall to the stage manager. While the director or producer generally determines the overall schedule, the stage manager handles the details of keeping an up-to-date production calendar, reserving rehearsal space and related tasks. During rehearsals, the stage manager takes notes for the director, actors and technicians, including movements across the stage, script changes and light, sound and scenery needs.

Through meetings with others, the stage manager compiles a master script that includes all of these details and updates it with every meeting and rehearsal. During technical rehearsals and shows, the stage manager uses this script to let each technician know when to take a cue, such as changing the lighting look or playing music.

Limitations

While the stage manager is responsible for organizing everything and keeping the master script, she is expected to ensure everything upholds the director’s vision for the play. Stage managers are not generally allowed any creative input on the production as far as how actors deliver their lines, where they stand (beyond relaying what the director has said) or how the technical aspects look. However, some directors will consult trusted stage managers about the vision of the play.

Time Frame

In nonprofessional theaters and many professional theaters, stage management work requires evening and late night work during rehearsals and shows. Because the stage manager is responsible for setting up rehearsal and performance spaces and cleaning them afterward, long hours may be required at unconventional times. Some professional theaters use traditional office hours for rehearsal schedules, planning and meetings and only require evening or late night work during the run of the show. Weekend commitments are standard for theater workers, with Monday being the most common day off each week.

Necessary Qualities

Due to the quantity of responsibilities a stage manager has, he must be extremely organized and able to find information quickly. Legible handwriting is a must, as the master script must be easy to read by another person should the stage manager fall ill and require a replacement. Stage managers must be experts at dealing with a variety of personality types and remain even-tempered even when others are excitable or upset, which happens frequently as the tension mounts near show times. Good stage managers are able to anticipate the needs of the production and the director and carry out tasks without being asked.

Environment

Stage managers are needed in a wide variety of performance environments. In addition to more traditional theater venues, summer stock theaters often require extended outdoor work. Traveling shows may require long hours on a tour bus and a heavy workload after very little sleep. Stage managers may also be used for touring music acts, which add the element of repeated exposure to high volume sound to the work environment.

Stage managers are involved in many aspects of a live theatrical production. Although a formal education is not a requirement to become a stage manager, earning a bachelor’s degree in theater is recommended. Not only does a degree increase employability within a competitive market, but classes within a theater program can teach valuable skills in topics such as stage management, directing and human resources in theater.

Essential Information

A stage manager is the linchpin of a theater production, the liaison between the actors on the stage and all of the behind-the-scenes crews who bring a script to life. This individual, or in some cases team of individuals, coordinates and organizes the production from beginning rehearsals and into production. Once the show goes live, the stage manager plays a vital role in the smooth execution of each performance.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Recommended Education Bachelor’s degree in theater
Projected Job Growth 5% from 2018-2028 for producers and directors*
Median Salary (2019) $41,306 annually**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **PayScale.com

Job Description

No stage performance would ever make it to opening night without the guidance and supervision of a stage manager. During rehearsals, the stage manager keeps vigilant notes about any changes to the script, artistic ideas that arise, technical issues that need to be communicated to the props or costume department, and any other details that need to be addressed in the course of developing the show. Keeping the cast on schedule, prompting forgotten lines, communicating between management, directors and the cast, and dealing with the administrative side of scheduling and maintaining contact information all fall under the stage manager’s job description.

As the show moves to the actual stage, the demands of the stage manager increase. Safety becomes a major concern when sets, lighting and rigging come into play, as do an additional batch of cues that the stage manager is responsible for. During the performance the stage manager ‘calls’ the show, alerting actors and crew of upcoming changes via a prompt script that he or she is responsible for maintaining. Once the show has opened, the stage manager also is responsible for conducting and distributing performance reports for each department.

Educational Requirements

There is no absolute degree requirement for a stage manager position, but as in many fields, post-secondary education can only help one’s chances in the job market. A baccalaureate degree in theater performance or theater management would well prepare a graduate for a career as a stage manager.

The importance of a thorough understanding of the nuances of performance can’t be underestimated when managing a staged production. Additionally, a working knowledge of sets, costumes and lighting is advantageous to effectively act as a liaison between the myriad crews in backstage production. It’s particularly important to study direction, since part of a stage manager’s job can be to rehearse and prepare understudies.

A student in a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts program in Theater Management would find the following kinds of classes helpful toward a career in stage management:

  • Stage Management
  • Theater Management
  • The Art of Directing
  • Dramatic Criticism
  • Management in Stage Production
  • Human Resources Issues in Theater

Career Information

Stage manager positions are rarely full-time, salaried positions. Instead, stage managers work on one show at a time. He or she may well be looking for another job at the same time, knowing that the current show isn’t going to run forever. The rare exception to this show-hopping existence is permanent work in regional theater.

According to the Stage Manager’s Association, most beginning stage managers should expect to spend a few years becoming established enough in the industry to rely solely on stage managing jobs for income (www.stagemanagers.org). Payscale.com reported in August 2019 that stage managers’ median salary was $41,306.

While not mandatory, a degree in theater can be valuable to an aspiring stage manager. In addition to excellent management skills, a stage manager must have an understanding of any technical issues that might arise, as well as the confidence to offer artistic input, criticism and direction to performers and stagehands. This is rarely a full time position, and many stage managers work job-to-job.

How to Be a Stage Manager

As any professional stage manager will tell you, there’s no single, right way to navigate the road to success. But the USC School of Dramatic Arts just made it a little easier for aspiring stage managers with the nation’s first named professorship in stage management.

The renowned Southern California university announced Wednesday, June 8, that thanks to a generous $1.5 million donation from the Pollitt family (Teresa and Byron and their daughter, USC Dramatic Arts alumna Alice M. Pollitt), it’s developed its very first endowed professorship.

“The Pollitt Family’s generosity enables the USC School of Dramatic Arts to immediately strengthen and enhance the training we provide stage managers, and underscores the importance of these artists on a national level,” Dean of USC Dramatic Arts David Bridel said in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful to Alice, Teri, and Byron for this transformative gift.”

With this new professorship, USC is able to hire a leading industry pro to join the school’s community and mentor students while strengthening its stage management curriculum. The hope is that this new curriculum will set students up for post-grad success. Alice M. Pollitt, for one, has already gotten a taste of such success. Having interned while an undergraduate at USC with Disney Theatrical Group and worked on the 2015 Tony Awards, and on Broadway productions like “American Psycho” and “Noises Off,” the 2015 BFA Stage Management graduate will next be the production stage manager on “Lisa and Leonardo” in the New York Musical Festival.

In order to foster professional successes among other graduates, finding the right candidate to fill the endowed professorship role is of the utmost importance. The search for this new USC faculty member will commence in the fall of 2016.

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How to Be a Stage ManagerStage managers typically provide practical and organizational support to the director, actors, designers, stage crew and technicians throughout the production process. They also are the director’s representative during performances, making sure that the production runs smoothly.

The role of the stage manager is especially important to the director in rehearsals. Here the director and the stage manager work side by side, with the stage manager recording the director’s decisions about blocking and notes for the actors, keeping track of logistical and scheduling details and communicating what goes on in rehearsals to the rest of the team. This enables the director to concentrate his or her full attention on directing.

Stage managers have several key responsibilities and tasks to perform in each phase of a production, including:

  • scheduling and running rehearsals
  • communicating the director’s wishes to designers and crafts people
  • coordinating the work of the stage crew
  • calling cues and possibly actors’ entrances during performance
  • overseeing the entire show each time it is performed

In conjunction with the director, the stage manager determines the scheduling of all rehearsals and makes sure everyone involved is notified of rehearsal times, meetings, costume/wig fittings and coaching sessions. During the rehearsal phase, stage managers also:

  • mark out the dimensions of the set on the floor of the rehearsal hall
  • make sure rehearsal props and furnishings are available for the actors
  • attend all rehearsals
  • notify the designers and crafts people of changes made in rehearsal

In rehearsals the stage manager also records all blocking, plus all the light, sound and set change cues, in a master copy of the script called the prompt book. The information in the prompt book also allows the stage manager to run the technical rehearsals, calling each technical cue in turn to determine precisely how it needs to be timed to coordinate with the onstage action.

The stage manager and the technical director also work out a smooth and efficient plan for the stage crew to follow during set changes. Furniture and prop plans for complicated sets are drawn up by the stage manager and technical designer to show exactly where the furniture and props are to be positioned on stage at the beginning of each scene and sometimes in the wings.

Once the show opens, the director’s work is essentially complete. Now it’s the stage manager’s job to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the director intended time after time, until the production closes.

Sample Job Description & Duties

Assistant Stage Manager

Often needed in larger productions, when the stage manager is out in the house, the ASM is often stationed just offstage to facilitate communication between the stage manager, crew and actors, as well as ensuring safety. The ASM often helps with complex set changes, quick changes offstage, or preparing the stage for performance.

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How to Be a Stage Manager

The role of the stage manager is a vital one in the theatrical process. Stage managers truly make the show happen. Without a great stage manager, rehearsals go awry, cues don’t happen, and the show grinds to a halt. Good stage managers are hard to find, but those students are out there.

If you’re looking for your next stage manager, look for students with the following five qualities:

Organized

First and foremost, a stage manager must be organized. They need to know what is being rehearsed and when, who is needed at each rehearsal, and how much time is left in rehearsal. Artistic staff members get super-busy and it is easy for them to lose track of time. The stage manager is essential for keeping everyone on track and on time. Stage managers are also generally in charge of ensuring that the necessary rehearsal materials are available when they’re needed, such as CD players/MP3 docks, extra pencils, or first aid supplies.

Confident

When providing missed lines, assigning pre-show tasks, or calling the actual show from the booth, stage managers must have confidence in themselves and their teams to make sure the show goes on. Stage managers are leaders. They need to have confidence to solve problems on the fly and know what to do in an emergency. Student stage managers must also have the confidence in themselves to know when to ask for help – and then to actually do it, rather than just struggling on their own. There is no shame in asking for help. How else will students learn?

Assertive

Part of a stage manager’s job is to assist with administrative tasks such as keeping actors and artistic staff on task, taking attendance, and calling absent cast and crew members to find out where they are. These tasks can be uncomfortable, especially if a student stage manager is calling one of their peers or a parent to ask why the cast member isn’t there, or telling a teacher that they have gone over time and need to move on to the next task. This doesn’t mean being rude or bossy – being able to communicate clearly and in an assertive manner ensures that rehearsals run smoothly.

Remember that being confident and being assertive is not the same thing! A student can believe in themselves and their abilities/knowledge, but have trouble being able to express that towards others. A student can be confident without being assertive, but cannot be assertive without having confidence. Being assertive takes practice, and being a stage manager definitely helps to grow that skill!

Good listener and observer

A huge part of the stage manager’s role is to take detailed blocking and technical notes during rehearsals. They must watch and listen carefully to the director, musical director, choreographer, fight director, and so on, and record everything (in pencil, because there WILL be changes!) in the stage manager’s prompt book – entrances, exits, placements of set pieces, props and people, cues for lights, sound effects, music, and more. That way, when the scene is re-visited (and the actors and director inevitably forget what was originally blocked), the stage manager can make corrections.

Tactful

We’ve established that a stage manager needs to be organized, confident, assertive, and a good listener and observer. On top of all of that, they need to be tactful – knowing how to behave and respond in delicate or difficult situations. It’s a balancing act for sure. When things get stressful and tasks need to be done, it is definitely easier to use sarcasm and sass when speaking to others, particularly when students are in a leadership role – they may think that this demonstrates their authority.

But speaking with kindness and positivity while also being firm and honest is important. In order to receive respect, students must first demonstrate respect towards others. And speaking to their peers and teachers in a tactful and thoughtful manner is one way of doing that. When it comes down to it, students need to treat others the way they’d like to be treated. And a great stage manager does this at all times.

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.

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How to Be a Stage Manager

Stage managers plan and coordinate rehearsals and performances, including supervision of the plotting and rehearsal of technical cues, props, stage elements and moving scenery.

Personal requirements for a Stage Manager

  • Practical and organised
  • Artistic flair
  • Authority and tact
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Stage Manager

To become a stage manager you usually need to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in stage management, theatre, drama, technical production or performance, in addition to extensive industry experience. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Applicants may be required to attend an interview, audition or workshop. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Stage Manager

  • Analyse and interpret the script, plans, models and designs for all relevant technical and production information
  • Consult with management, designers and the director to determine requirements for rehearsal and performance
  • Undertake administrative duties, including prioritising tasks and determining production resources such as time, finance, personnel and physical space
  • Prepare for rehearsals and obtain all required resources, such as props, costumes and settings
  • Prepare and distribute all necessary rehearsal, production and performance documentation
  • Prepare the prompt copy, which defines actors’ calls and movements, technical cues, stage elements, props and moving scenery, and front-of-house communications
  • Organise the rehearsal space and process, including final transfer to the venue
  • Supervise and direct backstage staff and members of the stage management team
  • Give cues for lights, sound, cast entrances, moving scenery and other performance elements
  • Ensure production resources are stored safely.

Tasks

  • Supervises the positioning of scenery, props and the lighting and sound equipment..

Working conditions for a Stage Manager

Stage managers work in all types of live performances. They work closely with production departments, venue management, creative teams and performers. Stage managers may be required to travel extensively. They work long hours, including nights and weekends.

Employment Opportunities for a Stage Manager

Stage managers are employed by film, TV and theatre production companies. As with other jobs in the arts industry, employment is generally on a contract basis and runs for the duration of the particular production. The demand for stage managers generally depends on the level of funding available for production. This is a highly competitive field.

Specializations

Stage Manager

Stage managers plan and coordinate rehearsals and performances, including supervision of the plotting and rehearsal of technical cues, props, stage elements and moving scenery.

How to be a Deputy Stage Manager (DSM)

Transcript:

Interviewers: Hi, I’m Martin and I’m Megan and we’re here with.

Kat: Kat, I’m the DSM Deputy Stage Manager on Holes. The production in the Royal & Derngate.

Interviewer: So would you describe your job in one sentence for me Kat?

Kat: It’s quite a long sentence. So during rehearsals I document everything that’s happening and where everything is and where everybody is meant to be on and offstage. I remind the Actors of their lines and then during shows I tell the light, sound, flies, stage crew, anybody else when to do their cues.

Interviewer: What path did you take to working in stage management?

Kat: So I was really interested in theatre growing up and joined youth theatres and things. Then I went to university and studied performance studies and then I ended up working here at the Royal & Derngate while I was at university in front of house and on box office and I heard they needed someone to chaperone children on shows. So I said ‘okay I’ll give that a go’ and I was interested in backstage stuff a little bit but I didn’t know a huge amount of it and I’d actually never heard of stage management. So while I was doing that I spoke to the Stage Manager and she kind of said ‘what are you interested in?’ and I said ‘I’m not really sure’, she said ‘do some work experience with us’ and I did and I loved it. So then I went to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and did an MA master’s in stage management.

Interviewer: Is there a best thing or a favourite thing that you love or a favourite aspect of your job?

Kat: I guess the variety. There’s no two productions that are the same, no two groups of people the same. Even within the show, no two days are the same and so I really love that. Because I work freelance so I work all over the country. I really like that variety and also just constantly learning new things and about new things, yeah the variety.

What does a Deputy Stage Manager do?

Transcript:

So, this is my prompt copy which is the show’s Bible, which is a script of the show. Then it has all cues in it, which at the moment because we’re in technical rehearsals and they will move they’re all on post-it notes, so that I can move them around. We also write down the blocking, so write down what everyone’s doing at every point in the show.

So I will wear a headset in the show so I can speak to everybody, but also sometimes use cue lights. So for this, I have one for the Flies in case their headsets go down. So I would do that to tell them to stand by and then that to tell them to do their cue. I’ve got a microphone here to do announcements to back of house or to tell Actors to come to the stage or what we’re up to.

Then up here I have a couple of screens because I can’t always from where I’m sitting see everything that I need to do to cue. So I’ve got the monitor to get more of a front on view. Then this one is infrared. So if we go to blackout and I need to for instance wait for the Actors to be clear to bring the lights back up again. I can see when that is because I can see them on the infrared.

On this show, I’m actually operating the sound. This is my go button. So when I want a sound cue to start I press the Go button. This is the list of the sound cues. So that will be a list so I can see which sound cues are coming up so I can make sure I’m ready for the right one.

How to Be a Stage Manager

What Do You Do After Being a Stage Manager? | brokeGIRLrich

Stage management can be a pretty rough gig. It’s difficult to find any work at all and even when you do, the vast majority of it is stipend work that is wildly underpaid. As a matter of fact, if you are offered a stipend and then divide it based on a 40 hour work week (which is almost certainly a lie, it will probably be a minimum of 48 hours, because the theater world doesn’t think it needs a 2 day weekend, and the lie is furthered because as the stage manager you will likely do at least one extra hour of paperwork, and your lunch break, if you get one, will be shorter because you’ll need to have the room reset and ready to go for when the actors return).

How to Be a Stage Manager

$50 per week for rehearsals that are 5 days a week. Even if you’re only working 1 hour each of those days (which I’d wager you are not), you’d be making less than Chicago minimum wage, which is $10.50.

Additionally, while lots of other jobs can multitask (directors and designers take on more than one show at a time, actors’ schedules usually include days they aren’t called and can pick up more work), the stage manager is there 100% of the time. If you’re very lucky and well connected, you could be in rehearsals for one show and running another show in the evening, but that is really rare.

While there are some decent jobs you can land as a resident stage manager, most gigs that pay a livable wage are on the road, which can also wear you down. Maybe you’re sick of all the travel. Maybe you want to start a family. Maybe you need to move home because of something happening with your family. There are a lot of reasons to move on.

How to Be a Stage Manager

Stipend is just another word for screwed. Although as this breaks down to around $9.50/hr (not including that vague “small hours” notice) it actually pays pretty well, as far as stage management gigs go. Good thing any idiot can be a stage manager and it’s not highly specialized skill or anything.

So what can you do once you’re ready to move on to a life that has some more balance and a better financial bottom line?

I asked a friend and former colleague, Ron, what prompted his move out of stage management:

If you’re as stage manager reading this, it should nearly go without saying that you can shift into the real world pretty well. You can apply for people management jobs because you’ve already handled the craziest of them all. You can apply for office jobs because you’re very competent with a computer and analyzing source materials (scripts) and breaking them down into smaller, more useful paperwork (every plot you’ve ever made).

Some professions to look into include:

  • Event Management
  • Wedding Planning
  • Receptionist
  • Accountant
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Property Management
  • Project Management

There are also a few gigs in the arts that do pay a little better.

Production Management

Most large production venues have a Production Manager. This job will still have longer hours than your usual 9 to 5, but it does also come with a pay bump that actually matches real world wages. This is also a good way to get exciting things like health benefits and retirement saving packages. As a matter of fact, both companies I did brief Production Management stints had, respectively a 401k (vested after 3 years – I made it to 1) and a pension (yup, that says pension – vested after 5 years, again, I made it to 1).

To be a happy Production Manager, you really need to be comfortable with the technical side of running a theater. You become the liaison point for any outside companies booked in the space and any productions produced by the venue. You answer all of their technical needs, create and confirm production schedules, set the necessary crew calls, hire crew and any other number of tasks to make sure the theater keeps running smoothly.

House Management

If you were always more of a people person than a technical person, moving into a position like House Management might be more your speed. These managers oversee the Front of House. They manage the ushers and anyone else maintaining the lobby and overseeing the patrons.

Teaching

In many states, if you already have a Bachelor’s degree, with an additional year or two of college, you can find programs that will give you your teaching certificate and you can become a high school theater teacher.

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How to Be a Stage Manager

There are two ways to become a stage manager, and each has distinct advantages as well as drawbacks. One way is to learn by doing, working your way through the theater ranks as an intern. The other way is to go to college and receive a degree in theater while also getting practical experience. In both cases, you should plan on a lot of long hours and hard work.

How to Be a Stage ManagerA stage manager supervises the backstage crew and cast and keeps things running smoothly.

The stage manager is a crucial member of the team in a theatrical production. He or she supervises the backstage crew while also ensuring that the needs of the cast are met. A good stage manager keeps things running so smoothly that most people aren’t even aware of what he or she is doing, and this person is prepared to deal with a wide range of situations, from an actor who is missing in action to a damaged light board. Stage managers need to be flexible, quick thinkers, and a good one can command a very high salary for his or her services.

The most important thing to ask when you are considering a career in stage management is whether or not the career is right for you. Stage managers work very hard, and the job is often extremely stressful. They must be able to deal with a wide range of personalities and situations with calm, and they must be willing to do any job, no matter how menial it seems. Even the best stage managers mop a stage now and then, or drop off someone’s dry cleaning. People who are firm but polite and extremely organized, while being levelheaded and quick on their feet, tend to do well as stage managers, while people with fiery personalities and a lack of organization may not do so well.

Traditionally, stage managers have learned through apprenticeship, often starting young. The advantage of an apprenticeship is that it allows a person to learn every aspect of backstage work; a good stage manager is capable of operating a light board, handling sets, dealing with the production’s sound, managing props, and so forth. The best way to get these skills is through doing them, working your way up to an assistant stage management position and ultimately becoming a stage manager.

While learning through internships, trainees may not get the best wages, but they sometimes have a chance to work with very talented directors, actors, and theater crews, and they can establish a network of connections that could be very useful later. Ideally, trainees will work their way up on the theater circuit, starting out in community theater and ultimately ending up in professional theater organizations. This allows them to pursue union status, which can be very useful for a professional stage management career.

Becoming a stage manager by getting a degree in theater also has its advantages. Some theaters like to work with college-educated individuals because they are well rounded, with a broad depth of knowledge about the history of the theater. Most colleges with stage management programs also offer plenty of opportunities for learning in the college theater, and they encourage students to pursue internships with theaters in the area to get lots of practical, hands-on experience. A college degree in theater also allows someone who wants to become a stage manager to pursue a master’s in fine arts, which can be useful if he or she wants to teach.

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

When it comes to a stage show, how well the people backstage flow can make or break a production. If no one knows when they need to come on or when a light needs to change, you could have an empty stage. But not if you have the right stage manager! Stage manager duties are important in keeping a show on its feet and we’re here to tell you why and how.

Stage Manager Duties

A stage manager encompasses a whole show from the production meetings to the rehearsal period, opening night and beyond. Here are the seven main duties of a stage manager everyone involved in a production should know.

Production and meetings

When a show starts the director will have a vision; and so will his lighting, props, costumes, set and sound designers. A stage manager’s job is to create a ‘bible’ of all this information. Throughout the process, this book will help them keep track of all the information that goes into the show.

In order to get this information and allow the director to discuss the show with their production heads, a stage manager also schedules meetings and takes a roll call of these meetings. In these meetings, the production crew will discuss everything from how a costume looks in certain lighting to what day the tech rehearsals will be on. Stage managers work to coordinate the shows needs so that the process runs smoothly.

Scheduling and running rehearsals

Once the show has started to be planned out, the actors come into play. During this process the stage manager is in charge of the following:

  • All daily rehearsal schedules
  • Getting the rehearsal space
  • Setting up rehearsal props and furniture
  • Using a prompt book to help prompt actors with their lines

Getting a rehearsal space ready with an outline of the set’s ground plan is critical. As the production is created keeping cast and crew in the loop about what they will have to work with is important.

A stage manager must all take notes for the director in order to keep track of subjects he wishes to speak about at a later date.

Recordkeeping

During the pre-production process, we can’t stress enough, there is a lot of information going around. Plans for entertainment rigging , costume measurements for the actors, props discussed in the production notes, and an account of expenses are all processes that the stage manager has to keep track of. A stage manager’s ‘bible’ becomes the go-to place for everyone involved in a production to reference what they need, so it’s essential that it’s kept well.

Communicate with the stage crew

While going through rehearsals a stage manager is in charge of reporting back to the technical director and his crew. The stage manager communicates how the rehearsal process is going. If there are any updates to a set, costume or lighting that needs to happen, they let the crew know. This strong communication will carry over to when the show has opened as well.

After a show opening, a stage manager and their assistant stage managers will keep direct lines of communication with the stage crew. All parties will work together to make sure the show continues to run smoothly. Report all backstage events —from ripped costumes to broken set pieces— to a stage manager.

Call the show’s cues

The lights are set and the curtain is rising, it’s time for the show! But how does the crew know when the curtain goes up? How do they know when the lights go on? How does an actor know when it’s safe to go on stage? That’s the job of a stage manager.

During a show, the stage manager calls the show cues. This can start with the music that plays while people are sitting and goes all the way until the curtain lowers after the bows. Every light, sound, and actor cue is set up by the stage manager and physically called. If the production is big enough, a stage manager may use assistant stage managers to be their eyes and ears in places they can’t go so that they can tell their assistants when to call a cue to a cast or crew member.

Maintain the run of the show

As discussed previously, keeping communication open with the stage crew is critical in keeping the show running smoothly. Once a show has opened its the stage manager’s main duty to keep the production going.

If an actor is sick they call their stand in. A stage manager coordinates with the costume department on how long it will take to repair a ripped costume and if they will need a stand-in in the meantime. Stage managers keep the role of everyone involved in the show and make sure they show up on time and are in their places on time.

Problem-solver

If at any point during a show an issue occurs, it’s the stage manager’s job to figure out how to fix it. If a cast or crew member is hurt in the performance space, its a stage manager’s job to figure out what to do, if the show must go on, or if the show has to stop. Keeping a cool head at all times is one of the major job skills a stage manager must have.

Safety is a Stage Manager’s Duty

Safety is always the number one priority for a show, but as the main player in how a show runs, it extremely important for a stage manager. One of the best ways to keep your cast and crew safe is with the proper entertainment rigging supplies . Get the best rigging at Silver State Wire Rope and Rigging. Our staff is on hand at all times to discuss your best rigging solutions so give us a call !

Salary MPR/UPR + TLR 1B

Full Time, Permanent

Start date January 2020

Not suitable for newly qualified teachers (NQT)

Apply by 7 Oct 2020

Job posted 23 Sep 2020

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Job Title: Key Stage Manager

Start Date: January 2020

Salary: MPR/UPR + TLR 1B

We are seeking to appoint an ambitious Key stage Manager who is dedicated and keen to join our dynamic, enthusiastic and inspirational Pastoral team. The successful candidate will be accountable for leading, managing and developing a Key Stage to secure consistently good and outstanding pastoral guidance and support, ensuring that students make excellent progress. This post should be seen as an opportunity to play a significant part in the next stage of the development at Reddish Vale High School and as excellent experience for a candidate with extensive pastoral or department experience. The post holder will work as a key member of the Middle Leadership group to help craft the strategic and pastoral direction of the school. This is an exciting new role within the pastoral team and the successful candidate:

  • Will be a successful classroom practitioner who is able to model outstanding teaching to others.
  • Will maintain strategic overview of students’ progress, attendance, achievement and well-being
  • Will establish a climate for learning which supports students’ personal development and well-being in order to increase their independence

Reddish Vale High School is part of South Manchester Learning Trust, expressed simply the trust is committed to personal growth and academic excellence for all pupils. At Reddish Vale High School, committed staff provide a positive and nurturing environment that inspires a passion for learning, so that every pupil progresses and thrives. Our pupils are encouraged to achieve to their best personally, academically, physically and socially. High expectations and standards are driven through teamwork and underpinned through the school’s core values of, Respect, Aspiration, Determination and Independence.

  • A friendly, supportive and hugely talented whole staff team
  • A school with an exciting future and history of continuous improvement
  • Outstanding and supportive leadership at all levels
  • An inclusive learning ethos
  • An opportunity to be at the heart of a new, emerging multi academy trust.

If this sounds like the job for you then come and join us. Please visit our website for further information www.reddish.stockport.sch.uk. Completed applications should returned to [email protected] quoting the post title and your name in the subject line. Please note that CVs will not be accepted.

Closing date: 8am Wednesday 7th October 2020

Interview date: w/c 12th October 2020

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

How to Be a Stage Manager

Jeff Fusco / Contributor / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

A tour manager is a person who runs the show when a band is on tour. Tour managers are responsible for making sure a concert tour runs smoothly. Their jobs involve looking after the tour finances, making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be—and generally making sure that everyone on tour is on task.

Tour manager jobs often also involve dealing with the personal issues of the other people on the tour and generally making sure that everyone on tour is happy.

What Does a Music Tour Manager Do?

On a small indie tour, the tour manager may be the same person as the band manager. Tour managers may double as the driver or be a road crew member. They may even be the most responsible member of the band who is good with organization and management duties.

A tour manager may have started as a friend of the band who was along for the ride. These kinds of tour managers often take on a workhorse, everyman kind of role, reacting to whatever comes up, solving problems, and putting out fires.

However, on big-budget tours, the role of tour manager is a lot more formal. There may be a team of people in place running the tour, and the tour manager’s job and responsibilities become more defined. For instance, if there is a full road crew in place, the tour manager makes sure they are doing their job and are where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there. ­But, on well-financed concert tours, they don’t have to look after the gear themselves. These tour managers act more as supervisors to the team working for the band.

Indie Tour Managers vs. Big Budget Tour Managers

Like many jobs in the music industry, there is a big divide between the work done by tour managers on smaller tours and tour managers on big-budget tours. But here are a few of the basic aspects of the job, which encompass most of the behind the scenes business of a tour.

These responsibilities can include:

  • Confirming Reservations;
  • Managing Tour Finances;
  • Getting everyone to where they need to be on time;
  • Dealing with promoters, venue managers, ticket agents, and the like;
  • Confirming Show Times.

On larger tours, the job of tour manager might be split between a few people. For instance, there may be a tour accountant to manage the finances and someone else managing the road crew. But there will always be one person with the ultimate responsibility and decision-making power to whom these additional managers report.

Tour Manager As Tour Mom (or Dad)

In addition to a tour manager’s specific duties, there are less easy to define but very important aspects of the job. A tour manager is the one who needs to help manage all of the emotional ups and downs and demands of life on the road. It falls to the tour manager to try to make everyone happy. Whether one of the musicians is feeling fed up and threatening to walk out on tour, or if the band decides they want an ice cream sundae in the middle of the night. Touring is extremely difficult work. It is physically and emotionally draining, and the tour manager needs to keep everyone on track, healthy, happy, and ready to do their jobs.

Salaries for Tour Managers Vary

The pay for a tour manager depends very much on the size of the tour. The fee structure is normally a base salary plus expenses and a daily stipend for incidental expenses. The profitability of the tour is a major factor in determining how much exactly a tour manager gets paid. When tour managers are just starting and trying to build a reputation, they may take work on small tours for expenses only. But tour managers for large, highly profitable tours are paid a generous base salary. Pay should be negotiated in advance of the tour and factored into the tour budget.

How to Find Tour Manager Jobs

Many tour managers build a client base through word of mouth. They may start working for friends’ bands on small tours and then find new jobs from recommendations. Alternatively, tour management companies, and sometimes crew companies, have a staff of tour managers ready for hire. The musicians’ manager, the publishing label, or the band’s agent may hire the tour manager.

There are a lot of perks to being a tour manager. You get to travel extensively and see some great shows. However, it is also a great deal of responsibility. To be a good tour manager, you have to be able to calmly, and cooly juggles the demands of a large group of people. As well, as being able to fulfill requests that may sometimes seem unreasonable. The difficulty of the job always depends on the group of people you are with on the road.

As a tour manager, you are ultimately the one responsible for seeing that the tour moves from show to show without a problem. So, you can’t engage in most of the partying that typically happens on the road. Although everyone is on tour to work, the tour manager is the one person who can never really take a night off.

If you are organized and think you can handle the demands of the road, however, working as a tour manager can be a fun and rewarding job.

How to Be a Stage Manager

In order to become a professional in any field, one must be dedicated and true to the cause. The field of stage is indeed a vast one and has been around for ages. There are many roles in acting as well as the production and technical sides of the field.

Stage manager is one of the jobs that is reasonably paying and provides an opportunity for a person to be involved in the scheme of things in a thorough manner. If you move in the right direction, it will not be a tough task.

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Instructions

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Education

The first thing to do is to seek education. It will not be a bad idea if you take some formal education in stage acting. This will help you in knowing how the whole process works. Also, if you have management education, that will be a bonus since a stage manager has to be able to manage people well. You may consider a degree in one of the two fields since it will help you in the longer term.

Hands on Training

Once you have education in the field and are aware of the basic working, you should get some hands on training as well. You can take a dig at acting or simply apply for an internship in the behind the scenes of a stage. This experience will be extremely helpful for you in learning the various nuances that are associated with the craft and will reflect well at your resume as well.

Improve Skills

Keep on improving your skills with time. As the time goes on, your resume should grow too and you can move up the ranks of stage management. Make sure that you learn each and every craft within the trade well so that you can eventually move to the highest level.

Develop the Right Attitude

Along with gaining experience and getting promoted, building the right attitude is also very important. You need to be able to manage well and in a manner that commands respects from others and offers the same to them. Make sure that you are able to control matters when problems take place.

Apply

Whenever there is a job posting for a stage manager at a community stage, do apply. Keep an eye and you should be able to get there in a reasonable amount of time.

The Stage Manager Kit

How to Be a Stage Manager

Imagine a magician’s bottomless bag of tricks or a mother’s purse stuffed with tissues, band-aids and everything else needed for a child’s emergency. That will give you an idea of the stage manager’s kit. It’s another type of emergency bag, but this one is full of everything the stage manager needs to handle the unexpected, in this case, whatever may happen during a rehearsal or performance.

A stage manager’s kit reflects all the aspects of his job responsibilities. Since stage management covers the technical side, as well as dealing with the people involved in the production, stage managers have quite a varied set of supplies in their kits. They also need to have a portable office that they can take to rehearsals, backstage, into the control booth and out of the theater for meetings. And they need to be prepared for minor medical needs and emergencies, as required by Actor’s Equity, the performer’s union.

Of course, the kits vary, but here are some items you’re likely to find in a kit:

  • Medical supplies: First aid kit, tweezers, ice packs, eye-wash, cough drops, aspirin, band-aids, saline, antacid, Ace bandages and pain relievers
  • Office supplies: Pencils, pens, markers, erasers, pencil sharpener, pushpins, ruler, file folders, hole punch, paper clips, highlighters, sticky notes, legal pads, envelopes, rubber bands, binder clips, dictionary, compass, protractor, glue stick
  • Convenience items: Small sewing kit, tissues, bobby pins, nail clippers, nail file, scissors, safety pins, breath mints, spare change
  • Stage supplies: 50-foot measuring tape, straight line and chalk, spare batteries, flashlight, electrical tape, spike tape, gaffers tape, glow tape, masking tape, duct tape, matches, stop watch, digital camera with USB cord for computer download, extension cord, t-square, string, clip-on lamp with dimmer switch
  • Tools: Screwdriver set, hammer, small tool kit, wrench, work gloves, utility knife, hack saw, wire cutters, small level, assortment of wood screws, nails and eyes

That’s a lot to fit into a single art box or tackle box, so stage managers often keep stage supplies and tools in a separate toolbox. They may also move the office supplies into a briefcase or office bag. However they organize it, the stage manager’s kit goes wherever he does.

Does becoming a stage manager sound like the career for you? Keep reading to find out the training you’ll need and how to build your resume.

I’m in 10th grade and i might hold the position of stage manager for my schools big musical. I have a lot of theatre experience but I’ve never been a stage manager. I know the gist of it but i’m not sure how to be a good, organized and respected Stage manager. This is a huge position of responsibility and respect. please help

1 Answer

How to Be a Stage Manager

Stage management is all about organization. Shadow the director and take a note of every decision they make. In rehearsals, you should take down all of the blocking. If you don’t have one given to you, get a 3-ring binder and make photocopies of pages of the script, one-sided only, with lots of marginal space, and add some filler paper at the back. You are responsible for keeping a record of all the decisions that get made about who goes where, so have a shorthand system to keep track of it all in the margins (e.g. if Hamlet walks to upstage left on a certain line, you write H –> USL next to that line). When all the actors and even the director forget what’s supposed to happen on that line, you’re the one to tell them. You should also have a contact sheet of all the cast and crew on the show because you’ll be riding herd on them all.

Likewise, record costume changes, props that are needed on the set and when, all that kind of stuff. You’ll be coordinating the props managers and costume managers to be sure that the actors have exactly what they need when they need it during the performance. You also need to know all the sound and light cues (usually they’re numbered, and the sound and lighting people have a list of numbered cues that they work through).

When it’s time for the performance, the director’s job will be to sit in the audience and do nothing (of course, in high school the director may be more hands-on than that, but in real theater the director’s job is OVER on opening night). You take over as director when the show goes live. The stage manager is normally backstage with a headset, overseeing the props and costumes and set changes and calling out sound and light cues to the tech booth. “Light cue number five ready. light cue number five. GO.” You spend the show saying stuff like that into your headset at the right moments and putting out fires backstage when the prima donna lead actress can’t get her dress zipped up for act three or the actor who plays the doddering old man can’t find his cane or the stage hand starts throwing up.

You’re absolutely right, it’s a big job that requires lots of organization and lots of coordination, and tends to be one of the “unsung heroes” of the theater, but it’s a great job if you have the head for it.