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

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.

Date: Apr 2, 2021

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Company: Herc Rentals

Req #: 24423

Herc Rentals Inc. is a premier, full-service equipment rental firm – providing our customers the equipment, services and solutions they need to achieve optimal performance safely, efficiently and effectively. A pioneer of the equipment rental industry, Herc Rentals continues to evolve and grow through technological innovations, expanded product offerings and value-added services and consultative solutions to support its customers’ projects.

With more than 55 years of equipment rental expertise, approximately 4,900 employees and approximately 270 company-operated locations across North America, Herc Rentals serves a broad range of end markets, including construction; industrial operations, refineries and petrochemical operations; governmental entities and contractors; disaster recovery and remediation; infrastructure; railroad operations; utilities; film, television, live entertainment and special event production; agricultural operations; and facilities management..

Short Description

The primary focus of a Stage Manager will be to act as the liaison between Studio Operations and Production and is responsible for professional management of Studio facility. Must be proactive, have a working knowledge of production departments, and establish and maintain working relationship with production crew. Problem solving and multi-tasking issues that involve Operations, Production, Facilities, Security and Safety are overseen by the Stage Manager. Stage Managers oversee production requests, vendor’s services, stage technical use, stage and facility logistics, facility use and a variety of clerical duties.

Responsibilities

  • Provide excellent public relations and customer service skills as liaison of studio status with studio staff and multiple productions to maintain a quality of service and establish credible working relationships with all production departments, vendors, and tenants
  • Report well-informed information to immediate supervisor on studio activity, problems/potential problems identified, results of efforts, and recommendations for corrections
  • Monitor and maintain a Daily Stage Status report of stage/mill use by production and studio departments
  • Participate in walkthrough inspection of pre and postproduction stage and facilities
  • Participate in stage and studio property production tech scouts
  • Knowledge and experience using production terminology in various production departments
  • Provide guidance on stage process for load in/load out and shooting/pre-light processes
  • Coordinate stage power access and use with Construction and Rigging Electric/Electric departments, conduct safety checks and create power ticket for billing purposes
  • Coordinate HVAC system & red-light bell system
  • Coordinate with Production departments on use of stage, grid loads, stage floor loads and anchoring
  • Coordinate with Production SPFX on Fire Marshall Fire Codes and State Liquid Propane Inspectors on inspections, permits, tests, use, and schedules
  • Coordinate handling, usage and storage of explosives per Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Fire Marshall’s regulation
  • Coordinate hazardous waste and waste management container deliveries, pick-ups, set-up placement, weekly inspection sheet and PO’s
  • Coordinate handling, usage, and storage of liquid propane gas per state regulation
  • Coordinate container and mobile office buildings deliveries, pick-ups, placement documentation
  • Participate in project management of stage needs with studio facilities department
  • Coordinate all office furniture moving for carpet cleaning, requests, needs and changes
  • Assume basic duties for facilities department after hours
  • Coordinate with Studio Operations, productions and Security for traffic control and parking
  • Coordinate briefing with Security Supervisor daily on studio daily activity, concerns, corrections, changes, and special requests
  • Coordinate daily approvals and security notification for Gate access guest lists for Productions and Vendors
  • Review Security Daily Activity Reports, Stage Hot Lock Logs, Studio activity and Schedules
  • Coordinate with Security in case of emergencies, assists as the liaison to First Responders
  • Will obtain and maintain training certifications – Ariel and Forklift, OSHA, Hazmat, FSA, and First Responder
  • Capable of using Microsoft Office for tracking, billing, creating forms and Microsoft Outlook to send, receive and respond to emails

How to be a stage manager

As a stage manager, you’re among some of the most adaptable people on the planet as every project you lead presents new challenges, a unique community of personalities, and urgent situations requiring innovative solutions. Often a freelancer, you’re accustomed to seeking supplemental income, navigating moments of unemployment, and handling the many uncertainties that accompany a career in entertainment. 2020 was chosen to be the Year of the Stage Manager, a grassroots campaign committed to educating people about the profession and celebrating its workers. Many have pointed out it was only natural the year would end up ushering in a pandemic and a performing arts shutdown. Why? Because stage managers are who people look toward to handle the unexpected. Your abilities as a stage manager don’t make this historic moment easy but through your resourcefulness and broad skillset, you can find ways to make professional pivots work for you during the pandemic as many stage managers already have.

With the COVID pause, the natural progression for stage managers was to follow the performing arts into the virtual sphere. Whether it’s a play reading, a cabaret, or a gala, stage managers are handling the logistics and technology. Zoom is delivering more than college classes and makeshift holidays. It’s also acting as the stage while cues are called over FaceTime. Some stage managers are working with companies such as Broadway Unlocked, which has been serving the digital event arena for years–even offering virtual concession lines that allow patrons to briefly connect with one another as though they’re in an actual lobby. If you want to pivot to the virtual space, options are available.

In addition to working online events, many stage managers sought temporary work in unfamiliar areas. Trading in their black clothing for red, many found themselves at retailers such as Target. Some became census enumerators and contact tracers. In these new fields, employers are quickly recognizing the work ethic and initiative inherent in stage managers and are advancing these workers through departments. Others looked to work they were already doing to supplement their arts income and tapped into hobbies they realized could serve their financial needs. Many are making masks and selling them online. Others are working as nannies, arborists, and educators while some are reading tarot cards and hosting sports radio shows.

While COVID may have forced some folks into a temporary career transition, others made the choice to leave stage management permanently, some even before the industry took pause. Nina Trotto went from working in theaters all over the country to becoming a barn manager at a horse farm in upstate New York, where she says her job is surprisingly familiar to the one she knew as a stage manager. Katrina Olson took a job as the senior manager of events and operations for a nonprofit cultural collaborative. She was on the stage management team of a very popular show on Broadway for years before finding her new career that has more of the “heart of downtown theater.” Additionally, Katrina and her partner knew they wanted to start a family, a process that is generally more time consuming for same-sex couples, and the stage management schedule does not allow for repeated doctor visits and the self-care required for fertility treatments.

Even in the performing arts, stage managers encounter people who do not understand their job. It’s universally understood, however, that the show cannot go on without you. It can be hard to imagine communicating your stage management skills to someone hiring in real estate or the insurance industry, but consultants like Deb Sherrer make the transition easier. Once a stage manager herself, Deb knows that the corporate realm would benefit from self-starters who communicate well, manage large groups of people, and can resolve conflict. The trick is speaking the language of the job description. With online applications, bots are often searching for keywords to narrow down pools of candidates making it imperative that you use the employer’s vocabulary. Deb teaches clients to tell their best story and, to do this, examine each of their many attributes in order to quantify their experience for the job they seek. Timely submissions are key in this age of COVID and being able to nimbly respond to a search, without succumbing to panic, is essential.

Despite the opportunities, these times are still challenging. Much of the gig work and entry-level jobs don’t cover the cost of living and rarely provide benefits. With children not in school, guardians must often choose between working and parenting. Any job that requires interfacing with the public carries a risk of contracting COVID and the technology required to learn new software and interact with online events can be cost-prohibitive. Some stage managers are still waiting on unemployment benefits, made complicated by having freelanced in multiple states. Systemic privilege left some better equipped for a long stretch of altered income while marginalized communities are disproportionately affected.

Like any good show hold, this pause is a temporary one. The performing arts have been around for thousands of years and have survived plagues, global conflicts, and economic downfall. Despite the hardships, stage managers are committed to overcoming this moment together and making the industry more equitable and healthier on the other side. By sharing experiences, technology, and opportunities, the community is functioning to serve the collective whole. Per usual, stage managers are working through the break and embracing 2020 as the year in which truly anything is possible.

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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

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.

Date: Apr 2, 2021

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Company: Herc Rentals

Req #: 24423

Herc Rentals Inc. is a premier, full-service equipment rental firm – providing our customers the equipment, services and solutions they need to achieve optimal performance safely, efficiently and effectively. A pioneer of the equipment rental industry, Herc Rentals continues to evolve and grow through technological innovations, expanded product offerings and value-added services and consultative solutions to support its customers’ projects.

With more than 55 years of equipment rental expertise, approximately 4,900 employees and approximately 270 company-operated locations across North America, Herc Rentals serves a broad range of end markets, including construction; industrial operations, refineries and petrochemical operations; governmental entities and contractors; disaster recovery and remediation; infrastructure; railroad operations; utilities; film, television, live entertainment and special event production; agricultural operations; and facilities management..

Short Description

The primary focus of a Stage Manager will be to act as the liaison between Studio Operations and Production and is responsible for professional management of Studio facility. Must be proactive, have a working knowledge of production departments, and establish and maintain working relationship with production crew. Problem solving and multi-tasking issues that involve Operations, Production, Facilities, Security and Safety are overseen by the Stage Manager. Stage Managers oversee production requests, vendor’s services, stage technical use, stage and facility logistics, facility use and a variety of clerical duties.

Responsibilities

  • Provide excellent public relations and customer service skills as liaison of studio status with studio staff and multiple productions to maintain a quality of service and establish credible working relationships with all production departments, vendors, and tenants
  • Report well-informed information to immediate supervisor on studio activity, problems/potential problems identified, results of efforts, and recommendations for corrections
  • Monitor and maintain a Daily Stage Status report of stage/mill use by production and studio departments
  • Participate in walkthrough inspection of pre and postproduction stage and facilities
  • Participate in stage and studio property production tech scouts
  • Knowledge and experience using production terminology in various production departments
  • Provide guidance on stage process for load in/load out and shooting/pre-light processes
  • Coordinate stage power access and use with Construction and Rigging Electric/Electric departments, conduct safety checks and create power ticket for billing purposes
  • Coordinate HVAC system & red-light bell system
  • Coordinate with Production departments on use of stage, grid loads, stage floor loads and anchoring
  • Coordinate with Production SPFX on Fire Marshall Fire Codes and State Liquid Propane Inspectors on inspections, permits, tests, use, and schedules
  • Coordinate handling, usage and storage of explosives per Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Fire Marshall’s regulation
  • Coordinate hazardous waste and waste management container deliveries, pick-ups, set-up placement, weekly inspection sheet and PO’s
  • Coordinate handling, usage, and storage of liquid propane gas per state regulation
  • Coordinate container and mobile office buildings deliveries, pick-ups, placement documentation
  • Participate in project management of stage needs with studio facilities department
  • Coordinate all office furniture moving for carpet cleaning, requests, needs and changes
  • Assume basic duties for facilities department after hours
  • Coordinate with Studio Operations, productions and Security for traffic control and parking
  • Coordinate briefing with Security Supervisor daily on studio daily activity, concerns, corrections, changes, and special requests
  • Coordinate daily approvals and security notification for Gate access guest lists for Productions and Vendors
  • Review Security Daily Activity Reports, Stage Hot Lock Logs, Studio activity and Schedules
  • Coordinate with Security in case of emergencies, assists as the liaison to First Responders
  • Will obtain and maintain training certifications – Ariel and Forklift, OSHA, Hazmat, FSA, and First Responder
  • Capable of using Microsoft Office for tracking, billing, creating forms and Microsoft Outlook to send, receive and respond to emails

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.

Find The Best Stage Manager Jobs For You

Where do you want to work?

Working as a Stage Manager

Wherever you go to a play or musical concert, stage managers are responsible for a large part of your pleasurable experience. They organize the day-to-day activities involved in running a theatre and putting on a show.

A day in the life of a stage manager may include creating rehearsal schedules, meeting with production heads, and communicating with the production crew. He may also be responsible for finding and preparing a rehearsal space. As a stage manager, you’ll also need to keep accurate records of everything from props to the play’s expenses.

Stage managers’ responsibilities are very flexible and depend on whatever the play needs. Much more than a manager, you’ll be a problem solver, fixing issues as they arise and ensuring that the performance stays on course.

There are no specific qualifications for this role. However, you’ll need skills like problem solving and proactivity. Educational background in fields like drama, music, and performing arts may also be an advantage.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a stage manager. For example, did you know that they make an average of $22.78 an hour? That’s $47,391 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 7,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Stage Manager Do

There are certain skills that many stage managers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed creativity, leadership skills and time-management skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a stage manager, we found that a lot of resumes listed 15.8% of stage managers included production staff, while 9.1% of resumes included technical rehearsals, and 7.8% of resumes included stage crew. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn’t even think offered positions related to the stage manager job title. But what industry to start with? Most stage managers actually find jobs in the education and hospitality industries.

How To Become a Stage Manager

If you’re interested in becoming a stage manager, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We’ve determined that 66.8% of stage managers have a bachelor’s degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.7% of stage managers have master’s degrees. Even though most stage managers have a college degree, it’s possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a stage manager. When we researched the most common majors for a stage manager, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor’s degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on stage manager resumes include high school diploma degrees or master’s degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a stage manager. In fact, many stage manager jobs require experience in a role such as assistant stage manager. Meanwhile, many stage managers also have previous career experience in roles such as internship or production assistant.

What is the right job for my career path?

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How to be a stage manager

Despite what actors may say, there are few individuals more important in a theatre production than the stage manager. If you’ve ever seen a play, you have most likely felt the effects of this individual, yet you probably never saw them. Even during the curtain call, the stage manager probably didn’t make an appearance.

That’s because someone still needs to be backstage, making sure the right actors are taking their bows at the right time. And when just about everyone else has gone home, the stage manager is there, making sure everything is ready for the next day.

For some, this seems exhausting and unrewarding. But anyone who has been a stage manager knows that seeing the production come together after so much time and effort is worth it. Here are just some of the reasons the theatre would not function without stage managers:

In the Beginning…

Before a casting call ever goes out, the stage manager is working. They act as an assistant to the director, costume designer, set designer and every other department head. With the director, they plan out the space available, making sure they are utilizing it to its full potential. They are working with the props coordinator to make sure everything that is needed for the play is provided or accessible. Once the stage director has made sure the play can happen, they and the director host casting calls.

Depending on the director, the stage manager may have a lot of say in who gets casted in the production. Once casting is complete, the SM is making sure the stage and other aspects of the theatre are ready for rehearsals.

Time for Rehearsals!

When it comes to rehearsals, the SM’s main job is to make the director’s job easier. They are making sure each actor has the appropriate tools to perform, from props to cues and everything in between. They schedule the rehearsals and make sure each person in the production, including actors, technical, props and other departments, are present as needed.

On the more technical side, the stage manager makes sure nothing the director says goes unnoticed. If an actor is told to be stage left instead of stage right, it is noted. Purple lights instead of blue? In the book. The SM also keeps the master script, making sure all cues, both for actors and technical aspects, are carried out perfectly. This leaves the director to put the finishing touches on the play to make it unique.

The Show Must Go On

Once it’s time to perform the show, the stage manager truly shines. The director steps away and hands the reins over. If you are ever backstage during a play, you will probably spot a stern-looking person with an earpiece and a clipboard, pointing and making sure everything is going smoothly. The SM has devoted their entire life for the past few months to make sure this production runs smoothly; they will do all they can to accomplish that goal.

Because of all they do, the stage manager is often seen as the stage parent. They are stern, but will always take care of the needs of everyone else involved in the play. It is a stressful job, but a highly rewarding one. It is definitely for someone who loves being involved in theatre, but hates the spotlight, someone who is highly organized and enjoys the thrill of seeing the details of a master plan come to fruition. If this sounds like your child, consider enrolling them in our summer camps to get them involved!