The essential skill for theatre Stage Managers is people management, as it is their role to coordinate all aspects of a theatre company to ensure the successful delivery of the performance.
This involves managing rehearsals, actors, technicians, props and costume fittings, as well as liaising with front of house staff and the Director.
A Stage Manager needs to have a good understanding of both the technical and artistic elements of a performance to ensure it is delivered exactly to the Director’s requirements. They will be involved from the rehearsal stage through to the live performances, where they will be on hand to deal with any emergencies or issues that may hinder the show.
Larger productions will typically have a Stage Manager supported by an Assistant Stage Manager. Small shows may just have the Stage Manager working on their own.
Roles vary depending on the Director, but the tasks Stage Managers will typically be expected to carry out include:
- setting up and running rehearsal schedules
- distributing information to other theatre departments
- compiling and operating prompt copy -- also known as the 'prompt script' or 'the book' --
which notes actors' moves and the requirements for props, lighting and sound
- making changes to the set between scene changes, prompting actors and cueing technicians
- running the backstage and onstage areas during performances
- liaising with the Director, Producer, stage personnel and other technical departments
(e.g. costume, lighting, sound, stage crew)
- calling actors for rehearsals and performances
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