Exploring this Job
Take drama classes in school. Get involved in your school theater club and take part in theatrical productions. Learn every aspect you can about putting on a play. Join or volunteer at your local community theater group, summer stock, or dinner theater.
Meet with the director and/or stage manager from a local community or summer stock theater. Tell him or her about your future career aspirations and ask about the possibility of interning or at least acting as an assistant or a runner. You will learn a lot about the job, have some great experience to put on your resume, and make contacts.
The stage manager, or production stage manager or assistant stage manager as the job might be known, takes over the responsibilities of the director in a theatrical production when his or her job is done. The job formally usually begins before the production’s first rehearsal. The individual’s main function is to act as the representative of the director. He or she acts as a liaison between the cast and crew and the production’s management. He or she additionally coordinates what happens on stage.
Every production has a stage manager. Very elaborate productions may also have assistants. The stage manager has many responsibilities. He or she may attend auditions to provide input into casting decisions. He or she will also keep records of the actors, actresses, singers and dancers who have auditioned.
The stage manager is required to schedule and plan rehearsals and make sure that actors and actresses are there on time to do this. They may prepare a written schedule or might instead verbally inform cast members. The stage manager is required to be present at rehearsals.
Stage managers are responsible for updating the script as changes are made and then making sure that the cast members are given the new script. Another function of the stage manager is to block the show. This means that he or she will verbally tell or physically tape the stage to illustrate where actors or actresses should be at certain times and where props and scenery should be placed.
Part of the responsibility of the stage manager is making sure that the show goes on the way the director intended it to. If, during rehearsals or the actual production, the stage manager sees that an actor or actress is performing his or her part differently than agreed upon, he or she will talk to the individual to get things back on track.
The stage manager also must be on hand to make sure that things are running smoothly among the cast and crew members. He or she may be required to settle both professional and personal disputes.
The stage manager has a great many responsibilities during a performance. The individual does what is referred to as “calling the show.” He or she will call cues for the the sound, lighting, and scenic technicians. If actors or actresses need a line, he or she will give it to them. The stage manager will make absolutely sure that everything goes according to the script and schedule.
During the performance, the stage manager is responsible for everything that goes on backstage. He or she will make sure that everyone does their job and does it properly. After each performance the stage manager will write a report regarding the show, documenting activities and discussing what went well, what didn't go well, and other occurrences. Any accidents or injuries must also be reported. The stage manager’s job ends about one week after closing. In the time period between the last performance and the final day of work, he or she will do required paperwork, get necessary files in order, and load the show out of the theater.
The stage manager works many hours in his or her job. When finished, the only people who know if the stage manager performed well or not are the cast, crew, and director.