Stage Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

While in high school, take classes in English, speech, art, and theater. Participate in school productions and any local theater arts programs. Business classes can help develop managerial skills.

Postsecondary Education

There is no formal educational requirement for a stage manager. A college degree is not mandatory, but may be helpful and is recommended. A degree offers basic background opportunities for experience and making contacts and a degree of credibility. Good choices for majors include theater arts or arts management. Classes in directing, play writing, set design, costume design, and acting will be helpful. Many individuals complete a degree in theater and go on to receive a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. The National Association of Schools of Theatre accredit more than 180 programs in theater arts. Visit them online at https://nast.arts-accredit.org.

Other Education and Training

Training in the form of practical experience is necessary to get a job and be successful at it. This experience can be obtained by working as an intern, assistant, or in almost any area of the theater. School, summer stock, and regional theaters are all good training grounds.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

There are no certification or licensing requirements for stage managers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Stage managers must have a great deal of experience working in the theater. Most, but not all, have acted as assistant stage managers before obtaining their first position, and many have worked other types of theater jobs, which helps them understand all the elements of a successful production. Stage managers must know a little about everything in the theater, including acting, directing, set design, lighting, costuming, and more. The more knowledgeable the stage manager is, the more successful he or she will be in the job.

Individuals must be personable and get along well with people. In many circumstances, the stage manager must deal with others who are tense, worried, and/or nervous about openings or acting in general. The individual must be compassionate and have the ability to calm people down and make them feel comfortable. He or she must be diplomatic in all situations.

The stage manager should be detail oriented and have the ability to work on many projects at once. He or she must always remain calm in the eye of a storm.