Stage management is a very technical and difficult position, though it can be just as equally fun and exciting as long as you’re up for the hard work of managing many people, types of equipment, and schedules.
Stage managers have to be knowledgeable of pretty much every aspect of stag performance such as acting, directing, and lighting just to name a few. This doesn’t mean that managers must be professional actors, or that they must know all of the nuance of direction, but they do need to be aware of the considerations that one takes when performing their role in a production, whatever that role happens to be.
Therefore, there are a few tips that every successful stage manager follows. It is very important to know and follow these tips because an unsuccessful stage manager can seriously harm a production, and in some cases may even cause problems.
Preparedness is key. This doesn’t just mean being on time, every time (which is also essential for stage managers). It means that stage managers must have accurate notes, fully stocked stage kits, and knowledge of the proper and most effective use of all theatrical supplies. From theatrical makeup to theatrical lighting supplies, stage managers must be prepared to fulfill any task as soon as it comes up, regardless of what that task might be.
Keeping all of your contacts up to date and being able to reach out to them is essential. From calling your stage actors to keeping regular contact with theatre supplies vendors, the stage manager is the professional cat herder that must maintain and orchestrate the numerous relationships that are necessary to stage a production. This means keeping contact info on hand and up to date at all times and maintaining good relationships with all actors, staff, and suppliers, among others.
Giving and taking excellent and highly detailed notes is the mark of a great manager. From letting actors know exactly how well they delivered a line to outlining the requirements for your theatrical lighting supply vendor, note taking is one of the main duties of stage managers. Because stage productions involve many people, most of whom are unaware of what other people are doing, the manager must make notes that will ensure that each part of the production process remains coordinated and in sync with each other.
Being always available means being there for your crew 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The stage manager is responsible not only for the production crew and the actors, but must also be available for theatre supplies vendors and for theatre makeup supplies specialists. The manager is accountable for nearly every aspect of the production. As is the nature of management, a good manager will find themselves credited for a smooth, well-run production but in turn may also be blamed for problems and confusion.
Having a basic knowledge of all aspects of production means that you can step in and take charge. At the end of the day, the manager is in charge of all parts of the production and that means that they must know how things should work. From giving basic direction to actors to informing theatrical supplies vendors of specific lighting and technical needs, the stage manager is an essential and important part of all productions, regardless of size or technical requirements.