During a live theatrical performance, a small technical hitch can significantly affect the quality of the overall performance. Theatre stage managers work to ensure live performances run smoothly from start to finish. If you have a keen interest in performing arts, you could pursue a career in stage management.
What Do Theatre State Managers Do?
In detail, these managers perform the following duties:
- Scheduling rehearsals – This involves calling performing artists to inform them of the date and venue
- Distributing scripts to actors and informing them of any changes
- Hiring and training the stage crew
- Serving as a communication link between directors, set designers, performers and other theatre professionals
- Coordinating the procurement of costumes, furniture, props and other items
- Supervising the installation of lighting and sound equipment, cameras and other pieces of equipment on the stage
- Giving cues to lighting and sound technicians during the live performance.
If you are not prepared to work long and irregular hours, then this is not the job for you. Theatre stage managers typically conduct rehearsals during the day and manage live performances in the evening. They are often the last people to leave a venue after an event.
The job may involve extensive travelling, especially during tours.
What is the average annual salary for theatre stage managers? Find out below:
Theatre stage manager
It takes the right education and stage management experience to qualify for employment as a theatre stage managers. As such, aspirants should complete the following steps:
- Earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in stage management
- Find work as an assistant stage manager
- Gain vast stage management experience
It is also possible to begin as a crew member and work your way up with increased backstage experience. If you follow this route, you will certainly undergo intensive on-the-job training to improve your stage management competence.
Below is a list of some the popular theater colleges offering undergraduate stage management programs:
Apart from the education and experience, you need:
- A passion for theatre and performing arts
- The ability to think quickly and make quick decisions
- Strong problem solving skills
- Strong skills in relationship building
- Strong communication skills
- Strong planning, coordinating and organizing skills
- The ability to work calmly under pressure
- Good negotiation skills
- A keen eye for details.
Many theatre stage managers begin as assistants in small theatres. It can take several years of hard work before finally get the manager’s job. You may even need to change workplaces to a newly-established theatre to become the stage manager. So it is important to network with theatre owners.
If you are ambitious enough, you can follow the following paths to improve your competence and gain access to networking opportunities:
- Pursue a master’s degree in stage management
- Join the Stage Manager’s Association and the American Association of Community Theatre.
The employers of theatre stage managers include:
- Commercial theatres
- Theatre schools
- Companies that provide stage management services
With vast work experience and a master’s degree, you can be hired by large theatres. You can also become the overall theatre manager or move into film production as a director. With your professional expertise, theatre schools can also hire you to nurture future stage managers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of all arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations will grow at an average rate of 7 percent through 2022. This means you are likely to face competition for employment opportunities. Since many theatres are concentrated in the big cities, it helps to hunt for jobs there.
So if you have a passion for drama, this could be a decent career choice for you.