Skip to content

Why Experience Stage Managing

April 1, 2014

It’s been forever and a half since I last wrote for the blog (or at least that’s how it feels), and part of it has been from me being insanely busy with shows and teaching theatre to kids from pre-k to 1st grade several days a week (which needless to say has been fantastic for the most part). And one thing I’ve done that was during a good amount of time of the year so far, was that I stage-managed a show.

Now I don’t really consider myself a stage manager. In fact, before this experience I would’ve said that I’d be a terrible stage manager. However for me as someone that’s an early career director in their mid-twenties, a huge part of my philosophy is that the more diverse I am in my skills the better. So when offered to stage manage for an artist I personally admire greatly, I decided to put my fears and concerns to rest and do this opportunity since I knew it would be a valuable part of my growth as an artist.

And it was. Not only did it allow me to have an opportunity to be organized and on top of things (which in our line of work as theatre artists is an exceptionally helpful experience to have), but it gave me a new set of faith in my own ability to stage manage. Stage Manager’s often have one of the hardest jobs and along with that often get the least amount of appreciation. When stage managers have to work with people who aren’t the best at communication and organization (or are even straight up crazy) it can become a miserable and difficult experience fast. Thankfully this experience was full of wonderful and talented people who made my job so much easier, but it did make me wonder if all theatre artists should experience stage managing in some capacity at some point. Here’s some reasons why I feel it would be beneficial for most to do so:

1. You get a new appreciation for any stage manager you work with in the future. For my friends like The Tattooed Theatre Student, The Expat Stage Manager, and The Perceptive Stage Manager; all friends that chose a career in stage management: I salute you for your abilities to do what you do and to love it enough to make it your career of choice. You keep people organized, make sure everything is coming together quite nicely, keep everyone informed in a timely matter, and are there to trouble shoot any problems. I’m very grateful you people exist.

2. You become a more organized artist. If you can stage manage a show and do a good job, then you can stay on top of whatever you need to no matter what role you have in theatre. Directors can lead a team better with those organization skills. Actors can prioritize their time for blocking and getting off book from experiencing the other side of taking those notes and being on-book. Having those skills will simply make your life easier.

3. You learn more about the theatre. This would be my favorite point in all this. As theatre artists, the more we know and experience in theatre the better we will be in our own main roles in the theatre world. I think we can all agree that theatre is a magical and beautiful place and we do it because we love it, so having the opportunity to see how that magic and beauty works from a different perspectives is only going to be beneficial to you as an artist. After all, you never know how it’ll help you down the line. 🙂

While some people really aren’t meant to stage manage, I feel like for the most part the majority of theatre artists would benefit from being on a stage management team at least once. Even if it’s not being in charged, but being an assistant stage manager or a production assistant, there’s so much you could learn that would help you down the line. While I have no idea when I’m stage managing next (although I’m sure it’ll happen at some point- maybe even before 2014 ends), I’m happy that I got to stage manage my first full length, full production and even happier that it was an exceptionally positive and beneficial experience.

sarah sig

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: