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The Incredibly Diverse Roles of the Stage Managers

I suspect that in other theatre groups a stage manager has a fairly finite job description: generally calling the cues (for set changes, lights, etc.), and ensuring that a long-open show continues to reflect the director's original intention. But having met with our stage management team last night, and looking over our former stage manager's notes (she was otherwise known as Mom, but she's chosen to fly to Europe during my next production) I realise how very very much else our stage managers have to do.

There's prompting the actors during rehearsals, checking for absences, helping set up the room, and gently giving notes to the cast during the break (usually consisting of SPEAK LOUDER, or DIAL DOWN THE ACCENT!)

In the theatre apparently the first job is to check the fridges to see nothing's left moldering from the last show, followed by setting up props tables, meeting with the technician re lighting and sound, taping marks on the floor for furniture placement, and constantly listening and watching to make sure the lighting and sound are doing what was hoped for.

Then when the audiences arrive, our stage managers become quasi front-of-house managers, ensuring everything goes smoothly and that I don't have to be bothered while changing into costume backstage.

So here's to our stage managers, past and present (and future)--thanks for all you did, do, and will do.

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