The Stage Manager's job can be a complex one. To start off with, he is responsible for anything and everything that needs to be done on stage, as well as backstage. Of course, a lot of this is delegated to other members of the crew, but the overall responsibility eventually falls on the Stage Manager

Building the set is one of the main jobs to do before and during the get-in for the show. A lot of the larger pieces of scenery should have been built elsewhere before the get-in starts, but there are some things that have to wait until the theatre itself is available.

During a performance, it is the stage manager who has the responsibility for the safety of all people in the theatre. Often he will delegate responsibility for the audience to a front-of-house manager, and for the techies in the proj box to the chief electrician. However, it would still remain the Stage Manager's responsibility to ensure that everyone on and backstage is safe, and to evacuate them in the case of an emergency.

After a show, the Stage manager has the job of making sure that the theatre has been tidied up, and that the get-out is completed safely and successfully.

If I have missed anything important, do either /msg me, or add it yourself - my experience with stage managing has only been in an amateur capacity at university and school.

If you're after any other theatre tech information, then do take a look at 'Everything you ever wanted to know about theatre tech, but were afraid to ask'

There is actually no set definition to what a Stage Manager's job amounts to. Or rather, it differs fairly widely from theatre to theatre.

One of the largest qualifiers in how many duties a Stage Manager will have proceeds directly out of how large the theatre company is, and thus how much can be delegated.

Generally, the Stage Manager's job will always require him/her to meet periodically with the Director to check up on details, requirements, etc. The SM checks up on production, resource requirements, etc. This may even require that the SM order materials, arrange for their pickup, and look out for some measure of accounting.

The SM is also responsible for setting back stage order. What is the most efficient way to run the backstage, where should the props be placed and in what order, who needs to be in charge of food preparation, consumables, etc.? This also includes guarding sight lines, keeping order back stage, making sure that the actors are on stage at the right time (if they can't be bothered to manage themselves), and all other jobs which require order.

The SM generally has no design responsibilities. They generally aren't involved in direction, acting, or any other stage involvement. Their sole involvement is logistical.

However, it generally behooves the Stage Manager to be aware of situations occuring between actors and stage crew, and being able to encourage and/or mediate between the cast and crew can go a long distance toward preserving the longevity of the production.

All in all, the SM job is much like being a parent in a large and hastily organized household.

The stage manager is, basically, God, in the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. For those who have never had the chance to see a production of Our Town, the stage manager is the most prominent character on stage. The stage manager is omniscient, omnipotent, and can change the place in time, at any time. The stage manager knows the past, knows the present, and knows the future.

The stage manager already knows all the characters' fates at the beginning of the show. The stage manager can fast forward the day, say, three hours at any time. The stage manager can take the play back in time. For example, in the third act, the stage manager takes the now-deceased Emily Webb back about 15 years to her eleventh birthday, in a "ghost of Christmas past"-esque style.

The stage manager also "acts" the role of the minister who marries George Gibbs and Emily Webb at the end of the second act.

That is, the stage manager does not change the costume, but the stage manager just does his minister act. Mr. Foo does not play the stage manager and the minister. The stage manager plays the minister.

Basically, the Stage Manager is God.

Stage manager. (Theat.)

One in control of the stage during the production of a play. He directs the stage hands, property man, etc., has charge of all details behind the curtain, except the acting, and has a general oversight of the actors. Sometimes he is also the stage director.


© Webster 1913

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