qualities of a stage manager

Become a contributor with TheatreArtLife. Remember - We are all working toward the same goal; the best live theatre experience we can create. Sometimes you need to hold your work in two hands, sometimes you need to hold your show in two hands, sometimes you need to hold someone’s emotions in two hands. The stage manager begins before rehearsals and is one of the last people out of the theatre on closing night. There are many different degrees offered for managers, including a bachelor’s degree in business or a master’s degree in leadership or project management. Efficiency, organizational ability, congeniality, unflappability, knowledge of technical aspects of theater, energy and devotion, calmness under fire, and an effortless ability to announce “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s half-hour—half-hour—to curtain” on the backstage monitor, night after night after night. Consistency also maintains clear expectations. Remember there are many artistic egos working in tandem; help to keep everyone working together. Good stage managers assume responsibility. All the great stage managers I have encountered have all of these. Experience as a manager is a must but so is knowledge. Why must a stage manager have all of these qualities, and what does it do for them? Try something else. It is a way of showing respect to all people and all things. Good managers are one of the greatest assets to any company and share the common characteristics below. Stage managers must be experts at dealing with a variety of personality types and remain even-tempered even when others are excitable or upset, which happens frequently as the tension mounts near show times. Good managers need to be able to understand how to form motivational and realistic goals, then guide the process to align with organizational objectives. Thank you so much for reading, but you have now reached your free article limit for this month. I like to think of it like the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Attention to detail is the difference between a good stage manager and a great stage manager. A good stage manager… 1. Showing care and respect to our work and the people we work with is a great way to make our day (and everyone else’s) better. Melanie Selwood is a stage manager, project manager and consultant with more than 15 years' experience in Australia and the United Kingdom. The tea ceremony is a mediation of care and respect. Good stage managers are considerate. Everyone either laughs or gets frustrated as his perpetual persistence seems endless. It is possible to develop the qualities good managers possess. A manager may have the power to hire, fire, discipline, or promote employees especially in smaller organizations with the assistance of the Human Resources staff. You can also get a certificate in project management, entrepreneurship, ethics, or human resource management. Is organized, efficient, and observant: Always has paperwork ready, props gathered, rehearsals and meetings organized, and always be ready for what is to happen next. But to me, the trick in life is to take that sense of generosity between kin, make it apply to the extended family and to your neighbour, your village and beyond.”. She was generous with her time, generous with her laugh, generous with her patience. Listen - Problems may not always come to you so always keep an ear to the ground for potential problems. You are the conduit between everyone else. What makes a good stage manager? The two characteristics definitely go hand in hand but her care was split equally between her care for others, and for the craft of stage management. Love to write or have something to say? It is perhaps the most important characteristic that I demand of people in my life, so it makes sense that I value it in good stage managers. Legible handwriting is a must, as the master script must be easy to read by another person should the stage manager fall ill and require a replacement. The senior stage manager at The Royal Opera House explains how she reached this position. And sometimes when one thing goes wrong, being surrounded by consistency can minimise the impact. They are not the ones who give up, or get cross when something doesn’t go as planned. Passion comes with the territory. They need to know what is being rehearsed and when, who is needed at each rehearsal, and how much time is left in rehearsal. Well, if it doesn’t feel like it is the right thing to do, speak up, make your case. Remembers to always add "please" and "thank-you" to everything you do and say. Communicate - Talk with each and everyone involved with the production and many problems can be solved before they happen. The more you understand design, the easier job you’ll have as a stage manager maintaining a designer’s intent. Stage management may encompass a variety of activities including the overseeing of the rehearsal process and coordinating communications among various production teams and personnel. Keeps their cool: Never loses their temper, especiall If an actor is sick they call their stand in. Stage management is a broad field that is generally defined as the practice of organization and coordination of an event or theatrical production. The senior stage manager at The Royal Opera House explains how she reached this position. Maintain the run of the show. You would organise all practical and technical aspects of rehearsals and shows, and make sure all crew and performers are in the right place at the right time. 5. As I look up at what I’ve written above, I realise that these skills can apply to anyone in any field. Managers are the force that create and maintain a thriving work atmosphere for their employees, engaging and motivating individuals to success, and inspiring them to follow the greater company vision. These are only guides and are not intended to be "rules" for stage managing. It is doing what you believe to be right, and doing what you say you are going to do. Work is … And a relaxed team is always a better team. For me, forgetting that I said I would do it is what gets in my way, so the best way to practice integrity is to keep a note of it in my notebook. Mediate - Don't cause problems, solve them. After a while, I found my own groove and stopped needing to emulate others. Our contributors are currently writing more articles for you to enjoy. [the stage by looking at a set and figuring out what is missing to make it perfect, whether it be lighting or props is a vital part of a Stage Managers job.] Spot these top qualities of a manager The right qualities of a manager can make all the difference. Organization We are not responsible for other sites' content or links. The stage manager I looked up to the most when I was younger was the most generous person I knew. 10 Things To Know Before Starting A Stage Management Career. When everyone knows what to expect of you, they are put at ease. Maintains a professional attitude at all times: Remaining loyal to all aspects of the production and never gossiping with the cast. To keep reading, all you have to do is become a subscriber and then you can read unlimited articles anytime. The best stage managers always do what they say they will do. As the world of work continues to change so do the qualities and characteristics of the managers who are going to be leading our companies. Scenic Design: Is Digital Technology Erasing The Need For Drawing? A good stage manager can take in all of the scheduling needs from the director, music director, vocal director, choreographer, fight choreographer, dialect coach, movement coach, production manager, costume designer, etc. Artistic staff members get super-busy and it is easy for them to lose track of time. Characteristics of a Good Stage Manager Good stage managers keep their cool. Take notes in rehearsal. Always takes responsibility for the production, always is early for any call, always is ready for the unexpected, and always is ready for what is to happen next. It can be doing someone else’s dishes (or even your own dishes). Once a show has opened its the stage manager’s main duty to keep the production going. When someone asks what makes a good Stage Manager, our answers are usually along the lines of: organised, hard working, good humoured, tough, good with people. Care can take many forms and can be shown in the simplest things. As discussed previously, keeping communication open with the stage crew is critical in keeping the show running smoothly. What happens though, when the passion isn’t there? Having vision is one thing, but it is another altogether to be able to convey it.After all, it is useless if it can’t be clearly understood. As I found my way further into the field of stage managing, I practised generosity as a way to emulate her. Find out more about being a Stage Manager including pay, responsibilities and skills needed. The stage manager is often described as being the glue of any production, the person who always knows what's going on, where it's happening, and how things are actually progressing.. A great stage manager is typically a calm, professional, and organized person with a good base knowledge of stagecraft, and an ability to courteously manage others. A numbered sign‐out sheet should be created by the stage manager to track script distribution. To be able to listen, not hear, and communicate, not order, is what any employee would find valuable in a leader. You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers. If it is there, I’ll do it. They are ‘soft skills’ – difficult to learn at university but can be fostered within oneself. If you have a way of working that is more practical for you, by all means use it. The stage manager hears all the complaints, has to deal with all the problems, and receives the blame for everything that goes wrong. 3. Maybe the hardest thing is to remember to be generous to yourself. You are an integral part of this great ride. Your investment will help us continue to ignite connections across the globe in live entertainment and build this community for industry professionals. Being generous with my time as a stage manager was easier when my life was all about my work. You would make sure live stage performances run smoothly. As I found my way further into the field of stage managing, I practised generosity as a way to emulate her. Being in love with what we do is one of the benefits of working in the live performance industry. The stage manager is the person who everyone can go to when they need answers to questions or help solving problems. All rights reserved. Even if it is difficult for them or takes up a lot of their time. Join TheatreArtLife to access unlimited articles, our global career center, discussion forums, and professional development resource guide. Never loses their temper, especially in front of their cast. We apologize for any oversight in the acknowledgement of the copyright of the respective object. Pre-Production, During Rehearsals, During Performance, and Post-Production. The stage manager I looked up to the most when I was younger was the most generous person I knew. Remember to refer to this manual often. After becoming a mother to my two children, priorities shifted and I found it more difficult to be as generous at work. 5 Qualities That Every Production Manager Should Have ... leader without good communication skills and any aspiring Production Manager will need to display this at interview stage. As Tom Stoppard said, “Obviously, you would give your life for your children, or give them the last biscuit on the plate. Laurie Swigart ~Director, Designer, & Webmaster ~laurie@dreamcoat.org ~ 715-781-5760. That way they can bring enthusiasm, care and love for the job to every show, even if everything else around them is not going so well. DISCLAIMER: THEATRE ON A SHOESTRING did not willfully use any copyrighted material for the publication of this website. Some people are so attached to their ideas of how something will happen, or whether or not it will work, that they become upset when their expectations are not met. Of course, you can always go above and beyond, but maintaining a level at which everyone can rely on is what makes everyone around you relax. Further information. That can lead to burn out which doesn’t help anyone. It is easy to get caught up in the process without realizing that you are forgetting a responsibility. Are you ready? In larger companies, a manager may only recommend such action to the next level of management. Generosity is something that comes naturally to some, but for me, it is something I need to foster. Never hesitate to ask for advice from the faculty or others with experience. Remembers that responsibilities can and should be shared with able assistants. Learn more about our subscription plans. Due to the quantity of responsibilities a stage manager has, he must be extremely organized and able to find information quickly. First and foremost, a stage manager must be organized. They organise all practical and technical aspects of rehearsals and shows and ensure that performers and crew are in the right place at the right time. All pages that contain links to other sites do so to assist visitors in finding useful and related material. Is always asked to return for another assignment: Good stage managers are the life blood of the theatre and if you carry out your tasks well, with a good attitude and energy, you will always work in this business. And if it still doesn’t feel right, walk away. Assumes responsibility: Realizes that that bulk of responsibility for the smooth running of the rehearsal process and the production run is on their shoulders. They can elevate others with that passion and that is beneficial to all. By clicking submit you agree to receive emails from TheatreArtLife and accept our web terms of use and privacy and cookie policy. 2. When someone asks what makes a good stage manager, our answers are usually along the lines of organised, hard working, good humoured, tough, good with people. Now, I foster generosity by concentrating on each moment – listening well, being present (as corny as that sounds) and caring for others in each interaction. I know a Director (you may know who you are!) They care about stage management as an art – their passion lies in being excellent at their craft. Characteristics of a Good Stage Manager What makes a good stage manager? If he has an idea, he will ask his team to try everything (even the ridiculous) to get it to work. Why is the stage manager the one that all communication traffic runs through? Good stage managers keep their mouths shut and their eyes open. When something doesn’t work, what do great people do? The stage manager is essential for keeping everyone on track and on time. If a manager is able to establish trust with his or her team, employee retention, productivity, and engagement can increase as a result. The job of stage manager is one of the most time consuming, difficult, and important positions in the theatre. Yet, with all of this, the position of the stage manager is one of the most important and rewarding in the theatre. Being goal-driven is one of the most impactful qualities of a good manager. Care, respect, generosity and passion are all closely linked, but they can be distinct too. She was generous with her time, generous with her laugh, generous with her patience. As stage manager Will Lewis mentioned in his profile for Prompt-Side.com , consistency is key when calling, but it also translates into anything we do in the live performance world. What follows is a guideline for assisting you in your job of stage manager for this production. There are a few skills, though, that are less discussed - generosity, passion, persistence, consistency and care. Some of the best stage managers I have known are still passionate about their work even when the passion for the show isn’t there. These are some of the skills that turn good stage managers into great ones. What happens when you work on a show that you hate (yes it happens!)? It can be sweeping the rehearsal room floor. and reasonably accommodate everyone's needs in a timely manner. You can complete a management program to learn some of the necessary characteristics, and you can also develop many desirable qualities on your own. Be professional and respectful at all times but be firm. They work out what is the next logical step is and try that. It can be putting your phone away when someone is talking to you. Could just be my opinion, but a director with any of these qualities is not only great to work with but more importantly really inspires you with enthusiasm and creativity. It can be tidying your desk at the end of the day. Sometimes a small deviation from the norm can snowball into something much bigger. The copyright for any material created by THEATRE ON A SHOESTRING is reserved. Realizes that that bulk of responsibility for the smooth running of the rehearsal process and the production run is on their shoulders. One of the qualities of a great manager is knowing how to convey the mission to others, and proposing a clear way of thinking that can orient everybody’s work. Be Patient - Many things and people will try your patience daily. You can find out more about becoming a stage manager from the Stage Management Association. 10 Top Qualities of a Great Director I love working with directors that have any or all of the following qualities. There is a shadow side to generosity though, as for some it can mean putting everyone else before yourself – always. While employees should be placed in the driver’s seat, managers still play an important role in goal setting. After a while, I found my own groove and stopped needing to emulate others. Stage managers are responsible for ensuring that theatrical performances run smoothly and to schedule. A Stage Manager in theatre organises the day to day running of a theatre company from rehearsals right through to performances and then post-show. For me, having integrity is two-fold. Above all, Stage Managers should be calm and have a really good sense of humour. Stage managers are in charge of the physical stage area of theatres as well as the technical aspects such as lighting, sound, props and scenery. Copyright (c) 1997-2020 Theatre on a Shoestring. Remembers that responsibilities can and should be shared with able assistants. (And then I get the satisfaction of ticking it off my list when I’ve done it). They work in collaboration with the director, and head a team of technicians and other specialists to create the correc… Additionally, there are time when you may have to alter designs on tour to fit into different venues and you’ll use these skills to do so in ways that … In between those times, they become the life line, the communications hub for the entire production team and the performance ensemble. And as for doing what you believe to be right. Select JOIN to get started! What does a stage manager do?. Organization is your key to success and the success of the production. Good stage managers keep Good stage managers think ahead. As you prepare for a job in management, keep in mind these 25 qualities and characteristics of a good manager: Personal Characteristics It might not be when you expected (they are busy people) but they get to it eventually. We can combat this by being ready to try something new whenever something doesn’t happen as expected, and remaining persistent until it works. The stage manager and the technical director also work out a smooth and efficient plan for the stage crew to follow during set changes. Your investment will help us continue to ignite connections across the globe in live entertainment and build this community for industry professionals. As you drink the tea, you hold the cup in two hands, showing care and respect to the cup, the tea, the people involved in making it. Step 4 – Discussion and Practice: (10 minutes) Tell students that there are four main phases of a show. The stage manager works closely with the director and artistic staff during rehearsals, recording all blocking, entrances, exits, changes, etc., so the director can focus on actually directing. DISCLAIMER: THEATRE ON A SHOESTRING is not responsible for information, images, or links on related sites. It can be a minor variation or a big one, but the best stage managers keep trying everything until they find something that works. Join our community of industry leaders working in artistic, creative, and technical roles across the globe. All the best Stage Managers I have encountered have all of these.… Reading Time: 8 minutes Finding, keeping, and developing great people isn’t easy, but finding, keeping and developing great managers is even harder. There are a few skills, though, that are less discussed – generosity, passion, persistence, consistency and care. There should very rarely a need for a Stage Manager to lose his … But for stage managers, when the going gets tough, those who have fostered generosity, passion, persistence, consistency and care in themselves will thrive. All scripts will be collected by stage management at the final callback and re‐ Remember you are privy to many discussions that are not for the cast and crew. And I must emphasize the word clearly! What both employees and employers expect of managers has changed dramatically in recent times, with the rise of remote work, and the need for stronger soft skills, and better staff support. You can join the Stage Management Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts. But finally, when it works beautifully, everyone shares an incredible sense of achievement. The stage manager I mentioned at the start, the one who was, for me, the best stage manager I ever worked with, was not only generous but always caring. Generosity is something that comes naturally to some, but f… The stage manager receives less glory than most involved in a production and often is only notices when something goes wrong. who is the most persistent person I have ever met. 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