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What is a Stage Manager?

A strict and mean villain, meant to tell you everything you’re doing wrong? The person that yells at you about your props and costumes? No! Well, yes… but there’s so much more! Please join us on our stage management journey. While this is just an intro, we will be back with all the hot SM gossip. What’s that? There’s no such thing? Okay… then we will just talk about stage management and add in some humor? Good. Read on!

The Stage Manager (SM) is an invaluable part of the production team. The SM works side by side with many of the individuals involved with putting on the show, from recording the director’s decisions about blocking, notes for the actors, keeping track of logistical and scheduling details, and communicating what goes on in rehearsals and shows to the rest of the production team. This enables everyone to focus on their particular responsibilities. These people are the most even-tempered, organized, HILARIOUS,  timely, and tactful individuals on the production team. A Stage Manager sets the tone for the show, a bad Stage Manager can make the production process long and taxing, so it is important that these individuals understand their responsibilities and importance. 


The following list is just some of what a SM can be responsible for:

  • Attending & running rehearsals: keeping time, breaks, opening & closing, setting rehearsal sets & dimensions, costumes, props.
  • Communicating the director’s wishes to designers and craftspeople through rehearsal reports.
  • Ensuring all cast/crew paperwork and contact info is completed and available
  • Ensure all cast/crew members get their comp tickets
  • Coordinating the work of the stage crew.
  • Maintaining the Prompt book (Show Bible)
  • Calling cues and possibly actors’ entrances during a performance, as well as running either stage crew, light board, and/or soundboard.
  • Overseeing the entire show each time it is performed and filing show reports.
  • Be the point of contact for all cast/crew members, regarding tardiness and/or conflicts
  • Constant safety oversight during rehearsals and shows.
  • Maintaining the toolkit and ensuring stock of needed supplies
  • Keeping an ongoing tally of hours logged by actors, SMs, and directors
  • Keeping and submitting the standardized plots for props, costumes, and sets
  • Opening and closing the Rehearsal Hall/Theater
  • Keeping the calendar, including any actor conflicts
  • Taking detailed blocking notes
  • Giving line notes
  • Being “on book”
  • Cleaning the Rehearsal Hall
  • Pre/Post-show routines
  • Keeping and distributing the contact information of all involved in the show
  • Providing morale and support for director and actors
  • Training and teaching an ASM (if applicable) 
  • Filling out any incident reports
  • Obtaining cast bios and crew information by the deadline given
  • Running performances

Join us next week as we chat about the Stage Manager’s Toolkit and Prompt Book! 

About the authors:

Victoria Blanford is the Operations Manager of Reno Little Theater. Prior to coming on as a staff member, Victoria volunteered as a Stage Manager and crew member for several seasons. She doesn’t share food, but does share the following joke… she just thought of… right now: What did the Stage Manager say when her hands were full?   HOLD PLEASE

Tiff Bream is the Assistant Technical Director of Reno Little Theater. Having served as the Production Stage Manager for GLM and RLT once upon a time, Tiff would like to know if that is your prop. It doesn’t look like your prop, you should put it down. 

Victoria is the one with the mustache. Tiff is also the one with the mustache. Who is who? MYSTERY.

Arts & Economic Prosperity IV

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