Stage management: the procedural view


Stage management team are usually responsible for:

  • Booking and setting up rehearsal rooms
  • Scheduling and calling artists, and keeping hours to contract
  • Recording rehearsal progress and actions
  • Advising director on technical and artistic matters
  • Learning the show, and its artistic intentions
  • Attending, calling meetings, and recording decisions
  • Negotiating changes to planned actions
  • Contacts with outside suppliers, gathering production material
  • Planning and executing scene changes
  • Cueing artists and technicians
  • Health and safety throughout the process
  • Movement of the show if touring
  • Both discipline and pastoral care of company

They may also be responsibe for a vast range of other duties, dependant on circumstance.

The functions:

  • Rehearsal organisational
  • Artistic support and control
  • Liaison, negotiation and arbitration
  • Technical functions
  • Strategic planning

This list can form the basis of work prioritisation – at any particular point, which is the most important function?

Dynamic view:
Conventionally, the pattern is broken down to time-based functions:

  • Pre rehearsal preparations
  • Rehearsal period
  • Technical week
  • Performances
  • (Touring period)
  • Post performance.

I prefer to look at phases of activity (or underlying principles of action)

  • Gathering information
  • Experiment or testing
  • Decide on plan
  • Implement
  • Deal with consequences

This pattern is actually cyclical, and exists at different scales of resolution.

Contexts – Areas of activity 

What is theatre?

  • a building
  • an activity
  • a producing company
  • an organisation
  • an act of communication
  • a social or cultural event

Types of theatre organisations

  • ‘national’ companies
  • Stage managers also apply their skills to:
    • Event management
    • Conferences
    • Festivals
    • Product launches
    • Television stage management and floor management

    commercial touring companies

  • West End managements
  • Regional repertory theatres
  • Touring houses
  • Civic theatres
  • Amateur (‘little’) theatres
  • Fringe theatres
  • Site specific and immersive performance
  • Circus
  • ‘Applied’ theatre
    • Theatre in education, and for Young People
    • Theatre in prisons
    • Forum and legislative theatre
    • Therapeutic drama