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Career profile: Stage Manager

Career profile: Stage ManagerStage managers keep the theatre world turning. Find out how you can become a backstage star.

A what?

Stage managers are responsible for making productions run smoothly, from organizing costume fittings to dealing with the front-of-house staff.

What’s it like to work as a stage manager?

Stage managers oversee all of the behind-the-scenes activity onstage, including the set-up and breakdown of the set. They are in charge of organizing rehearsal schedules and costume fittings as well. Stage managers work closely with the director and heads of departments such as lighting, sound, props, costumes, etc. They also work closely with the theatre management and operational staff.

Stage managers create and follow a prompt copy for performances - a book noting the actor’s lines and positions onstage, as well as the equipment needed (lighting, props, etc.) for each scene. They will use this to prompt the actors and to cue technical elements like lighting changes.

How do I become a stage manager?

A degree in technical theatre, stage management, or the performing arts is recommended. Take a look at the list of degrees recognized by Drama UK.

You can also enter the profession without a degree by working your way up, beginning as a member of the stage crew.

The Stage Management Association (SMA) runs a series of training courses that may be helpful as well.

Salaries increase over time with experience. Starting salaries for assistant and deputy managers can average anywhere from £16,000 to £25,000 a year, but regular stage managers will earn more.

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