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Responsibilities of the Stage Managers 

  • Create and set up rehearsal schedules

  • Source all furniture and props

  • Arrange costume and wig fittings

  • Liaise with all theatre departments and collate information

  • Liaise with Production Manager regarding budgets

  • Supervise the ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ (When the set, lighting and sound are installed and removed from the space)

  • Create a prompt script compiled with notes on Actors’ cues and requirements for props, lighting and sound

  • Make alterations to the set and props between scene changes

  • Cue the lighting and Sound Technicians

  • Create a risk assessment to ensure the safety of the full company

  • Manage the backstage and onstage area during performances

  • Call Actors for rehearsals and performances

  • Maintain props, furniture and set during the run

  • Liaise with resident staff (if touring)

Responsibilities of a Production Manager

  • Creating and maintaining a production schedule for each show

  • Maintaining contact information

  • Organising additional meetings for cast and production staff

  • Working closely with Directors and other department heads to make decisions regarding set, costume, lighting and other aspects of a production and ensure these are within the budget of the production

  • Keeping stage and backstage areas organised

  • Ensuring decisions made regarding the set of a production are carried out safely

  • Prepare budgets and monitor accurate expenses

  • Create construction drawings for all scenery elements

Assistant Stage Manager Duties

The ASM reports directly to the stage manager, and is an ancillary assigned to aid in any way necessary to facilitate the smooth run of rehearsals and performances. This means that the specific responsibilities will depend solely on the needs of the production and staff. The assistant stage manager is primarily tasked with taking notes on blocking and cues during rehearsal, but will also be called upon to run errands, make copies of scripts, and wrangle the cast back from their dinner break. There is little downtime; as soon as the ASM finishes one task, the costumer will arrive in need of a human mannequin, or the carpenter will call for all hands on deck to move a massive set piece. The assistant stage manager is a catchall, a go-to person who answers all calls for help. During the run of the show, the ASM is assigned a specific track that may include performing pre-show checks and setting props or costumes. In the event that the stage manager must be absent, this person will fill in to call the show. In rare cases, he or she may be thrown out onstage in the place of an absent actor.

What to Expect

You should not be a silent bystander, but an active and outgoing participant during rehearsal and performance. If you see that the running crew needs an extra hand getting the set onstage, run to help. Paging back a curtain or always having a spare pencil for the forgetful actor are small favors that earn big points. The more you prove yourself proactive, accommodating, and prepared, the more jobs you’ll be offered. However, it is important to know your role. Take care not to overstep your bounds; respect the authority of the stage manager and director. No one likes an assistant stage manager who tries to throw his or her weight around. In most cases, the ASM will have very little authority over cast and crew unless formally standing in for the SM. The Actors Equity Association offers a candidate membership program for stage managers in training to gain credits toward membership as a professional SM within the union. Candidates must complete 50 weeks of creditable work with a participating signatory theater.

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