A stage manager works for a professional or university based theater company, and is responsible for assisting the director in overseeing the logistics of a theater performance. A stage manager job description requires strong organizational skills, the willingness to work long hours during rehearsals, and the ability to multitask.
A stage manager acts as a liaison amongst the various individuals involved in a theater production, including the director, actors, costume designer, and technical department, and ensures that all elements of the performance run smoothly.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Stage Manager
- Assists director in reviewing audition material.
- Posts cast and crew lists.
- Contacts understudies in the event that a primary actor is sick or injured.
- Maintains and manages rehearsal calendar.
- Researches and memorizes scripts and background information on the production itself.
- Assists director in overseeing technical run-throughs directly prior to a performance.
- Works with the costume department to ensure that all costumes and props are correct and delivered on time.
- Instructs lighting and technical support team on the timing and execution ofaesthetic or special effects.
- Oversees the organization and design of the stage prior to performances.
- Assists in setting up props and other items for a production.
- Addresses and resolves any technical difficulties during rehearsals and performances.
- Ensures that all actors and actresses are prepared for a performance.
- Provides stage directions and cues to actors during rehearsals and performances as necessary.
- Maintains log of daily rehearsal activity, script changes, and official performances.
- Distributes paychecks to cast and crew for professional theater companies.
- Ensure that all stunts and technical details are executed safely.
- Reports logistical problems to the director or producer.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates familiarity with the logistics of a theatrical production.
- Is familiar with the basic function of lighting and technical details.
- Demonstrates specific knowledge of the script and stage directions for the production.
- Is willing and able to work long hours and nontraditional shifts.
- Works well with a team.
- Communicates clearly and effectively.
- Manages time efficiently.
- Demonstrates ability to multitask on an ongoing basis.
- Possesses physical stamina required to remain standing, walking, and moving for long periods of time.
- Exhibits knowledge of proper production safety procedures.
Education and Experience
A stage manager holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater, Theater Management, Stage Tech, or a related field. Some stage managers may also hold Master’s Degrees. Stage managers who work for professional theater companies or who are hired full time by high schools and universities typically have at least a year of experience in stage management.
A stage manager spends the majority of his or her working hours in the theater itself, helping to oversee all elements of the production from the auditions to the final performance. Workweeks typically exceed 40 hours, particularly as performance dates approach, and many stage managers work late nights. The job of a stage manager can be exhausting, and requires the physical and mental stamina to remain alert and active for long periods of time.
The average salary for a stage manager is $60,000 per year. Salaries can range from $30,000 to $100,000 per year depending on years of experience and the prestige or profile of the theatrical production company.