Stage Management can be defined through many different aspects,whether that is through organisation, technical mind set or the ability to getalong with many people. One definition that stuck out to me though was ‘Stage managers should be good plannersand organisers, with a knack for multi-tasking, prioritising and keeping calmunder pressure and in a crisis’ (SMA article), I found this quote didn’tjust focus on the skills you can be taught as a stage manager e.g prompt bookwork, call sheets etc, but focused on the skills that cannot be taught but areas equally as important, instead these are learnt through experience and makingmistakes, which to me I find a really effective way to become the best at whatI am doing, as it is one thing talking about a skill within a job but puttingit to practice can be a completely different lesson. The most important part of Stage Management to me isorganisation and communication, having the ability to keep a full technical andcreative team happy and keeping one vision.
‘The stage manager has a fluid role, filling the gaps left by others whileembracing all angles of the production. The fluidity of the job also derivesfrom the need for the stage management to fit into whatever type of workingsituation is offered.’ (Daniel Bond). This quote from Bond’s book describesthe importance of an SM’s ability to be flexible with any situation they face, asthey are overlooking all aspects of a production and they can be faced withvery different situations, from a costume error, to a question about a lightingstate, and this ability not only means you need to be adaptable but also have ageneral knowledge about all aspects of the show. To manage the production and to help keep problems atbay the Stage Management team consists mainly of a team of three: the StageManager (SM), Deputy Stage Manager (DSM) and Assistant Stage Manager (ASM). The National Careers Service (2016)state that any stage management staff should possess: ·excellentplanning, organisational and leadership skills·confidenceand decision making ability·theability to multi-task and ‘think on your feet’·calmnessunder pressure·ahigh level of attention to detail·goodIT and budget management skills Although all three roles are equally as important andwork with each other they all have specific roles and jobs within theproduction process. The Stage Manager oversees and liaises with all the aspectsof the production both technical and performance sides, they run the techrehearsals and ensure the show is reaching its highest potential while alsomaking sure each person within the production is happy and working to the bestof their ability. They deal with a lot of the health and safety of theproduction and constantly carry out and risk assesses all elements of theproduction, both cast and creative side.
The DSM deals with a lot more of the paperwork side ofthe production than the SM and ASM; this involves sitting in rehearsals andtaking notes from the very beginning of the rehearsal period. They will workwith the Director closely to create blocking notes, cast calls and prop lists,and in time creating the Prompt book (in which they are responsible for) thisallows them to call the show once opened and consists of all the lighting,sound and stage movement that happens during the performances. The prompt bookis really important in a the smooth running of a production, and not only mustit be clear for the DSM to read but they must create it in a way that anyonewill be able to read in case the DSM is not available to call a show andsomeone has to step in. The ASM is mainly in charge of organising, sorting andmaintaining props, set and some costume. Before the production opens they willkeep in contact with the DSM regularly to compile lists of props that will beneeded and source them some their relevant places, whether that is buying,hiring or making from scratch. During the performances they can run the wingskeeping the props tables and backstage area organised and stress free, theyalso may be in charge of repairing any damaged props depending on the extent ofthe damage or the repairs needed, also if need of assistance they can aid thecast e.g quick changes.
When working on the play ‘Antigone’ I worked closely withthe Stage Management team which gave me a real insight in to the adaptation ofthe learning process to the practical side of the skill. ‘What makes a great stage manager? A love of theatre and, mostespecially, a love of actors.’ (LawrenceStern) when I first read this quote I didn’t think anything of the sectionabout the actors, but once I began work on Antigone I became really aware ofthe bond between the SM team and the cast and how important it was to have agood relationship between the two.
The SM team really established a friendlyyet assertive bond between the groups and this allowed for a professional yetfun working environment. During my time in production and working with the SMteam, in particular the ASM, I noticed that even the smallest parts of theproduction are very important and if not executed to high standard things arelikely to go wrong easily. The ASM in particular kept the organisation of theprops and setting lists very neat and was constantly writing and rewriting liststo put up backstage so everyone knew where things were and if not, who was incharge of specific props. Being a crew member of the show and having lessexperience this really helped me to complete my jobs confidently and to thehighest level I can. In the future I will be taking the skills I learnt fromthe show onto others in which I may have a higher role in the production. From my experiences first hand and the research of StageManagement I have completed, I have learnt that the SM team are the glue thatholds a production together, even though every aspect of a production is justas important and needed as the next the SM team provide the communicationbetween all and keep the process smooth.
And the most important part of being agood SM, DSM or ASM is patience, organisation and people skills.