Stage need to be adaptable but also have a

Stage Management can be defined through many different aspects,
whether that is through organisation, technical mind set or the ability to get
along with many people. One definition that stuck out to me though was ‘Stage managers should be good planners
and organisers, with a knack for multi-tasking, prioritising and keeping calm
under pressure and in a crisis’ (SMA article), I found this quote didn’t
just focus on the skills you can be taught as a stage manager e.g prompt book
work, call sheets etc, but focused on the skills that cannot be taught but are
as equally as important, instead these are learnt through experience and making
mistakes, which to me I find a really effective way to become the best at what
I am doing, as it is one thing talking about a skill within a job but putting
it to practice can be a completely different lesson.


The most important part of Stage Management to me is
organisation and communication, having the ability to keep a full technical and
creative team happy and keeping one vision.
‘The stage manager has a fluid role, filling the gaps left by others while
embracing all angles of the production. The fluidity of the job also derives
from the need for the stage management to fit into whatever type of working
situation is offered.’ (Daniel Bond). This quote from Bond’s book describes
the importance of an SM’s ability to be flexible with any situation they face, as
they are overlooking all aspects of a production and they can be faced with
very different situations, from a costume error, to a question about a lighting
state, and this ability not only means you need to be adaptable but also have a
general knowledge about all aspects of the show.

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To manage the production and to help keep problems at
bay the Stage Management team consists mainly of a team of three: the Stage
Manager (SM), Deputy Stage Manager (DSM) and Assistant Stage Manager (ASM). The National Careers Service (2016)
state that any stage management staff should possess:


planning, organisational and leadership skills

and decision making ability

ability to multi-task and ‘think on your feet’

under pressure

high level of attention to detail

IT and budget management skills


Although all three roles are equally as important and
work with each other they all have specific roles and jobs within the
production process. The Stage Manager oversees and liaises with all the aspects
of the production both technical and performance sides, they run the tech
rehearsals and ensure the show is reaching its highest potential while also
making sure each person within the production is happy and working to the best
of their ability. They deal with a lot of the health and safety of the
production and constantly carry out and risk assesses all elements of the
production, both cast and creative side.


The DSM deals with a lot more of the paperwork side of
the production than the SM and ASM; this involves sitting in rehearsals and
taking notes from the very beginning of the rehearsal period. They will work
with 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) this
allows them to call the show once opened and consists of all the lighting,
sound and stage movement that happens during the performances. The prompt book
is really important in a the smooth running of a production, and not only must
it be clear for the DSM to read but they must create it in a way that anyone
will be able to read in case the DSM is not available to call a show and
someone has to step in.


The ASM is mainly in charge of organising, sorting and
maintaining props, set and some costume. Before the production opens they will
keep in contact with the DSM regularly to compile lists of props that will be
needed and source them some their relevant places, whether that is buying,
hiring or making from scratch. During the performances they can run the wings
keeping the props tables and backstage area organised and stress free, they
also may be in charge of repairing any damaged props depending on the extent of
the damage or the repairs needed, also if need of assistance they can aid the
cast e.g quick changes.


When working on the play ‘Antigone’ I worked closely with
the Stage Management team which gave me a real insight in to the adaptation of
the learning process to the practical side of the skill. ‘What makes a great stage manager? A love of theatre and, most
especially, a love of actors.’  (Lawrence
Stern) when I first read this quote I didn’t think anything of the section
about the actors, but once I began work on Antigone I became really aware of
the bond between the SM team and the cast and how important it was to have a
good relationship between the two. The SM team really established a friendly
yet assertive bond between the groups and this allowed for a professional yet
fun working environment.


During my time in production and working with the SM
team, in particular the ASM, I noticed that even the smallest parts of the
production are very important and if not executed to high standard things are
likely to go wrong easily. The ASM in particular kept the organisation of the
props and setting lists very neat and was constantly writing and rewriting lists
to put up backstage so everyone knew where things were and if not, who was in
charge of specific props. Being a crew member of the show and having less
experience this really helped me to complete my jobs confidently and to the
highest level I can. In the future I will be taking the skills I learnt from
the show onto others in which I may have a higher role in the production.


From my experiences first hand and the research of Stage
Management I have completed, I have learnt that the SM team are the glue that
holds a production together, even though every aspect of a production is just
as important and needed as the next the SM team provide the communication
between all and keep the process smooth. And the most important part of being a
good SM, DSM or ASM is patience, organisation and people skills.