Stage manager: responsibilities within a performance

Stage manager: responsibilities within a performance

Pre-Production Responsibilities

  • The Stage Manager (SM) is a vital link between the director, actors, and various technical departments. They coordinate all aspects of a theatrical production, ensuring everything runs smoothly, from rehearsals to the final performance.
  • Before the show, an SM’s tasks may consist of liaising with the director and the design team, planning, scheduling and running rehearsals, and marking out the dimensions of the set on the rehearsal floor (the “tape-down”).

Pre-Performance Procedures

  • As part of the pre-performance procedures, the SM ensures that all props, costumes, and set pieces are in the correct locations. They also make sure that the actors are ready to perform and that all technical elements like sound and light are functioning correctly.

Performance Duties

  • The SM is responsible for calling cues throughout the performance. This requires focus and precision to ensure that lights, sound, and other technical aspects align seamlessly with the action on stage.

Safety Responsibilities

  • It is the duty of the SM to ensure the safety of all cast and crew members. They require knowledge of first aid and must be prepared to coordinate emergency procedures if needed.

Maintenance of Documentation

  • They maintain a prompt book - also known as ‘the bible’ - containing scripts, production notes, and any other relevant information about the production. It plays a crucial part in preserving continuity and facilitating smooth communication.

Effective Communication

  • The SM must effectively manage communication between all departments, resolving potential conflicts and issues that arise. They foster a positive and professional working environment.

Post-Performance Duties

  • After the performance, the SM ensures that all removeable props and costumes are secured and stored appropriately. They are also responsible for detailing any notes or issues encountered during the performance for future reference.

Ongoing Responsibilities

  • Even when the performance is not running, the SM is in charge of the care and maintenance of the stage, including cleanliness and organization.

Required Skills

  • The success of a production often rests upon the Stage Manager’s abilities to handle stress, think critically, problem-solve and adapt quickly to unforeseen circumstances.