Future for a High School Stage Manager?

Hi, I'm currently stage managing for my high school and I'm looking to pursue this further as well as directing after I graduate this year. From what I understand, the most common path is getting your BFA and then getting a MFA. I want to know the best schools to get my BFA(if that's what I need to be getting) for this area of study. :neutral:
The majority of the time you will start out as a BA and then you will audition or interview for the BFA program. Right now I am a Freshmen in a Technical Theatre major and from what I researched a lot of the really good schools are out east. One that I found to be pretty exceptional was Ithaca College. This website shows quite a few schools with the program that you can research: Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology Schools - Find Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology Degrees, Colleges and Programs
Good Luck!


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You ask a lot of different questions here, and most of them have been discussed at length many, many times before. Search through the forums, and you'll find a treasure trove of material to help you make your decisions. There are many people, both here and out in the "real world", who believe that a BA is actually a superior degree to a BFA. While a BFA will give you more concentration and focus in your classwork, it also eliminates lots of other requirements. In my opinion (and it's only that), a Stage Manager is actually better served with a BA than with a BFA. When you get right down to it, the most important and most difficult part of a Stage Manager's job is being a "people person". Sure, paperwork and calling skills and blocking recording and prop tracking are important, but having excellent interpersonal skills and being able to work with all manners of people under tremendous amounts of stress is really the most important part of the job. By no means is a BFA, or a MFA, or even a BA, a "requirement" for becoming an SM. Some of the best SMs out there got degrees from the state college down the road from their house, or even a two-year community college, and they're doing fine. In the same vein, there's SMs who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to the best schools with the best programs, and they're probably never going to make a career out of stage management.

Full disclosure: I'm currently pursuing a BFA in the Theatrical Production Arts track at Ithaca College, and the Stage Management program here is actually a BA, so my judgement is likely skewed. I don't know any hard statistics off the top of my head, but I know the program has turned out a surprising number of SMs who are now very in-demand on Broadway, on tour, and at theatres across the country and world. The only other school I know of with a strong SM program is Emerson in Boston - there are certainly many others, but as I never looked at schools for stage management, I couldn't tell you.

Personally, I wouldn't rely on any website that puts Full Sail at the top of a tech/design list. But that's a subject for another day. :rolleyes:


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First off did you read our FAQ on college?

Secondly before you go any farther I strongly suggest you contact some local theater's and try to find a stage manager who will let you job shadow them for a day. This should be fairly easy to do, just call around your local community theaters. I guarantee you'll find a friendly stage manager willing to help you out and answer questions. The reason I want you to do this is that the job stage managers do in the working world is typically significantly different than the job of a high school stage manager.

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