The stage manager (SM) is the person in charge of coordinating all activity that happens on stage during a production. The head stage manager, often known as the Production Stage Manager is in change of the rest of the stage management team, which is often made up of Assistant Stage Managers (ASMs) and Production Assistants (PAs). Through the rehearsal process the stage manager is essentially the right hand and notepad of the director. During the run of the show, the stage manager is in charge of overseeing all activity on stage and maintaining the director's vision of the show.
Before the show even gets off it's feet, the stage manager is responsible for creating audition schedules and postings for auditions. The stage manager ins responsible for generating any audition paperwork like contact information questionnaires and is responsible for collecting and organizing any paperwork that auditioners are required to turn in. The stage manager is responsible for keeping auditions running smoothly.
The pre production period is also the time for the stage manager to organize his/her prompt script and any other materials needed for rehearsals. They usually take some time to tape out the groundplan in the rehearsal space and set up the rehearsal space for the coming rehearsals. This may include posting signs to locations like dressing rooms, bathrooms, rehearsal spaces, management offices, etc.
During this period the stage manager generally woks with the director to develop rehearsal schedules, make calendars and post notices.
During rehearsals the stage manager is responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly. The voice of the SM should be the first and last voice the actors hear at rehearsals. They are responsible for keeping rehearsals on track and moving as well as developing and posting the schedule for rehearsals.
In an Equity company the SM is responsible for making sure that all AEA rules are followed. The AEA rules specify when and how long breaks should be, who long and when rehearsals can be, and many other things. They are responsible for keeping attendance records, often through a sign in sheet, and they keep track of each actor's personal performance to make sure that they are meeting the requirements of their contracts.
The SM functions as the right hand and notepad for the director and choreographer. The SM is responsible for recording all blocking as well as any other notes that pertain to the director's vision of the show.
==During Tech Rehearsals==
During the tech process the SM is still in charge of keeping rehearsals running smoothly. At this point they are putting lighting, sound, and any other cues into their prompt script. They also are guiding the actors as they are adapting to working on the set.
The SM is also training the ASMs to coordinate the backstage action. This includes making sure that running crew knows what they need to be doing at any given point in the show. The SM may also be in charge of hiring stage hands in some theatres.
During production the stage manager is responsible for maintaining the director's vision of the show. The production stage manager is generally responsible for calling the show. Calling the show means that the SM give cues to different people throughout the show. Cues can be given verbally over a com system, visually, using cue lights or other signals, or manually by the SM. The SM cues technicians and actors both.
As always, the SM is responsible for all scheduling and the posting of call times for cast and crew.
The SM may also be responsible for running touch up rehearsals during the run of the show. They may also need to train replacement actors for shows that have extended runs. The SM is responsible for the safety of the cast and crew of a show and has the authority to delay or cancel performances if conditions are unsafe. They are also responsible for accident reports if anything happens to cast or crew members during a performance.
After each performance it is the SM's job to create a performance report that is distributed to the production team of the show. The report contains information like running time of the show, length of intermission, who was late or absent, actor notes, and tech notes.
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