Photo by Robin Webster.  Copyrighted, licensed for reuse.

Near Future Tech for Stage Managers

David J. McGraw

The annual USITT conference wrapped up in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago and I had the pleasure of participating in two panels and attending several others. I also clearly did not budget enough time on the Stage Expo floor: three hours was not enough time to check out all of the latest technology and software advances. But there are two pieces of near-future tech that I didn’t see but I am convinced someone should invent for stage managers.

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"If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit"  ~Banksy

Stage Manager Longevity (and How to Achieve It)

Marguerite Sugden

 

Do stage managers have a ticking time bomb working against them? Is there some sort of magic number of years or experiences or productions that they can work on before getting burnt out? It almost seems inevitable that a stage manager cannot manage the stage forever. Why is this? What are the causes and can it be avoided or fixed?

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Leah Ramillano is a Filipino-American Scenic Designer
Leah Ramillano is a Filipino-American Scenic Designer

The Safe Place to Explore Unsafe Ideas

Ross Jackson

An Interview with Leah Ramillano, Scenic Designer

Leah Ramillano is a Filipino-American Scenic Designer based out of Los Angeles and Orange County. After graduating with a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Redlands, Leah participated in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s FAIR program, where she worked as an Assistant Scenic Artist, and then later at PCPA [Pacific College of the Performing Arts] Theaterfest as a Scenic Art Intern. Later, she designed the world premiere of Ser! (written and performed by Karen Anzoategui) at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Then, she designed Sueños Sin Fronteras under Cornerstone Theater Company’s Teatro Jornalero. Leah will be graduating from the University of California, Irvine with an MFA in Scenic Design in June 2017. Her main stage designs include The Liquid Plain, These Shining Lives, and Parade.

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Xavier Pierce
Xavier Pierce

Storytelling Through Lighting Design

Porsche McGovern

For this post in Illuminations, I interview Xavier Pierce, a New York-based lighting designer with strong ties to the Guthrie Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, and the Mint Theatre.  In this interview, Xavier talks about how he began his journey, advice for starting a career in theatrical lighting design, and the importance of mentors and role models.

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Making More than Minimum

David J. McGraw

A question appeared on social media about gender wage equality for stage managers, which then led to a related question about how many Equity stage managers earn more than minimum union scale.  The 2015 edition of the Stage Manager Survey asked the 1,662 participants if they had tried to negotiate for a higher salary in their past three jobs:

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The cover of Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers
The cover of Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers

Guidance for the Ones Who Keep It All Together

David J. McGraw

Interviewing one of the authors of Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers

Stage managers are the linchpins of productions, involved in making sure everything happens smoothly, from before the first rehearsal to after strike, across all departments. And yet so often people starting out in the role are thrown into it with little preparation or guidance. Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers from Routledge Press, written by Emily Roth, Jonathan Allender-Zivic and Katy McGlaughlin, aims to change that, offering clear advice for those starting in the field—and sharing a wealth of documents and tools to help stage managers keep it all together. The trio began working on this book several years ago and last year one of authors, Katy McGlaughin, started her studies in the MFA Stage Management program that I lead at the University of Iowa. We sat down to chat about the book, her co-authors, and why they think sharing tools is so necessary.

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Dean Curosmith is a Stage Manager on Cirque du Soleil's Kooza.
Dean Curosmith is a Stage Manager on Cirque du Soleil's Kooza.

Cirque du Soleil and Childlike Disbelief

Ross Jackson

An Interview with Dean Curosmith, Cirque Stage Manager

Dean Curosmith is a Stage Manager with Cirque du Soleil.  He was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV and is currently traveling Australia with the Cirque production of Kooza.  Dean has been with Cirque du Soleil since January of 2013; has worked on four different productions; and with them he has traveled and worked in Japan, Chile, and now Australia.  Before his time with Cirque, he earned his Bachelor of Theatre Arts from Pepperdine University in 2007, and his Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Irvine in 2013.  Dean is of mixed heritage, but the largest contribution to his ethnic background is Japanese on his mother’s side.

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Kristen Day
Kristen Day

Find Your Chosen Family

Suzi Steffen

For this edition of Illuminations, I spoke with Kristen Day, who spent the 2016 season as a lighting technician and programmer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Day -- who worked on the electric crew at Shakespeare Santa Cruz and who was an intern through the FAIR program at Oregon Shakes before getting the job -- uses the pronouns they, them and their. Day got into the theatre by following their sister into dance and moved into lighting after some friends recruited them. And it was in the followspot booth that Day truly discovered who they were. 

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