Derek Graham. Photo credit: Isdell Photography.
Derek Graham. Photo credit: Isdell Photography.

The Art of Blackness: Sound Design for the Culture

Porsche McGovern

I met Derek Graham when he was the resident sound designer/engineer at PlayMakers Repertory Company on Skeleton Crew, for which I designed lights. Derek Graham is a sound designer, composer, and audio engineer based in North Carolina. A native of Queens, NY, Derek holds a MFA in Sound Design from Ohio University. His sound design and composition works include: Redwood (Portland Center Stage at the Armory), Your Healing is Killing Me and Bewilderness (PlayMakers Repertory Company: PRCSeries); The Passion of Teresa Rae KingA Raisin in the Sunand Beautiful Star (Triad Stage); Believe in Cleveland (Karamu House); and Wakey Wakey, An Octoroon (Dobama Theatre). Derek has recently co-founded a multi-media design company with his wife, Jessica called Life by Design Media & Productions, recently launching the first episode of the new podcast series What’s the Law? Ask John Eluwa

Read more
Stage Managers score 10 out of 10!

Cause for Celebration + Exciting Announcement

David J. McGraw

On October 10th we celebrate International Stage Management Day. We can thank our fellow SMs in the UK for starting this holiday* and festivities are planned quite literally around the world (please free feel to share yours in the Comments). The Stage Managers’ Association of the United States is hosting parties, sharing punny telegrams, and asking folks to post photos of SM teams with the tag #Internationalstagemanagementday2019.

Read more
Christopher Scott Murillo. Photo: Jim Carmody.
Christopher Scott Murillo. Photo: Jim Carmody.

Christopher Scott Murillo: Storytelling Through Scenic Design

Porsche McGovern

I was introduced to Christopher Scott Murillo through a mutual friend. We also work on the USA829 diversity committee together. Christopher Scott Murillo is a scenic designer, artist, and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. Most recently, his work has been seen at The Kirk Douglas Theatre, International City Theatre, The Chance Theater, Skylight Theatre Company, East West Players, New Village Arts Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry, The El Portal Theatre, and the Getty Villa, among many others. 

Read more
A Dozen Games for Stage Managers

Stage Managers Play More Than Drinking Games

David J. McGraw

Recently the question of how stage managers practice their soft skills was posed in an online forum and my immediate response was GAMES! I will confess that I am life-long fan of games of all kinds but, beyond general enjoyment, I find them to be incredible learning opportunities for stage managers. Games can teach you how to analyze a problem and develop strategies to solve it, read people and their bluffs, cooperate with colleagues, negotiate with those in power, and even learn how to benefit when you know you are going to lose. 

Read more
Tara A Houston. Photo by: Eddie Perez.
Tara A Houston. Photo by: Eddie Perez.

Tara Houston: Navigating Mixed-Race Identity

Porsche McGovern

While interviewing designers from the Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval 2018, Porsche McGovern met Tara A. Houston and wanted to learn more about her. Houston is the Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Louisiana State University as well as a freelance scenic designer. Her design work has been featured at Swine Palace, Skylight Music Theatre, Casa Mañana Theatre, Ocala Civic Theatre, Austin Shakespeare, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Music Theatre of Wichita, and others.

Read more
Backstage View of FREEDOM cast warming up at the South African State Theatre
Backstage View of FREEDOM cast warming up at the South African State Theatre

Making Theatre in South Africa

David J. McGraw

Three years ago, I used this blog to promote a new Fulbright initiative that supports stage managers and stage management students in cultural exchanges. I didn’t just announce the program; I applied for it myself. Today I finish a two-week residency in Pretoria, South Africa, in what has been an amazing journey.

Read more
Screenshot of “Announcement of the New Department of Drama,” The Tartan; Vol. 8, No. 15; Carnegie Mellon University; Pittsburgh, PA; January 15, 1914; page 8; digitalcollections.library.cmu.edu; December 17, 2017.
Screenshot of “Announcement of the New Department of Drama,” The Tartan; Vol. 8, No. 15; Carnegie Mellon University; Pittsburgh, PA; January 15, 1914; page 8; digitalcollections.library.cmu.edu; December 17, 2017.

History of College Stage Management Courses? Not Yet!

Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier

To college, or not to college? While some colleges and universities offer BFA degrees focused on stage management, many do not. Ask anyone in the stage management field and many will have a particular opinion on higher education – Should you choose a school with a BFA in stage management, allowing you built-in access to mentors, stage management courses, and a support network? Or do you go to a smaller program where you may not receive much of a stage management education in a classroom setting, but as the only stage manager in the theatre department, you end up graduating with 10 or more shows under your belt? OR, do you skip college and apply straight away for every apprenticeship and internship a high school graduate can get, maximizing on the networking opportunities that jumping straight into the field may open for you?

Read more