Robot on Headset

A Robot-Proof Profession

David J. McGraw

An incendiary blogpost hit the stage management circles last week questioning whether stage managers will be replaced by data transfer and cueing technologies. A number of professions have become rightfully obsolete – as much as an elevator operator sounds quaint, I shudder to think that elevators used to be so unreliable and difficult to operate. Meanwhile, I was also part of a strategic planning process in which we discussed Joseph E. Aoun’s book Robot-Proof. Robot-Proof proposes that, with the rise of artificial intelligence, we need to prepare the next generation for jobs that machines and algorithms cannot complete. Do I believe that stage management is one of those jobs? Absolutely. Aoun defines a new discipline, humanics, by which we can see how stage management cannot be replaced by a robot.

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Questions Marks

Keep Asking Questions, The Answers of Tomorrow May Not Be the Same

David J. McGraw

While stage management doesn’t have its own conference, we are in the heart of conference season for the performing arts.  More than any other time of year, this is an opportunity for stage managers of all ages and experience levels to come together to swap stories and to learn from each other.  I cannot wait to head to Louisville for this year’s USITT conference, including portfolio reviews coordinated by Erin Joy Swank and the new micro-sessions such as the aptly-named “Lessons I Learned I Wish I Had Known Earlier” session on the Expo floor.

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Kris Julio. Photo Credit: G. Allen Aycock.
Kris Julio. Photo Credit: G. Allen Aycock.

Kris Julio: Intentional Intersectionality Through Props

Porsche McGovern

I was introduced to Kris Julio through a mutual close friend via the Internet. Kris Julio is the Assistant Professor for Stage Properties in the School of Design & Production at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His professional experience includes work with Triad Stage, Majestic Scenic, Santa Fe Opera, National Black Theater Festival, Peppercorn Children’s Theater, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, American Conservatory Theater, and Contemporary American Theater Festival. With NETworks Presentations, Julio traveled as head of props for the national tours of Memphis the Musical and Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Julio has a B.A. in theater arts from UC Santa Cruz and an M.F.A. in stage properties from UNCSA.

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It is that time, time to make your resolutions for the New Year
It is that time, time to make your resolutions for the New Year

New Year Resolutions for a Stage Manager

David J. McGraw

Whether you are packing up your promptbook to the annual Holiday Cash Cow or putting away the Secret Santa decorations from your long-running show, it is time to consider your resolutions for the New Year. While we may appear “practically perfect in every way,” we know there is room for improvement. As we ring in another year, consider the following:

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Photo: Carly O'Neill
Photo: Carly O'Neill

Are You Ready for the 6th Annual International Stage Manager Day?

David J. McGraw

I was chatting with an Australian colleague and I casually asked if the International Stage Manager’s Day had taken root on her continent.  Not only has the holiday “well and truly taken hold” in Australia, but various SM teams are trying to figure out how to top last year’s festivities.  The photo for this post is a cake made last year by a QUT Technical Production Stage Management student.  And yes, both the stop watch and the pencil are also edible.

American readers of this blog, we need to step up our game!

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Woman Exploring a Forest

Trailblazers, Then and Now

David J. McGraw

This week we celebrated the annual Del Hughes awards, a lifetime achievement award for “Excellence in the Art of Stage Management” sponsored by the Stage Managers’ Association (the American SMA, not the British version). This year’s recipients are Maxine Glorsky, Roy Harris, and Lyle Raper, as well as a special award for Achievement in Stage Management Education for Peter Sargent.  I was honored to interview Lyle Raper for the Standing in the Dark podcast.

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Danielle Preston
Danielle Preston

Danielle Preston: Costume Design & Identity

Porsche McGovern

I met Danielle Preston through a Facebook group. Danielle Preston is a freelance costume designer based in Washington DC. Danielle has designed for The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Theater for Young Audiences, The Lincoln Center, Theater J, Triad Stage, Theater Alliance DC, 1st Stage, Totem Pole Playhouse, and Bristol Valley Theater. Danielle was a recipient of the William R. Kenan Jr. Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy Center in Costume Design and the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute Fellowship in Costume Design Education. She is a member of the Costume Society of America and United Scenic Artists Local 829. She holds a BA in Theater Production from Meredith College and an MFA in Costume Design from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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