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. Add a comment

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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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Weekly Timesheet

Punching the Clock

David J. McGraw

Since the Department of Labor announced back in May the updated overtime regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act that take effect on December 1st, nearly every American industry has examined how – and how long - its employees work.  Perhaps this is the pendulum swinging back after decades of increased expectations of work hours, but all fields must now consider whether they have built their companies on the backs of employees who do not set their own schedules.  The performing arts are no different.

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Red rose.  Photo by Enid Martindale

A Rose by any Other Name

Katy McGlaughlin

In a field where personal satisfaction often out-weighs monetary payment a title can mean a lot. When I was hired for my last job I was officially called the “Production Assistant/Stage manager;” in reality I was assisting the production manager, shopping/buying for the shop, managing budgets, contracting crew, stage managing the Main Stage season, and working with the Second Stage stage manager. After I had been working for several months, and really started to understand the scope of the job, I had a meeting with my boss about changing my title.

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Replacing Cues.  Photo by Sarah Smiley

Adaptive Leadership

David J. McGraw

If you work in a close-knit theatrical community, you can guess the director or choreographer of a show just by its staging.  And despite creating environments in multiple time periods and locations, many designers also have ‘visual signatures.’  So do stage managers have a style that is apparent to other theatre artists even when the SM is not physically present?

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