Cause for Celebration + Exciting Announcement

by David J. McGraw
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Stage Managers score 10 out of 10!
Perfect scores for Stage Managers
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.

International Stage Management Day is part of a larger effort to recognize the work of stage managers. Next year is the 100th anniversary of stage managers joining Actor’s Equity Association; Amanda Spooner and others are spearheading a Year of the Stage Manager project in which we focus on our history (see the Stage Management History blog) and future. The biennial Stage Manager Survey (www.smsurvey.info) will be back on November 1st to see how our field is evolving. We are stepping out from the calling stations and into our light.

I recognize that there have been a recent explosion of holidays and that some question whether stage managers need their own day. When the holiday began seven years ago, I was one of the doubters who questioned its value. But I am now a firm believer. Why the change? Because I have heard too many stories of producers taking advantage of stage managers’ willingness to put in long hours, too many stories of directors undercutting stage managers’ authority, and – worst of all – too many good stage managers hanging up their headsets because the joy is gone. We spend so many hours of our life solving problems and remaining impartial that we risk losing the genuine joy of creating art.

So, to all of us who can give Scrooge a run for his money in seriousness, enjoy a day of puns. Allow others to show their appreciation for your work. TAKE THE COMPLIMENT. Because on October 11th, it is back to business!

Now for the announcement…

I have been fascinated by longitudinal studies that examine a small group of people over many years. The Framingham Heart Study has made major medical discoveries tracking the lives citizens in the Massachusetts town and the Up series of documentaries that followed 14 British children every 7 years for the past 56 years has presented a poignant view of aging.

It is therefore very exciting to announce a longitudinal study of young American stage managers: the SM2030 project. This study will follow seniors in college who are pursuing careers in stage management. We will interview this group of young early career stage managers until 2030 to learn more about their experiences: internships, graduate school, the decision whether/when to join AEA, etc. We know that hundreds of new stage managers join the workforce every year but we don’t know what happens to them. If you are about to graduate college or know stage managers who are about to pursue full careers (including starting grad school), please visit www.smsurvey.info to get information about this ten-year study! The first round of interviews will begin in January.


* I would like to apologize for amplifying to a false origin story last year. British stage managers did not pick 10/10 as the date for this holiday due to any connection to tech hours, but because stage managers score 10 out of 10, i.e, full marks. Many thanks to the Stage Management Association in the UK for setting the record straight!