Survey Says…

by David J. McGraw

The home page of the SM SurveyThe Stage Management program at the University of Iowa has been conducting a major survey of the American system of stage management since 2006.  The survey started small with simple questions like, “Do you record both blocking and cues in the same script?” and has grown to include questions not just about how we do our job but also who we are as stage managers. Our most recent survey in 2013 received responses from 878 stage managers, making it the largest study of stage managers nationally, if not globally.  We conduct the survey every 2-3 years so as to not risk fatigue – we are very grateful for the time everyone takes with this study.  We ask new questions with each edition of the survey, we also repeat some questions to track how our field is changing.  In our 2006 survey, 66% of participants were female; in 2013, this ratio grew to 69% but with much higher female representation among younger stage managers.

Male and Female stage managers in each age group who took the 2013 Stage Manager SurveyWill the gender divide continue to grow or have we reached a plateau?  Or what about technology topics such as calling shows directly from computer monitors or tablets – just a fad or the future of stage management?  We need your input!  Join the 2015 Stage Manager Survey! [link: ]

Anyone who has stage managed at least one theatrical production in the United States (or a tour that originated in the US) is encouraged to participate.  There are separate lines of questions for veteran stage managers and for people who are just starting their careers.  Even if you are still in school, we want to learn about future generations of stage managers. 

This online survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.  The survey runs November 1-29 and the results will be published in January 2016.  To read previous survey reports and to participate in this year’s survey, visit  And be sure to tell us that you heard about the survey through Stage Directions Magazine!