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Duly-Earned Recognition

David J. McGraw • Stage Manager’s Kit • August 25, 2016
The Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program has officially recognized Stage Management

The Fulbright Program has just announced that it is formally recognizing Stage Management as a category of sponsored study.  Forgive the cliché, but this is a game-changer for our field. 

As you can see from the announcement, Stage Management is being recognized in the same round as animation, illustration, and jazz performance.

The Fulbright announcement showing newly recognized Fulbright categories
The Fulbright announcement showing newly recognized Fulbright categories

For current students and anyone who has graduated with a BA/BFA or MA/MFA in the past five years, you are now eligible to apply for grants that will fund travel, study, and research in a foreign country.  [Stage managers with a Ph.D. are rare and research opportunities differ.]  Contact your current school or alma mater about the application process.  In the past, a stage manager could apply as a theatre generalist but there are now specific criteria and application materials so that the grant panel can best evaluate our work.

This news is certainly wonderful for current students and recent alumni, but here is why this announcement really matters to all stage managers.  The Fulbright Program “is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries”1 and the program adds categories based on international need and recognition.  In other words, the U.S. State Department has determined that the field of Stage Management is growing internationally and that it is in the interest of United States government to have the best trained stage managers. 

Moreover, much as we send artists overseas to represent the United States, the Fulbright now will support professional ‘specialists’ in Stage Management who wish to research, teach, or present workshops in other countries.  This Specialist program sponsors very short trips – often 2-6 weeks – but it can offer financial support if you have colleagues from another country that would like to learn more about American stage management.  I also know many American stage managers who would like to observe how other nations’ stage managers operate but union requirements can restrict access.  This program may provide a direct solution to that problem.

Like most grant programs, the competition is fierce – particularly for English-speaking countries – but it is a new opportunity for individual stage managers and our field as a whole.  For more information, visit

1 Announcement e-mail about the new Stage Management category from Lora Seery, Senior Program Officer.

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