x

Stage Manager’s Kit

Stage Directions’ blog about all things related to Stage Management

  • New York, New York!

    Katy McGlaughlin | Stage Manager’s Kit | January 13, 2016I think most theatre professionals at some time or other have dreamed about the Great White Way. Read More...
  • SM as Whistle-Blower

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | January 7, 2016You are rehearsing a show and the director wants to change the script.  What should you do?  What can you do? Read More...
  • Gifts for Your Favorite Stage Manager

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | December 23, 2015The only person who keep more lists than Santa is a stage manager.  So whether you are shopping for the holidays or just wanting to thank that SM who saved your show/career/life, here are a few popular gift ideas: Read More...
  • SM Magic: Shadowing Backstage at The Tempest

    Lindsay Warnick | Stage Manager’s Kit | December 20, 2015I added another item to my list of “coolest theatre experiences EVAR” when I shadowed backstage at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of The Tempest. A surprising and very exciting opportunity.  When I arrived I was immediately led through a series of passcoded doors and hallways before being dropped off onstage with some crew guys while I waited for the Assistant Stage Manager. Read More...
  • Ghosts & Ghost Lights

    Katy McGlaughlin | Stage Manager’s Kit | December 5, 2015Have you ever wondered why we use ghost lights? They provide a measure of safety for the staff leaving the theatre late at night or arriving first thing in the morning (and mayhap helps prevent new ghost from being born) and they are necessary to meet fire codes in many parts of the country. They may originate from the extra lights used to keep stage lights from “ghosting” when the dimmers are inefficient. But many theatre practitioners believe that the ghost lights greater function is to provide light for a theatre’s ghostly patrons. If the ghostly occupants of a theatre don’t have light to play by they get cranky and may cause trouble (even cursing the theatre; some say this is also why theatre have a dark day each week).Many Broadway theatres have famous ghosts –  Read More...
  • Je Suis Paris

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | November 23, 2015The previous post to this one (How Do You Say Standby) was inspired by a former student who was planning her first European tour as a stage manager and happened upon Mark Mongold’s translation tools in her preparations.  She arrived in Paris three days before the attacks and I have never been more grateful for social media to learn that she was safe that night of the attacks. Read More...
  • How Do You Say “Standby”?

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | November 17, 2015​[This piece was written and scheduled well before the tragedy in Paris on Friday, Nov. 13. We understand that learning tech terms in another language might not be the primary thing on people's minds as they prepare to travel abroad with a show right now,  but this is still good information we wanted people to have. A fuller post on a stage manager's responsilbities in tragic events, and how they can prepare for them, is coming. -Jacob, SD editor.] A stage manager who is preparing for an international gig e-mailed me a fantastic but mysterious Rosetta Stone for touring:  single-page guides that translate American technical theatre terms translated into multiple languages.  What wonderful finds!  Even in the age of Google Translate, it is hard to convert technical terminology, especially when the words have secondary meanings from everyday conversation (Leg, Flat, Mixer, Upstage, anyone?)  These reference charts had been passed among stage managers for years, but who made these wonderful touring cheat sheets?  Although I was tempted to contact Starlee Kine at the podcast Mystery Show, I did a bit of my own detective work and found a gentlemen named Mark Mongold. Read More...
  • Angels and Ministers of Grace Defend Us!

    Katy McGlaughlin | Stage Manager’s Kit | November 16, 2015 ​The world is rife with superstitions and the theatre has its fair share; never wish an actor good luck, don’t whistle backstage, never use real money or jewelry onstage, peacock feathers are bad luck, etc. One of the most famous or rather infamous involves the play Macbeth.  Read More...
  • Survey Says…

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | November 5, 2015 The 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. Read More...
  • Book Review: Production Stage Management for Broadway

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | October 26, 2015 Come for the Stories, Stay for the Paperwork The gateway for many theatre-lovers is the Broadway musical, so a growing trend is to teach stage management from the Broadway perspective. Peter Lawrence, recipient of a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre, has authored a book focused on the work of a Broadway PSM. Lawrence’s extensive resume (original Broadway PSM for Spamalot, Shrek the Musical, and Sunset Boulevard, among others) provides him with ample opportunities to explore different styles of stage management and to shape his perspective on topics ranging from why he prefers Sitzprobes over Wandelprobes to why he believes the American model of stage management is broader and stronger than the UK system. Read More...
  • Welcome to the Stage Manager’s Kit!

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | October 19, 2015 A good SM kit contains all the tricks of the trade, ranging from new tech tools to age-old remedies to treasures from the office supply store. It might seem like magic when the stage manager pulls out the most obscure item*, but that bag of tricks is actually the sum of the stage manager’s experiences in solving problems. This web series aims to be just that: the collective experiences of stage managers distilled to interviews, strategies, and more than a few tricks. We stage managers often work in isolation and many of us learned the trade through just a couple of mentors. We don’t have our own annual conference (it would have to be a single day and on a Monday!) and social gatherings are usually limited to the larger cities. We are very grateful to Stage Directions to give us a home. Read More...
The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!