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Clayesmore Drama Dept.

The Job of the Stage Manager

A Varied Role The Stage Managers role is one of the most varied and interesting within the theatre and a good Stage Manager is always central to the success of a production. It demands really good organisational skills as well as a keen eye for detail and a strong creative streak. In fact, its such an important job that there is usually a stage management team, rather than just one person. During Rehearsals It is enormously helpful if a member of the stage management team is at every rehearsal. The actors and director will make lots of decisions but they wont always have time to write them down. The Stage Manager should make a note of these decisions in the prompt copy. If it is decided that an actor should enter stage left, then the Stage Manager notes it in the prompt copy. If they decide they need a certain prop, the Stage Manager makes a note. When they come to rehearse a scene again and the actors have forgotten what was decided, the Stage Manager steps in!

Props Almost every show needs props - the objects used by the actors. The Stage Manager should keep a very detailed list of what is needed. You can make an initial list by discussing the play with the director - but bear in mind that the list will keep changing (usually growing) as the rehearsal process goes on. The Stage Manager is also responsible for collecting all the props. (Dont worry about this - everyone connected with the Drama Dept will help with this.) The earlier you can collect the props, the better. They can all be stored in the Tool Room in the theatre. Of course, some props cant be bought and they have to be made - this can often be really good fun and it is where you get a chance to be really creative.

The Prompt Copy The Prompt Copy is the Bible of the show. Well give you a folder to use for each show. It should contain all your lists - props, contact details, call sheets (a call sheet is the schedule of rehearsals for each week - the Director will work this out but you should make sure everyone has a copy). More importantly, it contains a copy of the script with all the moves and all the technical cues marked on. The Stage Manager uses it to run the show.

Running the Show The Stage Manager is in complete control of the production during performances. In the professional theatre, the director will only watch the rst couple of shows and then they might not see it again for several weeks. Sitting in the control room, the Stage Manager gives all the cues to the other members of the technical team - the lighting opThe Job of the Stage Manager 1

Clayesmore Drama Dept

The Job of the Stage Manager

erator, sound operator etc - telling them when to change the lights or to play a sound effect. This sounds really scary but you have everything you need in the prompt copy. All you have to do is follow the script as the actors perform it and, when they get to the appropriate line, you say, Go! to the lighting or sound operator. The only problem occurs if the actors get their lines wrong! It should look something like this:

Actors Moves Truffaldino, Beatrice, Brighella enter SR

Technical Cues



Walks SL towards inn.

Brig takes Beatrice to one side


LXQ means Lighting Cue - Each cue has its own number. The lighting operator will

have programmed the lighting desk. As the cue (the word with the box around it) approaches, you say, LXQ1...Go. Your job is to time it so that you say Go as the actor says the cue word. As you say, Go, the lighting operator presses the Go button. Its really important to say, LXQ1...Go in just that format. Not only is it the way it is done in all professional theatre but it just removes confusion and the lighting operator is in no doubt exactly when to press his button.
The Job of the Stage Manager 2

Clayesmore Drama Dept

The Job of the Stage Manager

SBLXQ 1 means Stand by LXQ1 - (you would say Stand by in full) and this is just a warning to check the lighting operator is ready. Its not quite as critical when you give this cue so you tend not to circle or box a cue word for a stand by. SFXQ means Sound Cue. Again, you would say, SFXQ 2...Go. The sound operator has a list of what each cue means. When you say Go, he presses the right sound effect on the CD player or computer. He has a list by the sound desk - and you have a copy in your prompt copy. SB SFXQ is a sound cue stand by and it works just like a LXQ. You will also need to add ASM Qs. ASM means Assistant Stage Manager and he or she is usually in the wings. They have a list of cues and when you tell them to Go, they do whatever needs doing - it might be that they are needed to give a burst of smoke or change a piece of scenery. Its not essential but it is also very helpful if you add Actor cues to the prompt copy. You have a microphone which communicates directly with the dressing rooms. You can tell the actors when they need to be making their way to the wings ready for their entrance. It is the actors responsibility to be on time but you can help them. It is a bit scary giving the cues at rst but youll soon get used to it and, the better you know the show, the easier it is. With a good prompt copy, it is possible to run a show without ever having seen it - but its not easy and it is a denite advantage to know the show well.

Show Report After each show, you note down the running time together with anything you noticed didnt work quite perfectly. Then it can be put right for the next show.

The Job of the Stage Manager

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