B.1   General Responsibilities
The Stage Manager is a key position in any successful theater production.  The position has a unique function because it serves the dual function of assistant to the director and production staff during the rehearsal period and then becomes the person in charge of the production during the actual performance. Each production will make different and unique demands of the Stage Manager. The role of Stage Manager is especially important and difficult in educational theater. The duties and responsibilities listed here are, by the nature of the position, incomplete; they serve as a guide to help create a successful experience.

The SM, stage manager, will be the key assistant to the director; however the SM is also serves as an assistant to the designers, technical director, costume shop supervisor, director of theater, conductor, and all other staff positions. Daily contact must be maintained with the entire production staff in order to communicate all of the various bits of information pertaining to the production.  The SM will be responsible for the creation and distribution of the Daily Rehearsal Report and the Performance Log. The report serves as a two-way communication between all members of the production staff. The SM should deliver the report in person in order to answer questions and gather information. The report should be delivered each day before the production shops open.

The SM will be issued any required key by the Technical Director.

The SM will maintain the Production Call Board, posting notices for cast and crews. The call board must be kept neat so that information is not lost in a clutter of useless postings.

The SM will help with the auditions as required by the director and director of theater.

The SM will create a Company Roster that will contain accurate information as to assignment, address, and phone number of each company member. This should be completed at the initial Company Meeting.                        

A primary duty of the SM is the creation of the Prompt Script. The SM will prepare a prompt script that will eventually contain all blocking notations, plus cues for lights, sound, shift, orchestra, and what ever is necessary for the production. This “bible” must be created with care so that anyone would be able to assume the position of SM and call a successful performance.

The SM will maintain a Production Book that will contain all information necessary for the production: Company Roster, production and rehearsal calendars, prop list, Daily Rehearsal Reports, Performance Logs .... any and everything pertaining to the production. This production book must be brought to every production meeting.

When rehearsals move into technical rehearsals, the SM will run the rehearsals.  The SM will schedule paper techs prior to the first tech rehearsal.  The SM will maintain the show throughout the run of the show, as rehearsed.


B.2   Rehearsals

Preparation for rehearsals.  The SM is responsible for taping out the set on the floor of the rehearsal room.  Obtain a dimensioned ground plan from the designer.  Obtain supplies from the Technical Director; 50 ft. tape, spike tape, etc.  After the rehearsal process, the SM is also responsible for removing all tape from the rehearsal floor.

The SM is responsible for gathering, storing, and returning all rehearsal props and rehearsal furniture.  A list of rehearsal props should be created by the director and SM.

The rehearsal props and furniture must be pulled by the SM and the designer or Technical Director.

Before rehearsal.  Arrive 20 to 30 minutes early; or earlier as needed.  The space should be ready 15 minutes before the call time.  Unlock doors.  Turn ON appropriate lights.  Do NOT turn on lights that are not needed.  For example, in the Bruder Theatre, DO NOT use the PANIC SWITCH to turn on  the house lights.  Use the dimmer controls; 1-3 @ 90%.  Check that the floor is clear and safe for the action required.  Check that any scenery or set piece is ready to be used as required.  Check that any recorded music or a piano is ready for use.  Check that all props are ready for use. Check that the production desk is ready (if needed).

Beginning of rehearsal

    1. Assemble cast; record attendance.
    2. Give announcements and  distribute information.
    3. Give specific instructions required for the rehearsal period.
    4. Create and maintain a check-in list for tech rehearsals and performances.
    5. If needed, provide rehearsal props.  These must be pulled in consultation with the designer and director of the production.
    6. As needed, coordinate the sign-up or costume fittings between the costume shop and the cast.

During the rehearsal

    1. Help maintain quiet and order.  Among other things, this means that all cellphones and other electronic devices must be kept away from backstage areas.
    2. Call cues to begin the action: curtain, lights, sound.
    3. Record blocking.
    4. Record changes to the script.
    5. Prompt actors as required.
    6. Record running times.
    7. Time and coordinate breaks for actors and staff.
    8. Keep director informed of time allocation.
    9. In a musical, help to coordinate activities between director, music director, choreographer, dance captain and the cast in an effort to make the most efficient use of time.

End of rehearsal

    1. Assist the director with notes.           
    2. Give announcements and take questions.
    3. Remind cast about scheduled fittings and or changes to the schedule.
    4. Prepare daily log.
    5. Check with the director.

The duties and procedures of the Stage Manager will vary with the nature of the script, production, rehearsal, director, and designers.  A good Stage Manager must be able to adapt to the needs of each production.  When an ASM is available, use that person to assist with routine duties.  Both you and the ASM must attend production meetings.

After rehearsal

    1. The rehearsal space must be left clean and neat.  
    2. All props must be stored so that they are secure and out of the way.
    3. All doors must be locked. Have everyone leave from one door.
    4. All lights must be turned OFF with the exception of the ghostlight.
    5. Check-out of the building. Call Police and Safety; phone 5337.

B.3   Safety and Security

A.   Building security guidelines

    1. Check that the company has access to the rehearsal room or stage. Check that other rooms are unlocked as required--Scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms. DO NOT BLOCK OPEN ANY DOOR ***
    2. If the building is officially closed; weekend and holidays, check-in with Campus Police; phone 5337.
    3. Before every public performance, check with the house manager to see that the public entrance is open and that all exists are clear.
    4. After all rehearsals and performances:

                                    a.    Check that all props and intercom headsets are stored.

                                    b.    Position the ghost light.

                                    c.    Check that all cast and crew have signed out.

                                    d.    Check that all doors are locked

                                    e.    Check-out with Campus Police; phone 5337.

5. Anyone remaining in the building must have a Late Pass and check-in with Campus Police; phone 5337.


B.   Accidents

    1. If a student is injured during a rehearsal or performance, provide the necessary first- aid; ie. Stop the bleeding.
    2. When an emergency medical response is needed, call  9 - 911 and request ambulance service.  Call Campus Police, extension 5337, to report the incident.
    3. In the event of a minor injury, call Campus Police (5337), to request assistance. All officers have first-aid training. Officers will transport             persons needing minor treatment to the hospital or call an ambulance for a serious injury.
    4. If a member of the public , non-student, is injured or in need of medical care, call  9 - 911.  Then call Campus Police (5337) to report the accident.
    5. You are NOT a doctor so do not jeopardize someone’s health and safety. Be responsible.  Get qualified help.

C.   Fire, evacuation of the building.

    1. In the event of a fire, remain calm; help control the situation.
    2. If you see or smell smoke, try to find the source.  Smoke may be coming from the art department kilns or possibly a light fixture. Don’t            create a problem with a false alarm.
    3. When a flame is visible; take action.
    4. On a minor flare-up promptly use a fire extinguisher.  Get help even if the fire appears to be small.  Call Campus Police (5337)
    5. When a fire is anything larger than a minor flare-up,  Call for help 9 - 911 Use the RED PULL BOX.  Bruder Theatre Pull boxes are located:  STAGE DOOR--just inside the door. STAGE  LEFT--exit door. BASEMENT HALL--opposite men’s dressing room. LOBBY--entrance doors.
    6. Call Campus Police (5337)
    7. Your primary concern is getting people out of the building.
    8. In the event a performance is in progress and you must evacuate the building:  be calm and give clear instructions that will help insure the safety of the audience.
    9. Contact the House Manager.
    10. Lower the Act Curtain, if possible, and bring up the House Lights.
    11. Step out in clear view of the audience and calmly announce: “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please.  We have an emergency backstage. We ask that you walk to the rear exit ( or give specific directions ) and leave the building.  I repeat; please walk to the rear exit and leave the building.  Thank you.”
    12. Have the House Manager help direct the audience to the exits.
    13. Direct the cast and crew to assemble outside on the lawn between King Hall and Beach Hall.  Take a head count to make sure that all members of the company are present.
    14. Be prepared to give information to Fire and Campus authorities.

D.   Tornado, storm warnings.

    1. Campus Police and Safety is responsible for the official notification of procedures during a storm.
    2. The Stage Manager must check-in with the Police and Safety Office to give notice that the building is occupied.
    3. The Stage Manager must be able to relay information from the Police and Safety Office and provide directions to all occupants of the building.
    4. Be prepared to make an announcement to the audience and direct them to the shelter area. Have the House Manager help direct the audience.
    5. The hallway on the first floor, the area of the Art Department is designated as the shelter area for King Hall.
    6. When “Take Cover” sirens are sounded, move to the shelter area.


Download "Chicken Soup for the SM's Soul" by Nate Brauner (Class of '06)

Return to top.

Return to ESU Theatre homepage.

Email bartrufj@emporia.edu

Updated 7/20/05 10:17 AM