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WANTED: STAGE MANAGER / ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

June 6, 2018

 

The St. James Players is seeking a Stage Manager/Assistant Director for our 2018 production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.  This is volunteer position, and offers a great professional development opportunity for someone interested in learning from an experience director and contributing to a dynamic community theater group that makes Shakespeare free and accessible to the public. 

 

A job description appears below, and interested candidates should contact Joan Griffin: grifjoan58@gmail.com

 

THE STAGE MANAGER'S ROLE
 

The Stage Manager (SM) is key to creating an efficient and positive a production. Your ability to successfully lead and work with the company, although at times possibly stressful, will be of utmost importance. Your overall purpose is to work directly with the director, cast and production people to move a show from inception to closing. Aside from the obvious technical aspects of the positions, in many cases you will be involved in that call on human relations skills and diplomacy.

 

GET TO KNOW PRODUCTION TEAM
 

Read the script several times
 

o Make notes of set changes, lighting needs, special effects, sound needs, and any special rigging. Also, make notes of costume and make-up changes, especially those that happen back stage.
o Start to make notes on how to best move set pieces, as this will have an impact on number of running crew required.

 

Meet with the director about:
o Style and feeling of the show overall;
o Movement of the show from scene to scene;
o Plans for light & sound functioning;
o How the set and playing areas will work;
o Expectations of the director during and between rehearsals.

 

Get to know the rest of the production staff and the Board so as to develop a good working relationship with all participants.
 

Review the rehearsal schedule with the director, and make sure that cast members have a copy at the earliest opportunity, as well as posting dates online.
 

Production Schedule/Timeline


Arrange a meeting with the entire production staff to create a production schedule, in which each person’s tasks and deadlines are listed. Make sure that copies of the finished schedule are widely distributed.


The schedule includes all rehearsals, tech week, opening night, performances and final strike, as well as key events such as completion of costumes, sets, lighting setup, etc.
 

Depending on the production, there will be two to four full run-throughs Two include fine tuning with make-up and hair and costumes; at least one with lights, sound and special effects and full crew for cue to cue, with the SM in the booth.You will then record your cues in your SM Script.
 

In addition:
 

Arrange one tech rehearsal (usually on a Saturday morning) for checking light and sound cues and levels.

 

Arrange a time with and the Director and the Light and Sound Designers.

 

Establish which nights to have an early call for a costume parade with the director, the actors, and the Costume Designer. Ask Costume Designer which night would be appropriate.
 

An early call might also be necessary for make-up and hair.
 

You may, depending on the complexity of the production, have to call a few rehearsals of just your crew to rehearse changing scenes or props. These changes have to be orchestrated so that they will be smooth, swift, and economical.


If there are any problems with lights, sound, props, make-up/hair or costumes, refer it to the Technical Director
 

Prepare your script for the run of the play. This will be separate from the rehearsal script.
 

Photocopy each page.of the script, and paste onto one side (only) of an 8.5 x 11” piece of card stock, and punch for inserting into a 3-ring binder.
 

Arrange pages in a 3-ring binder so that the script is on the right side, and the blank side on the left, when the book is opened. The blank page will have all cues written on it, and any additional notes, as needed. You may also want to color code them.
 

REHEARSALS:
 

Encourage respect. Set a good example for everyone by being supportive to all.
 

Arrive at least 1⁄4 hour before call time. The SM is always first to arrive for each rehearsal and last to leave..
 

Arrange set furniture for the scene as needed.
 

Help props people arrange props on and off stage.

 

Call actors who are late.
 

Record all blocking in pencil - you may need to erase later.
 

Time each rehearsal. It’s good to break every 60 minutes or so.
 

Maintain, update and distribute changes to the script.
 

Find out what’s planned for the next rehearsal, so you know which scene to set up. before leaving.
 

Leave notes for crew heads of changes or that may have taken place when they haven't been at rehearsal.
 

Close down all lights, and fire doors.
 

Support and assist the director in the interpretation of the play and the design of movement; suggest ideas, especially solutions to problems
 

As requested by director, work separately with groups of actors on assigned portions
 

Coordinate with departments to message with the cast; e.g., making appointments for costume fittings or checks.
 

DURING TECH PERIOD:
 

Start timing each act. Consult with director if additional cuts or changes are necessary.
 

Set up work lights for props and quick costume changes backstage.
 

Arrange for backstage soundproofing when needed. (old carpets work fine)
 

Remind all running crew, lights, sound, props, makeup, hair, special effects, set decoration, costume designer and dressers and ASM to be at all rehearsals from now on.


It is also helpful if they stay for notes at the end of the night, as sometimes notes can be lost in translation from one person to another.
 

Maintain line notes or delegate line notes to another.
 

During the technical rehearsals, all cues are numbered and recorded by the SM. The lighting and sound people may also record these numbers (lighting and sound cues are numbered separately).
 

Work out protocol for light and sound cues.
 

TECH-DRESS REHEARSALS:
 

Stay focused and supportive to the whole production team.
 

Work out front-of-house and start-of-show protocol
 

Inform cast and crew where they are not allowed to go during the run. They should be limited to backstage and dressing rooms.
 

Post the sign-in sheet at the stage door. This is essential in keeping track of who is, and is not present, so that you can make a phone call as needed.
 

Time the show
 

DURING THE RUN:
 

You are the one responsible for everything and everyone to be ready and to maintain the director's intentions.

 

Have a secure place for show members to place valuables.
 

Be there 1 hour before curtain.
 

Inform house people before each performance about special procedures.
 

Inform actors about checking props before house is open - usually 1⁄2 hour before curtain.
 

Check that lights and sound crew have done their sound and lighting checks, and they are ready to go to first cue before the house opens.
 

Check that special effects are ready to go.
 

Check that all masking and set pieces are in the correct place and that all props are in their correct places. If not, respectfully ask props to remedy.
 

Inform house manager that you will tell them when to open the house.
 

No "visitors" are allowed in backstage area or in the booth. If someone should enter, introduce yourself and ask them if you can help them. If not, explain why it is important for them not to be where they are. For example, “I’m sorry, but safety [or fire] regulations do not permit backstage visitors, but we will be happy to relay message, or deliver flowers to the dressing rooms.”
 

Give actors and crew a 30-minute call, a 15-minute call 5-minute call and “Places!.
 

Ask actors to respond to your calls, so you know you've been heard.
 

At five minutes to curtain, the ASM will alert audience by lights or sound. Ask ASM to inform you when the house doors are closed.
 

Sometimes the House Manager will ask you to hold the curtain. Give them a couple of minutes to seat people - it is less disruptive than seating them during the show.
 

Should an audience member need to enter during the show, it must be while the actors are speaking and never during a blackout.
 

Any damage to set pieces or props must be repaired before you leave the theatre.
 

Valuable items or weapons should be locked in the cabinet in the control booth.
 

AFTER THE RUN:
 

Be there for the strike (dismantling of the set and return of reusable items as appropriate).
 

Make sure that all heads of departments know that they are responsible for returning borrowed or rented items.

 

All stage areas should be cleaned, set pieces put in storage areas, stage swept, damp- mopped and painted back to black.

 

All areas used by the company must be cleaned, as well as dressing rooms, bathrooms and lobby.
 

The scene shop should be swept, and garbage put in the dumpster.

 

If keys have been given to production team members, these need to be returned and noted in the log.

 

Check with the Technical Director to make sure all tasks are completed before closing and locking the facility.
noted in the log.
 Check with the Technical Director to make sure all tasks are completed before
closing and locking the facility.

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