A Handbook for Beginning Stage Managers at Kalamazoo College
Delia, Sarah M.
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The stage manager is a crucial member of the production team in any theatrical organization. This person is responsible for the smooth running of the production both onstage and backstage. The calm, steady influence provided by the stage manager throughout the rehearsal process greatly enhances the creative efforts of the actors, director, and designers. Organizational and leadership abilities are essential qualities for the future student stage manager. Other characteristics include the ability to accept responsibility, to remain calm in crisis situations, and to think ahead and anticipate. In addition, consideration for actors and crew, observational capabilities, punctuality, dependability, a sense of humor, and communication skills, aid in efficiently coordinating people, time, and space. I felt I could best learn these skills or some semblance of them, in a professional theatre. Accordingly I arranged a stage management internship at the Hartford Stage, one of the foremost professional, regional theatre companies in the country. Working with professionals expanded my general knowledge of theatre and of stage management in particular. I am greatly indebted to Hartford Stage for the wonderful learning experience it has provided me.During my experiences at Kalamazoo College I felt there were few resources for the student stage manager. The lack of understanding of the stage manager's role and the tasks the stage manager must undertake to pave the way for a successful production prompted me to concentrate on the basic duties of the stage manager in an educational institution. The process of assembling this handbook has clarified for me the role of the stage manager in mounting a production. I sincerely hope it benefits future student stage managers in a similar manner. The handbook is designed for the student who has perhaps been involved in drama in high school and has participated in at least one or two productions here at Kalamazoo College. This internship, along with my previous experiences at Kalamazoo College and at Northlight Theatre, has provided the foundation for this handbook.
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