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Deadline 3.22.13: Stage Managers and Equity

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Attending school at: Southern Oregon University
Training level: Undergrad
Project due date: 3.22.13

I'm a students at SOU and I am working on my capstone. I'm trying to find sources for journals and articles in which talk about stage managers and equity. The question I am trying to answer is: Why are stage managers apart of Equity?

I know they play a huge part of any production, but Stage Managers have more practical abilities/uses then designers or actors. I know stage managing is an art in its own way I just want to be able to find information about stage managers and equity.

If anyone can guide me to sources or other websites I would much appreciate it.

Post Merge: Feb 25, 2013, 03:43 pmDoing more research I have come to 2 significant questions that may help with my question.
Where can I find/ what is the history of stage managers? (generally around 1980s, when the SMA was created)

what are the major benefits of being an equity stage manager? i understand they will have more stability finding a job and they are able to voice their wants during meetings, but what else?

You might want to check out back issues of American Theatre Magazine:

In terms of benefits of being an Equity SM, check out the benifits page on the AEA website ( because a lot of the benefits are not just rights to have a say in the union, but things that effect your daily life and quality of life, ex. insurance, better working conditions, tax assistance, and not always more job stability or an easier time getting a job (if that were true everyone would go equity as soon as possible- in some cases it is better to be non equity in certain areas or at a certain point in your career). You also have "someone in your corner" when you do have situations that need to be dealt with in terms of working conditions, contracts, etc.

In terms of history of the SMA, I didn't see anything easily accessible on there site, but I have learned a lot about the history from long time members that I have worked with. Perhaps someone with first hand knowledge could act as a primary source for you.

I recently wrote a paper on the evolution of the position of the stage manager in relation to Equity.  Surprisingly, there are records extending as far as back as the 1940s.  For me, the most promising source of information are the records of Equity.  Unfortunately, these records are housed in New York City, which are hard to access. I found other information from Yale thesis work in theatre management as well as an economic thesis from around the 1950s that could be borrowed from Interlibrary Loan (if your school provides that service). Finally, try looking into the history of the Equity Stage Managers' Association, which operated within Equity until it was disbanded in the 1940s.

Good luck!

Here's a link with some quick reference points:

You should also check out the AEA Narrative Project. Here's a link specifically for the stories from/about SMs:

I also found this to be an interesting view, from a lawyer's perspective:


Don't remember how to do the fancy hyperlink thing, sorry.  This is AEA's history, recently published for the centennial.


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