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Hey guys,

I was recently interning (unpaid) as an ASM for a production where I got really terrible food poisoning a few hours before call time and I couldn't even leave my bathroom without feeling like I was going to hurl. I called my stage manager and said that I was really ill and didn't think I was able to do the show that night. They told me to come in anyway and that I'd feel better later. I obliged and said ok I'll give it a go. When it came closer to the call time and needed to leave I still felt the same and was vomiting at least every 10 minutes. I called the stage manager again and said I really didn't think it was a great idea to come in and she told me just to come so they could see my 'condition'. It ended with me having to somehow drag myself to the theatre only to get there and be told by the stage manager - "you need to learn that as stage managers you need to just do the job even when you are sick, the only exceptions are when you need to go to hospital or have had an accident." At this point, I was in tears because I thought I was being weak for not being able to pull myself together, but at the same time I was certainly in no state to work. I felt like the stage manager didn't trust me when I told her I was ill and that really upset me that this is how they thought of me. The director and company manager happened to be there that night and I got sent home by them anyway as they could see I could hardly stand up.

I put a lot of thought into whether I could afford to miss the show and in the end I could justify it as I only had 2 things in my ASM plot, being to open and close curtains, and this could easily be done by one of the stand by staging or lighting crew. The show also had no props and my only job was to sweep the stage and put the first aid kit side stage.

The stage manager only had a couple years more experience than me (in terms of uni graduation) and whilst I did (try to) respect their authority the whole time, there were many times during the production where she would call me in very early in the mornings when there was nothing to do and when I asked they said, "Me (and the lighting/sound crew) have to be here so you should be too." I didn't want to say anything but it felt like a waste of manpower to call everyone in when it wasn't necessary and also felt like I was being taken advantage of since it was unpaid. But would like to know what everyone thinks of this too?

This is one of my first experiences in the industry and it honestly wasn't a great one. Throughout university, the lecturers always told us that our health came first. I've met a lot of "ride or die" stage managers who really put their work first, but they've always only applied that to themselves and not the crew working for them.

So I guess what I am asking is if anyone has had any experience like this? And also whether you have the right to say no to coming in when you are ill or have some kind of family emergency?

Thanks for listening to my vent everyone...
I think it might mean that not a lot of SMs on this board take time off and come back to stage management....much more likely that folks slide into related careers like production management that have more family-friendly hours.
Don't get hung up on having control.  Honestly, and I don't intend this to sound curt, reading your first post gave me the impression you're primarily interested in having control and you've presented it through the lens of doing your job.  If you approach it from that angle it will be transparent that your interest is being "in charge" rather than deliver a high quality product to the patrons.  This is a mistake many managers make early in their careers - lord knows I was guilty of it.  I shudder when I look back at how I handled some situations in my early 20s.

If he is a resident director and on the board then like it or not he does have the authority to make pre-show speeches every night, some nights, or not at all.  If it's a regular occurrence and the other board members haven't stopped it, then it's an accepted aspect of that company.  You don't have to like it, but if you want to work for them you do need to deal with it.

Maribeth (as usual!) has some great suggestions.  I would also suggest you do your best to plan for the pre-show speeches.  I think you're certainly appropriate to have a conversation with him about it, but consider expressing that you need a heads up so you can make him and the rest of the company look good (this is hard for you to do if you don't what's going to happen).  Maybe work with the LD to design a pre-show special or have a bump button ready that can be hit by the board op regardless of what cue you're in, or have a follow-spot on the ready to hit him.  If you spin the conversation to be about how you can make him look better I think you'll be surprised by the level of cooperation.
Thank you for your reply! They're not an artistic director, but something of a resident director- on the board, works with them a lot, etc. so they have clout in the company. I was afraid that bringing things up as they come would seem like I just have problem after problem with them, but I will absolutely do that- it'd be a lot easier to frame in a positive light. The PM (who knew that this is an issue) and I have also now talked over some solutions for this issue during tech, so between your comment and that (which I asked for because of your comment), I feel a lot more comfortable. Thank you for your help!
Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Taking time off
« Last post by juliec on Apr 17, 2018, 12:24 am »
How fascinating that this thread has several interested posters, and no one has responded with any tips! (Does this mean that SM's tend not to take time off? Hmmm...)

I'm also interested in this. Unfortunately, several of the companies I've had long relationships with have had quite a bit of turnover as well this year, so that hasn't helped very much in terms of network and contacts. Also, problematically, I'd like to take time off for almost a year for an full-time opportunity in another field. I'd love to come back, but there is a serious fear of being "forgotten".

To keep my skills sharp, I'm considering: 1-2 week jobs, jobs in related fields (corporate). Realistically though, these taking on short jobs may be limited because starting fresh at a full-time job another industry can be very time-consuming.

I'm hopeful that when you're ready to come back, you can email folks in your network to let them know and see if they know of any opportunities? My other huge fear is that once I leave, I won't ever come back, will drift ever more slowly away from the industry, and my skills will get more rusty. In part, I feel like those fears are just a hump I need to make it over. It's also scary because how do you keep your resume fresh?

For the past couple of years, I've been limiting the number of freelance jobs I do a year and sometimes I've had to not return to companies for a year or so as I rotate. This has worked well in terms of establishing better work/life balance, but not so well in terms of getting a steady paycheck. If you can solve that problem, it's great. Also, it's hard to remember how a company operates if you only come back every 2-3 years and it can be uncomfortably like starting over - so there might need to be something more than just skill that keeps you in their graces to return. Some companies seem to be more tolerant of this than others. If you do get back in, you may want to start with companies that know you enough that gaps in your resume may not be very important to them.

One important thing for me will be leaving every door open and every relationship in a state that I can reach out to later if the time is right.
Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Last post by RuthNY on Apr 15, 2018, 09:31 am »
Calling button bumps is something you practice the very first and second days of rehearsal when the cast is learning music.  That's the SMs opportunity to learn the music too, and count/memorize the final notes of any song.  Learn the button bumps just as you learn where the music changes are in dance numbers, because yes, there will be a light change there, too.

Now although some of this is about preparation, it's MUCH, MUCH more difficult without a conductor cam.  Without a cam, the singers and conductor must do the same thing at every performance if they want that kind of cue at the end of the number to be both correct and effective.  If the singer is given latitude to cut off whenever they want to, that can be a huge issue.

Talk to your conductor, and ask them to count the end of each number for you,  That way it's much easier to find the "GO" even without a cam.

1-2-3-4-5-6-sev-go-eight, will give you the correct bump on eight every time, and you adjust for other time signatures.

Best of luck,
Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Last post by Maribeth on Apr 14, 2018, 10:27 pm »
Can you ask to have a brushup rehearsal to practice the bump cues? A half hour with the music director and the singer before the show could help you learn their "tells", as loebtmc mentioned. They might also be able to tell you what visual cues to watch for.
I can't get video feed of the composer, unfortunately. This is a pretty under-resourced company. We don't even have a com system.

I know that the music director did some rescoring and I asked him to email me the sheet music but he never did. I'm gonna remind him today and see if I can get it.

Organizational Overview:

TCT’s mission is to educate, entertain and engage audiences of all ages through professional theatrical productions and arts education programming.  We fulfill our mission through three primary programs:
•   TCT MainStage at the Taft Theatre – We welcome 107,000 children, teachers, and family members from across the Tri-State, to one of our four family-friendly and professional musical theatre productions at the historic Taft.
•   TCT On Tour – We see over 66,000 children and their families at one of our touring performances or during an arts-integration workshop or residency.
•   TCT Academy – Over 600 children will be provided fine arts instruction, including the group that participates in the four-week intensive summer NKU STAR Intensive where we offer professional musical theatre training to some of the region’s most talented youth.

Vision: To awaken a lifelong love of theater in children and the young at heart.

Core Beliefs:
•   We believe in the power of theater to enrich lives and create deeper understandings of people, cultures, and perspectives.
•   We believe that our audiences deserve high quality experiences that are rich with wonder, honesty, compassion, joy, and wisdom.
•   We believe that the arts and education are not mutually exclusive.
•   We believe that the art we create must respect the diversity of our community.
•   We believe in the power of integrated arts education to enrich our lives and our communities.

Position Overview:

The ideal Technical Director (TD) is a skilled theater professional that is highly knowledgeable in all aspects of scenic construction, is familiar with lighting, sound, and AV, and will effectively navigate the complexities of a multifaceted work environment with an ambitious production calendar.

The Technical Director is responsible for overseeing all technical/scenic operations of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s productions, including lighting, sound, props, set design and construction.

The Technical Director maintains technical spaces and equipment and develops and enforces practices that ensure safe, efficient, and effective operation of the scenic operations of The Showtime Stage, The Scene Shop(s) and the Taft Theatre. The role directly supports the success of the scenic operations for 4 MainStage productions and 4-5 touring productions per year.  The Technical Director reports to the Managing Director & CEO, and works alongside the Producing Artistic Director and in conjunction with the Production Stage Manager. The Technical Director assists in identifying and prioritizing needs and initiatives, finding creative solutions to achieve goals while conserving resources.

•   Safeguard and schedule maintenance of all technical assets of Showtime Stage facilities, including lighting, sound and communications equipment.
•   Determine technical needs for MainStage, Showtime Stage and touring productions - technical specifications, schedules, budget and assisting in determining IASTE crew sizes. Order and obtain materials and manage scenic design budgets. Coordinate the stage and equipment logistics; including the loading and unloading of trucks with crew. Work with the carpenters and designers to determine build and maintenance schedules. Hire and supervise over-hire technicians.
•   Approve designs with regard to safety, compatibility, feasibility, budget, and scheduling considerations. Create technical drawings and plans, either by hand or by CAD, and oversee and build scenery. Coordinate transportation of scenery to and from the theaters, coordinate the load-ins/strike and storage all sets, props, TCT’s lighting and sound equipment after the end of the shows.
•   Advise the members of the production team on technical aspects of each theatrical project.
•   Supervise and assist in the technical aspects of all shows, establish technical schedules for all productions; attend technical rehearsals. Ensure safety.
•   Maintain technical spaces and equipment in the shops and theater spaces; monitor the condition of equipment and perform preventive maintenance; inspect equipment on a regular basis; develop a replacement and upgrade schedule for tools and equipment and arrange for the repair and replacement within budgetary constraints.  Work with the Operations Manager to orient facility users to the safety, technical elements and other areas of the facility’s operations.  Create and maintain inventories of technical supplies and equipment. Oversee the process of checking scenic elements in and out for rentals.
•   Develop and enforce practices that ensure safe, efficient and effective operations of all theater facilities and the Scene Shop.
•   Make recommendations regarding capital purchases of technical equipment.

•   Bachelor's Degree in Technical Direction with experience in a professional or educational environment. Candidates with an equivalent combination of education and career experience in the field, but without a formal degree, will also be considered. Touring experience as a Technical Director is preferred but not required.
•   Working knowledge of techniques, methods and procedures of theatre, dance, and music productions and presentations including stage, set, sound and lighting design and implementation; stage management; appropriate safety precautions and procedures, and ability to analyze and evaluate the need for technical support for various events and performances.
•   Working closely with an experienced, tight knit, passionate, and dedicated staff, including artists and I.A.T.S.E. union members.
•   Working knowledge of PC and Mac based productivity software, as well as functional familiarity with industry standard theatrical software, such as AUTOCAD or equivalent, and able to learn other software as needed.
•   Prior supervisory experience of a team in a dynamic environment and in management of direct reports.
•   Excellent problem solving and communication skills, both written and oral. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with various groups.
•   Ability to retain good humor and composure in stressful situations.
•   Valid Driver's License required. Experience operating box trucks preferred.
•   Able to lift, push or pull objects up to 100 pounds using appropriate tools and/or a work partner. Must be able to stoop, stand, safely climb stairs and ladders, and be comfortable using Genie lifts to assist with reaching heights.
•   Able to maintain a flexible work schedule, which may include irregular and extended working hours.

Compensation & Benefits:

•   Salary range: $40,000 - $60,000
•   Health, vision and dental benefits available, partially subsidized by employer contributions, after a waiting period
•   403(b) retirement plan participation available, after a waiting period, with eligibility for an employer match after one year of credited service
•   Generous PTO based on years of service
•   Generous paid holiday schedule

Please send resume and references to: as soon as possible.

For download of the job description, which includes current 18-19 season and schedule, visit:
Introductions / Re: Greetings from Great Britain
« Last post by Maribeth on Apr 10, 2018, 07:49 pm »
Welcome, Paul!
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