Author Topic: Acting and Stage Management  (Read 2133 times)

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Acting and Stage Management
« on: Oct 24, 2017, 10:12 pm »
Hello, I am currently a college student planning to pursue a major in theatre. Most of my training/ emphasis has been put on performance, however, I'm very interested in exploring the other aspects of theatre including stage management. I was just wondering if anyone has personally made the transition from performer to stage manager themselves and what this experience looked like for them?

Thanks so much,



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Re: Acting and Stage Management
« Reply #1 on: Oct 25, 2017, 06:36 am »
I started as a performer. Actually I'd gone from dancer > actor > musician > director > electrician > LD > stage manager > producer > stage manager by the time I was 19. If anything as a stage manager I regretted not spending longer on stage learning the real craft of it (as opposed to high school scenery chewing), as I needed that language to participate in table work and work with understudies.

A huge part of your job as a stage manager involves talking with performers, so knowing their language and their experience will be a definite asset. Another huge part of the job involves working with directors, who also usually emerge from performance.

PS Welcome to the site!



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Re: Acting and Stage Management
« Reply #2 on: Oct 26, 2017, 12:06 am »
I started out acting as well, in high school and community theater. When I auditioned at the local civic theater I was sick and had to sing a Tenor song instead of an Alto. Needless to say, I didn't get the part, but I was offered the role of light board op. I declined, but I went back the following season and ended up crewing for 3 more musicals and having a blast. I thought all of the Civic SMs were awesome and paid attention closely on headset during cueing sequences.

Then in my senior year in high school, I got into props (and my connection with the Civic helped fill my scrounging list) and became Prop Master for shows I was performing in. When it came time for the school musical, I opted to SM and built my paperwork like the Civic SM's had. After graduation I got to SM and perform in Damn Yankees at a local theater (in hind sight, that WAS a bad idea, but I had a BLAST - performing my own quick changes at my calling station between cues was fun).

After that my passion really fell on Stage Management. In college I loved directing classes, working on various crews, in the scene shop, and costume designing shows. All of these experiences really helped me become a stronger SM. Do I miss being the performer? Not really. But having that experience is something I keep in my back pocket - especially for Understudy rehearsals when we don't have enough people and someone has to feed lines/walk the blocking. ;)


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Re: Acting and Stage Management
« Reply #3 on: Oct 26, 2017, 03:48 am »
I auditioned and got into college as a BFA acting major and partway through freshman year realized how I would be so much better suited to stage management...and that in reality, I'd kinda done it all along. "Remember, guys, this is when we all need our luggage!" and helping our director load and unload props from the attic to vans to each new venue and helping figure out venue adjustments and what to do if someone was sick....yup, I just didn't know the job title. (Ours had only really been on book for lines, and I'd been in theatre since I was 7.)

The best learning - I feel - is done hands on, and if possible assisting/observing other people do it. And then pouring through all the conversations here, finding another stage manager's brain to pick, etc.



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Re: Acting and Stage Management
« Reply #4 on: Oct 26, 2017, 08:47 am »
I also began my theatrical life as a performer. Singing, dancing, the whole bit.

I went into college as an actor/technician, but half way through sophomore year I transitioned to a technical/design/SM concentration. It's served me very well over the years.

Having the performance experience, like others have mentioned, serves you very well. In addition to the technical and managerial aspects making you more employable once you've graduated, it gives you a better context to relate to the people you're working with.

Good luck!

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