Author Topic: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas  (Read 5861 times)

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Quingawaga

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Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« on: Oct 17, 2007, 01:44 pm »
Hi there, I'm new here, although I used to hang out at SMNetwork.org several years ago, before it turned into this forum thing. But this forum thing is neat!

Anyway...I am an amateur SM with extensive community theatre experience. The theatre I work with primarily is going to be hosting a series of free workshops, and I have put in a proposal to run a stage management workshop aimed at the aspiring community theatre stage manager.

I already have LOTS of material to discuss, but what I was hoping I could gain from posting here is maybe some ideas for actual interactive workshop type stuff. I don't want to just lecture for the entire three hour time slot, but I'm having a hard time coming up with interactive things for people to do that could help them learn to be better stage managers.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

KMC

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #1 on: Oct 17, 2007, 02:45 pm »
So much of what we do is conflict resolution and logistical problem solving; how about tossing some common issues you've run into at the group to facilitate a problem solving discussion?
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

JJC98

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #2 on: Oct 17, 2007, 03:08 pm »
Unfortunately, I don't have any specific ideas to what workshops you should have. BUT, I wanted to say congratulations and have fun organizing this! I would love to take a class or two to improve my SMing.

Kudos! hope it works out wonderfully.

Jennifer

LiLz

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #3 on: Oct 17, 2007, 03:18 pm »
How experienced are your participants?  You can set out a selection of commonly used equipment, from gaff tape to lighting instruments, and see who knows the most correct names.  When I worked with beginners I'd have some people read passages from a script while someone practiced calling Qs.  Have someone play director and move someone around the stage while your SMs write blocking.  Then there's always taping out a stage.  These things can get frustrating (especially first time), of course, so they also provide experience in remaining calm and maintaining a positive environment.  I used to do this stuff with classes and we ended up laughing a lot and having a lot of fun.

Quingawaga

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #4 on: Oct 18, 2007, 09:02 am »
Participant experience will probably range from "absolutely none" to people with experience that's similar to my own.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, I especially like the ones about writing blocking as people move around and calling a few pages from a script. And yeah, I was thinking about doing some conflict resolution stuff too.

Mac Calder

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #5 on: Oct 18, 2007, 09:21 am »
Roleplay, Roleplay, Roleplay. Make up some "conflict resolution scripts", grab some pages out of a script, run a 'production meeting'. Practical experiance is far better than talking about it, so get them to call the script, get them to take blocking notation for the script, get them to put together a mini prompt-book etc.

If you don't have a few actors hanging arround, then just get half of the group to be your actors, whilst half do the exercise, then swap.

If you are catering for a wide range of experiance, try to encourage dialogue instead of taking a lecture position. Walk through the entire process. Start with "You have just been approached to work on show X (whatever script you have)" hand it out, "What is the first thing you think we need to do?" and just keep going from there.

Have paperwork from each step in the process to give out as examples.

Make sure any of your "No experiance" SM's keep involved. Don't let the experianced ones steam roll them.

Other than that, good luck :-)
« Last Edit: Oct 18, 2007, 09:24 am by Mac Calder »

Quingawaga

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #6 on: Oct 31, 2007, 08:13 pm »
Me again! I don't know if I should start a separate thread about this or what, but...

If you don't mind me picking your collective brain once more, I'm looking for your stories, your experiences with conflict resolution in a theatre setting. Basically I just want to know what the problem was, and how you resolved it. I can come up with a few scenarios on my own (and I've trolled the old threads on this forum, too, heheh) but on the whole, I have been lucky enough to not have had any MAJOR conflicts come up during any productions where I've been the SM so I'm trying to find some real-life experiences.

Thanks in advance, I really appreciate your input.

centaura

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #7 on: Oct 31, 2007, 09:06 pm »
What crossed my mind when you said hands-on experience is doing a mini 'show'.  Start with a two or three page 'script', something that you made up that has a bunch of stuff in it, prop notes, scene changes, etc.  Have them start at the beginning of the production, getting their lists, ets. out of the 'script', rehearsals, tape out a mini set, write cues, have examples of designer's paperwork that they'll work from.

-Centaura

LiLz

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Re: Looking for Stage Management workshop ideas
« Reply #8 on: Nov 09, 2007, 11:39 pm »
Conflicts can be varied and insane ... from folks who are constantly late to those who refuse to do their jobs ... I've worked on shows where designers have complete meltdowns and became violent and shows where love affairs put cast members at each other's throats.  Then there are venue issues ... the building owner notifies you that exterminators are coming in late on the afternoon of your opening so you'll have to worry about dead critters and smell.  Let's face it, if it can go wrong during a show it probably has. 

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