Author Topic: Exhibits Management-A Different Kind of SM  (Read 3066 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Site Founder
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1357
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: None.
  • Current Gig: SMNetwork *is* my production.
  • Experience: Former SM
Exhibits Management-A Different Kind of SM
« on: Sep 25, 2007, 08:59 am »
There are literally thousands of commercial and non-profit exhibitions in major cicic centers, hotels and conference centers. The exhibits manager, much like a stage manager, directs the selection of the booths and oversees both the load-in and load-out at the facility.

In addition to theatrical and concert stage managing, this author has been exhibits floor manager and special event consultant to many organizations. My clients have included 9-1-1 dispatchers, homeland security providers, Red Cross and other disaster responders, sound and light contractors to music concerts, and even a gold and silver jewelry crafts fair. Exhibitions have taken place in large hotel ballrooms, privately owned conference centers and outdoors at festivals.

The biggest difference is that the exhibit manager deals more with logistics than actors or musicians. How many 8 foot by 10 foot booths can be sold? Where will the 110 volt power come from? Will compressed air or water be required for specialized equipment? How many entrances and exits are in the auditorium? Is there a loading dock and freight elevator, or will additional manpower be needed to move the displays in? Are there adequate aisles and open spaces to satisfy the Fire Marshal?

During the actual event, the job is parallel to running a musical or play. The exhibitors must be ready for the public one half hour before the doors open. The refreshments and goody bags (T-shirts, pens, pads, toy police cars- if it sells the product, it will be given away to attendees!) need to be available. The aisles and tables should be clean. Finally, the exhibits manager has the responsibility to open and close the hall during the show.

I suppose the biggest change is that most exhibits occur during business hours and on weekdays, unlike Broadway shows. It is a pleasure to be eating a leisurely dinner (often provided by the exhibits facility or a major sponsor of the event) and having the night off while theater SM's are just calling half-hour on their job. The exhibits manager can utilize skills gained as a stage manager to provide a well-supervised and successful trade show. It may not provide Equity salary, but the positions are similar.