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Topics - Tempest

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Hey, all. I'm leaving my position as Resident Stage Manager at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. Our secondary stage manager is stepping up into my role, which means we have an opening for an additional stage manager (it takes three or four to run our entire season of programming!) You would not be on contract the entire season, but only for specific weeks and shows. Don't take these numbers as gospel, but I believe the Center needs a secondary stage manager between 20 and 30 weeks out of the year, so it is consistent, if not totally steady work.
I have LOVED my time at the Center, but it's just time for me to move on. I'd feel so much better knowing there's a fully staffed SM team in place when I go.
I've copied the posting from our website, below. Also, here.

The Center for Puppetry Arts is accepting resumes for contract stage managers for the 2019-2020 season. The Stage Manager will supervise performers, assist directors and conduct rehearsals, performances and meetings for any assigned production. The Stage Manager will also run all technical elements for Center productions, including but not limited to lights, sound, video and FX.   

The Center for Puppetry Arts is the largest nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to the art form of puppetry. The Center produces 6 Family Season shows and 6-8 New Direction Series (Adult) shows and touring guest artist shows in 2 theaters.  The Center’s mission is to inspire imagination, education, and community through the global art of puppetry.  For further information, visit our website at

Direct supervisors of this position are the Resident Stage Manager and Director (of contacted show) and the Departmental Supervisor is the Producer. The SM works closely with all other production personnel.

 Production Specific Responsibilities:

Generating and maintaining all show related paper work; eg scripts, calendars, contact info, reports ect.
Supervision of puppeteers
Supervision of a production’s rehearsal period
Generation and distribution of rehearsal reports
Generation and supervision of technical notes
Script supervision and distribution of revisions
Recording and updating all Blocking and Choreography
Being “On Book” for performers
Maintaining all pre production lists
Generating show specific lists
Supplying puppeteers with rehearsal needs
Operation of all equipment necessary for rehearsals, including but not limited to: Sound, Overhead projectors, halogen shadow lights, recorded media and reporting equipment failure to appropriate Production Personnel
Maintaining schedule of rehearsal period and calls
Running of daily production meetings (once production moves on stage)
Organization and running of Technical Rehearsals
Generating Running (Tech) Scripts
Coordination of Technical Rehearsal schedule with all required personnel
Supervision and organization of Puppeteers for technical process
Maintenance and oversight of Technical Rehearsal Periods and schedules
Operation of all technical systems required for the particular production, which may include but are not limited to: light boards, non dims, sound mixing boards, Q lab, Power Point, Compact Discs, Microphones, DVD’s, Video Mixers, vocal effects units, and other equipment.
Performing all technical operations of the production on a daily basis:
Maintaining the highest possible performance standards
Performing the pre show announcements live for each and every show
Adjusting and performing all sound to the needs of the size and conditions of the house
Being able to make all technical adjustments as needed for any contingency while the show is running without stopping the flow of the performance: e.g. Adjusting for failed equipment, slipped or failed microphone, adjusting cues to accommodate an injured or ill performer or understudy, in short, any situation that may affect the show.
Maintaining the run of the production
Generating and distributing daily reports on the status of the production
Effecting minor repairs to puppets, props, and set items to maintain the production values of the performance
Making sure that all repair notes (minor and major) are completed in time for the next performance, or scheduling shop time and assistance for more complicated repairs
Maintaining the Director’s rehearsal process and notes throughout the run of the production
Opening and closing the theater and Green Room areas
All pre show and post show stage duties
Overseeing the call and warm-ups and needs of and for the puppeteers
Daily Maintenance of all Microphone units
Daily Running and operation of all, lights, sound, media and SPFX for the production
Scheduling and/or coordinating archival recordings and photo calls
Maintaining all safety and emergency procedures and equipment
Assistance with strike
Completion of show book and going over Show Book Checklist with the RSM
Daily coordination with Ticketing, House Staff, and cast to begin a performance
Reporting to Building Supervisor or Production Personnel any maintenance issues that may arise in the House or Stage respectively.
Maintenance of wardrobe for the production
Daily Laundry
Weekly Dry Cleaning
Inventory and Maintenance of puppeteer needs for production
Other duties as assigned


-BA or BFA in Theater or related discipline (preferably in stage management) – or - Equivalent professional experience
-Previous stage management experience
-Proficient in PC and Mac Platforms
-Proficient in Q-Lab programming (Show Control, Audio, and Video)
-Experience in Live Sound Mixing of a minimum of 12 channels
-Experience with wireless microphones
-Experience with running projections
-Working knowledge and experience in Sound Engineering
-Working knowledge of Digital Sound Boards (i.e. Allen & Heath Dlive)
-Working knowledge and basic programming of ETC Ion light console
-Working knowledge of musical notations and choreography
-Experience with basic tools and repair techniques (for puppets, props, set, and paint)
-Very strong organizational skills
-Excellent concentration and multi-tasking abilities
-Strong interpersonal skills
-Strong leadership skills
-Able and willing to work independently at times with minimal supervision, but is also able to work as a part of a team
-Valid Driver’s License

 To apply: 
Please send cover letter and resume to  or

Center for Puppetry Arts
Attn: HR
1404 Spring St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA  30309

The Green Room / Do you attend award ceremonies?
« on: Sep 22, 2018, 09:49 am »
If a show you've worked on has been nominated for an award, do any of you fellow SMs attend the award ceremony?
     I've been lucky to work on a number of shows the past few years that have been nominated for big, local awards. I've considered going to the ceremony as a show of continuing support to the show, and my wonderful casts. But my theatre always invites me as an  afterthought; typically just forwarding me the invite e-mail they already sent to cast, directors, and designers. It leaves me feeling rather disinclined to attend.
     Any thoughts?

(...unless it's an emergency, of course)

"I know it's your day off, but..."
It's Monday, and I've been fielding texts, all day, from my producer, in regards to a performer who felt ill during yesterday's shows. mostly, I've just been a forwarding service, passing the producer's texts on to the performer in question, and the performer's texts back to the producer.

They could easily just text or call each other. Then, call me if the show ends up needing some sort of adjustment.

I don't mind being contacted about time-sensitive things for which I'm the only resource, but this is a ridiculous amount of playing telephone for a minor illness that did not and probably will not affect performances.

I'm maybe a little sensitive about my time off, right now; I haven't had a vacation in 9 months, the current show is an absolute beast with a stupid-long run, and I'm getting married in less than three weeks. So I am a little on edge.

But I don't think it's unreasonable to ask not to be disturbed for this sort of thing on my day off.
I just have no idea HOW to go about communicating that. Any advice, my dear colleagues?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

Hey, all, I could really use some help, here! The theatre at which I'm resident has a long history of offering internships in several fields: Scenic, Electrics and Puppet shops, Performance, Marketing, Museum, and I'm sure I've missed a few. I've been asked to open up a Stage Management internship. I had one fantastic intern, last summer, and I have two more lined up in the new year.

But I'll be completely frank; I flew by the seat of my pants with that last intern. I've been given no extra time to prepare a program, and no guidance on what I'm supposed to do with them! Last time I just treated her like an ASM in rehearsal, and trained her as a potential replacement SM for performances; she ran one public performance. It seemed to work out.
If anyone else has run SM internships, I'd really love to hear from you, and what you included/didn't include in your program. Also, if you had a really great, or really awful internship experience, please share that, and why it was so wonderful/scarring, too!

For additional information, this is a small, professional but non-equity theatre where I run sound/lights/mics myself, there are no running crew/ASM positions, and 90% of the time all our designers are in house. Interns are brought in from first day of rehearsal through opening. No prep week, no run weeks. The previous resident SM did not take on interns, as far as I can tell.

I have, at least, been able to stipulate that I won't take anyone without at least a few shows of SM or ASM experience. It's a one and a half woman department; we don't have time to train anyone from the ground up!

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

Tools of the Trade / Kit Usage Statistics
« on: May 12, 2016, 01:50 pm »
I had a thought today: we've all pretty much discussed what we PUT in your kits. But has anyone tracked what we USE from our kits? I think it would be pretty interesting, and informative, to gather some casual statistics!
If anyone is willing to participate, just add what has been used out of your kit to a running list we can create, here. Copy paste the list from the previous post, adding to the tally if it's an item someone has already added, or adding your item, if not.
My start:

Pain Killers - 1
Hair ties - 2
Fork - 1

So, I'm trying to figure out what I'm saying that's so funny, whenever a cast member calls to let me know they're running late. (Luckily, I can generally get them to do that part of it!)

It's usual something like, "Okay, thanks for letting me know. Get here as soon as you can, get your mic on, and come out on stage for sound check as soon as you arrive. Give me a call at {10 minutes after they were supposed to be here} if you're still en route."

And then, about 75% of the time, they laugh. Not mean laugh, just laugh, like I've said something joking, and they get the joke. I am very confused.

So, what does everyone else say to their casts, when they call you let you know they're running late?

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth

I'd like to hear how other people handle those "you want what, now?" requests from performers. Things they seem to want you, specifically, to handle for them, but that are completely absurd.

I'm not talking about constant thermostat adjustments or special laundry soap for allergies.

I'm talking about things like a new performer at the theatre who doesn't like the comp policy and wants you, the Stage Manager, to find a workaround for them.

Or one who wants cases of bottled water in the green room, not because there is no potable water backstage, but because the green room drinking fountain, "doesn't have enough pressure to fill my water bottle quickly." (It does, I fill my bottle at it all the time)

Or the artist who is outraged the theatre did not buy a brand new $300 mic element for him, because he's germophobic. And wants to know what bathroom arrangements are being made for him because he doesn't want to use the same bathroom the cast of the other show is using.

Or who shows up at the theatre hours after everyone else has left and wants to know why there's no one there to let them in to take a shower.

I want to roll my eyes and say, "Suck it up, Buttercup! We're a fairly poor not-for profit, and these are the facilities we have!" What I do is listen to them rave and then calmly repeat, "I understand your concern, but this is what we have to use and this is the policy that relates to it." Lather, rinse, repeat a couple of times and eventually they get the message because I cannot just magic another bathroom or a never-used-before mic element out of thin air.

But that tactic is wearing a bit thin, especially on things like tickets, facilities, and sound that are "Not my circus, not my monkey." Anyone have another way of handling it?

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth

Tools of the Trade / Who builds your Qlab file, and how?
« on: Apr 04, 2014, 02:21 pm »
This is a subject for those who might be working in smaller theatres where you as the stage manager run the boards, instead of calling cues to operators. It also ties in a bit to digital prompt books.

I work mostly in small theatres, and a lot of shows I run lights and sound myself, off Qlab. More and more I've found myself building the Q list instead of picking up and running a list built for me by sound designers or MEs.

As a matter of fact, more and more Qlab tends to be my prompt script. I'm able to set it up to my liking in terms of groups and such, change the color for certain cues, drop in reminder notes about sound mixing, and build cue lines right into the names of the Qs. Since I'm only looking back and forth between the screen and stage, instead of screen, stage and script, I'm able to keep my eyes on the stage more than I otherwise would. AND if the other stage manager has to come run my show for some emergency reason (or I have to do hers) we both find it easier to follow each other's Qlab files for a show we've never run before than turning pages on a unfamiliar  prompt script while trying to mix mics and run lights and sound.

(I still construct a running script for the archive, but that's usually well after we've opened. Modifying Qlab data during tech is way faster than erase and write in a script!)

Does anyone else build your own Qlab files? Or modify ones given to you by designers to fit your needs?

The Green Room / Silly things done when we're not at our best
« on: Feb 26, 2014, 10:38 am »
Stage Managers are not superheros. As much as we try not to let bad days affect our jobs, we are only human, and sometimes we have slips. I wanna know what sort of silly things you have done on a bad day, whether you're flustered because your alarm didn't go off, or you had a fender bender on the way to work, or you just broke up, or what.

Yesterday, I woke up 40 minutes late (on the first day of rehearsal!) because my alarm clock died on me. I had gotten a GIANT stack of new sheet music files to print the day before that I had to do once I got to the theatre on the cantankerous copier, and it started raining as soon as I came up out of the train station, carrying my laptop, backpack, and Kit. I was NOT having a good day.

Near the end of rehearsal, I looked up from the notes I was taking, and saw something absurd. I almost yelled at the offender to stop chewing on the curtains. The puppet that was chewing on the curtains. I had already opened my mouth when I remembered, it's a PUPPET. It doesn't have ears; it can't hear me. It doesn't act on it's own. And it doesn't have salivary glands, so it can't hurt the curtains.

I knew at that point I was just done with the day. I'm just glad I didn't actually say anything!

I've begun receiving alerts from the Commercial Mobile Alert System on my phone. For those not in the know, you can take a look at the link below.

Basically, those severe weather alerts that used to go across the bottom of your television screen  (do they still? I don't have TV.) are transmitted to your phone. There's the same loud, buzzy tone, and when you shut it off, you see the nature of the alert. All of mine have been tornado warnings for the area I was currently in. Not watches, warnings, so I'm pretty satisfied with the usefulness of the system.

Problem is, the loud, annoying, unmistakable tone happens even if your phone is on silent.

For lots of reasons, I keep my phone on silent in the booth, not off. (Good example: I am the only technician on any of my shows. Power went out in the booth during a show but I was able to keep running the show since the boards were on UPSs. I texted the TD who I knew was just down the hall and he managed to get things fixed, and no one was the wiser. Had I needed to turn on my phone, which boots slow, the UPSs may have run out of power and the show would have stopped.) But if one of those alerts goes off, everyone is going to be able to hear it.

So I'm weighing the decision whether or not a theatre full of patrons hearing that tone is worth the advance warning I would get of bad weather and being able to start our theatre mandated tornado warning practices to keep our patrons and casts safe. In theory there is supposed to be someone watching the weather for us when there are shows on. But I know how mad things can get for my co-workers when there can be upwards of 1500 kids running around, and for some reason, I am the only one in the building (that I know of) that gets these alerts. My phone company is an early adopter, I guess? If I got the warning I could text my producer and ask for instruction instead of waiting for someone to notice a radar screen that might be hiding behind their e-mail, ticket software, or down the hall from where they were dealing with some other issue.

Yeah, it's kids, so that's weighing on my thoughts, too. Has anyone else had to make this decision?

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth

The Green Room / Notes from SMs past
« on: Jan 07, 2013, 03:16 pm »
I find remounts to be interesting beasts. Sometimes they want to slavishly recreate the prior production, and sometimes they want to make it "fresh." Either way, notes left by previous SMs, crew, and directors can be really useful.

Or intimidating.

Starting prep week for my next show by checking some of the old paperwork. Useful notes include:
  • Wash the blood off the teeth with soap and warm water, NOT hot. Hot water will melt them. (This note was on two separate different pieces of paperwork)
  • Be careful not to slice yourself open on the saw blades inside the tower when you're resetting the clock face.
And my particular favorite...
  • Stick a pencil in the cat's eye to keep it from leaking blood on you.

I know I've left some doozies for future SMs, too. Anyone else ever found/left such helpful gems of wisdom?

The Green Room / The Greatest Show Never Made
« on: Apr 03, 2012, 11:41 am »
Who has a premise for a show that should never ever be made? Either for subject matter, technical reasons *coughcoughspidermancoughsplutter* or just plain bad taste?

Here's mine: YouTube: The Musical

:D  Don't throw tomatoes; I promise, I won't sing.

Our jobs can suck.  They are hard, extremely time consuming, and just flat out exhausting.  None of us could do it totally on our own, all the time.  So, tell us about the people who help you get through your day.  Put that good energy back out into the world, for them, and then go thank them!

My Mom, who never nags me about the irregularity of my calls home (or the fact that I haven't come home for Christmas or Thanksgiving in five years), and, when I do call, may not have a clue what I'm talking about, but will let me rant about it until I'm done.

I've been blessed with a wonderful series of ATD's who always check in with me, ask if there's anything they can do for me, and are, in general, just pleasant people to be around when everyone else is letting the stress get to them.

And my blessed roommate who, after watching me drop five pounds in a week, determined that if she cooks for me, and yells at me about it, I might actually eat something.  She reminds me to take a sweater because I'm always kvetching about how cold it is backstage.  And when I was doing temporal math, out loud, trying to figure out if I had time to go to the grocery store this week, told me to leave a list and some money on the counter, and she'd go to the store for me.  This woman is keeping me alive.  I have the best roommate in the world, and yes, I do tell her that.

So, who helps keep your world turning when the show(s) have you running around crazy?

Hey, folks we are all stumped on this one at my current show, and we're all casting out for ideas.

In the show I'm currently working the mic packs are draining batteries SUPER fast.   As in, a fresh battery is put in at half hour, and it's totally dead before intermission.  Erratically.  This has happened on six of the seven packs in use on the show, and at least once goes out EVERY PERFORMANCE; sometimes three or four!  At one point, our engineer put in a fresh battery, saw three bars on the indicator, turned away for a few minutes to do some mixing at sound check, and when she turned back, the low battery indicator was flashing.

We're stumped.  The sound designer, sound engineer, SM and myself have NEVER experienced anything like this before.  We've trouble shot everything we could think of, and are at the point where we're contemplating ridiculous things like whether the brand of condoms we are using is somehow blocking the signal and making them work harder.  Like I said, ridiculous.

So, has anyone had anything like this happen on any of their show, or have any idea of things we can do/check, etc. that is beyond the logical things?

Edit to subject line-Rebbe

The Green Room / Halloween 2011
« on: Oct 03, 2011, 12:31 pm »
Halloween is less than a month away!  Does anyone have any fun plans/shows/costumes/events going on?

I'm trying to organize a pumpkin carving party at my house for some friends, and figuring out what costume to wear to work that day....

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