Author Topic: Roadhouse SM  (Read 2346 times)

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Roadhouse SM
« on: Sep 12, 2014, 12:18 am »
Hi guys,

So recently I got a job as a stage manager at a community college. It's a roadhouse so I'll be working concerts, dance companies and other events during the school year. I'm really excited for the opportunity to grow as a stage manager (plus a year of employment.)

I've got a general idea of what I'm supposed to do during show weeks, tech and performances because that's what I'm used to. I'm just stumped when it comes to prep. I haven't the faintest idea what prep is like for a roadhouse SM. I start next week I asked for the previous SM's prompt book to get a general idea of what I have to start, but my boss said that I'm the first full season SM and I have to build the first one. (the previous SM duties were done by him or someone else on a per show basis.)

What kind of questions should I come in with on my first day?
What kind of paperwork do roadhouse SMs make?
Any advice in general?


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Re: Roadhouse SM
« Reply #1 on: Sep 12, 2014, 11:06 am »
Start with the basics

-Keys-Are you getting some?
-Parking? Where can you park?
-Paperwork so you can get paid?
-Are you getting an ID?
-Any college policies you should be aware of (it's a college, they have lots of policies)

Then go into details

-Are you familiar with the space, if not have your supervisor go give you a tour. Become familiar with any lights, sound, av, rehearsal spaces, bathrooms, loading dock, green room, office, copy codes for copier, your computer,  how to order supplies through the college, laundry room, anything that is relevant to the space
-Is there a Technical Director or Production Manager working there? If not, are their tech specs available for the space?
-Inventory of what equipment supplies you are responsible for
-How will you hire people for crew? Is there already a list of people working? Any rules that you should know/timesheets you'll have to fill out for them.

As far as paperwork, it'll depend on what event that comes in. Some will create them and will give them to you, others you'll have to create (stage set up, list of any changes during the piece) etc. Some will bring their own stage manager, some won't. Before a group comes in sent an email or a phone call asking what they need.

It's going to be very overwhelming. My first day working at my job at a university I met about 40 people and couldn't remember where my office was.  Don't be afraid to ask any question, no matter how trivial you think it is. Trust your SM skills and you should be fine!


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Re: Roadhouse SM
« Reply #2 on: Apr 16, 2015, 09:26 am »
I have found from experience being a touring SM that a good modus operandi for communicating with companies is email-phone call and then email confirming what was said in the phone call. And make sure you get whomever is in charge the day of from that company's cell number. If they don't show up or are lost (as is often the case trying to navigate college campuses for load ins!) if you can just quickly get in touch with them it will save a lot of wasted time.
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Re: Roadhouse SM
« Reply #3 on: Apr 16, 2015, 05:06 pm »
I'm a Production Coordinator, and I supervise 12-13 shows over 9 months, plus a dance festival of 12-13 companies over three weeks. It sounds like we have a lot in common.

DeeCap has great suggestions - first is to figure out access & policies. Building hours, keys, contact info for other staff.  Building tour, tech specs, inventory, hiring & payroll info.

Next, info on your visting companies. You'll need (or need to make) a season schedule of each show, from load in to load out. For each show, you'll want a copy of their contract, their tech rider, contact info, and scripts and/or videos.

Ambrosialx is absolutely correct that you if you coordinate over the phone, back it up with a written summary via email.

After you have the outline of your season, you can start researching each company and breaking down their tech needs: scenery, lighting, projection, sound, wardrobe.  Red flag pyro and rigging for immediate followup. Red flag children and animals for when you'll need to stock your liquor cabinet. Joking! Well, kind of joking.

It would be good to know how who your staff is and how they are dividing labor. In my case, my production manager and tech director handle most of this. My duties are much more specific to rehearsal & performance. I would be happy to go into further detail if you find it helpful. I have a before-arrival list, an on-arrival list, and daily detail lists, but these would only be useful after you've gotten a handle on the big picture.

As a stage manager, you will love the challenge of organizing so much information! Dive in and let us know how it goes!

Pro tip: anytime you're getting overwhelmed with all the info, walk around your new building - get lost, find your way back, explore a new corner you hadn't seen before, meet someone and ask them two or three questions about themselves and their job, and ask them to help you with something - directions, advice on how best to settle in to your new job, or where to get lunch. Then, get back to info wrangling. You'll have it all under control faster than you think.