Author Topic: INTERNATIONAL: International Show Calling  (Read 3488 times)

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INTERNATIONAL: International Show Calling
« on: Jun 18, 2006, 01:32 pm »
Hi All,

I'm really interested in the differences between how we call shows in the UK and how you guys in the US & Oz etc. call shows. I'm now hopefully going to describe exactly how big musicals and such are called in the UK! If people from other parts of the world could do the same that would be great and then we can compare the merits and disadvantages of both systems!

All of the below is for a performance that goes up at 19.30 (normal time for West End Show). The example I'm using here is a recent show I DSMed called 'Alice':

Backstage: "Ladies and Gentlemen of the 'Alice' Company this is you Act One Beginners Call. Full Company please Standby for Act One. Also all technical departments please stand-by for lights up on this evenings performance of 'Alice'. Act One Beginners Please. Thank You"

FOH & Bars: "Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen. Please take your seats as this evenings performance of 'Alice' will comence in three minutes. Thank You"

DSM: Good Evening All, can we check whos here then please. LX?
LX: Yep
DSM: Sound
Sound: Yep
DSM: Automation?
Automation: Yep
DSM: Flys?
Flys: Yep
AV: Yep
DSM: OK, Lovely. Waiting on Clearence Then.

DSM (telephone to MD): Hi. Just waiting on clearence. Are you ready with the band.
MD: Yeah, lovely

FOH & Bars: "Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen. Please take your seats as this evenings performance of 'Alice' will comence in one minutes. Thank You" & 1 Bar Bell

FOH & Bars: "Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen. Please take your seats as this evenings performance of 'Alice' is about to commence. Thank You" & 1 Long Ring of Bar Bell

Around 19.30
FOH Manager (Radio): FOH to Stage Management this is Clearence for Act One. All yours.
DSM (Radio): Thanks, All recieved

DSM (on cans): And thats Clearence. Standby Please LX Qs 1 through 14
LX: Standing-by
DSM: Sound Qs 1 through 6 (Q-Light too)
Sound: Standing-by
DSM: Auto Qs 1 & 2 (Q-Light too)
Automation: Standing-by
DSM: Deck Q 1 (Q-Light too)
Deck: Standing-by
DSM: And Fly Qs 1 & 2 (Q-Light too)
Flys: Standing-by
DSM: Thank You

DSM (Q-Light only): Stand-by MD for top of Act One
MD Q-Light goes solid (stood-by)

DSM: LX Q 1 .. GO Slow House Lights to Half

FOH/ Auditorium: "Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen and Welcome to the 'The Harry Crook Theatre' for this evenings performance of 'Alice'. Please can you ensure that you turn all mobile phones and pagers off and can I please take this oppurtunity to remind you that photograhy and the use of cameras is strictly prohibitted during this evenings performance. Thank You

DSM: LXQ 2 & Sound Q 1 GO Start Stopwatch

C.D Set USLDSM: LXQ 3, Fly Q 1, Auto Q 1 & Deck Q 1 .. GO

Backstage: "Ladies and Gentlemen of the 'Alice' Company. Act One is now underway. Thank You"

C.D: "My Head Hurt"DSM: LX Q 4 .. GO Very Slow Fade

LX: Executed

etc. etc.

Now obviously everyone (even in the same country!) calls a show slightly differently but I would say the above is near the norm for British Shows! I look forward to seeing the differences around the globe!

Sam x

« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:25 pm by PSMKay »
Sam x


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Re: International Show Calling
« Reply #1 on: Jun 18, 2006, 05:37 pm »
As I have a little time this evening I thought I would also add the different roles within a large stage management team within the UK. Again I'm keen to see what the American version is!

Production Manager - PM
Holds overall responsibility for the technical departments. Is often appointed first and then is made responsible for hiring the technical team. Main jobs include: Health and Safety (risk assessments etc.), Budgeting, Feeding information back to producer etc. Also calls & chairs Production Meetings

Company Stage Manager  - CSM
Often found on tours. Main job is payroll for the company and crew and looking out for the well being of all on the show. Looks after all HR side of things like Warnings, Dismissal, Contacts, Employment Terms etc. Other responsibilities can sometimes also include finding Digs for the company whilst touring, arranging transport etc.

Stage Manager - SM
Runs the Stage Management Team. Looks after the Stage Management budget and props budget. Works with the ASMs to prop the show. Liases with the Director and Designers at all times passing on important information. Runs the Technical Rehearsal with the DSM and runs the ASMs on the stage/ deck.

Technical Stage Manager - TSM
Is responsible for any mechanical props and moving parts of the set/ scenery. Runs/ Manages the Crew (Deck Crew) and is responsible for creating/ ammeding/ maintaining deck or set plots. Health and Safety on the deck is a key role and they'll work closely with the Head Flyman & Master Carpenter.

Deputy Stage Manager - DSM
Runs the rehearsal room, creates and posts rehearsal calls, writes and distributes rehearsal reports, calls the show, writes Show Reports etc. Deputises for the SM where necessary.

Assistant Stage Manager - ASM
Props the show (sources and makes props), creates and maintaines the props plot, help the TSM and SM run the deck. Assist the DSM and SM.

Assistant Stage Manager (Book Cover) - ASM (Bk Cover)
Does all of the ASMs duties but also knows the Book well and covers/ deputises for the DSM where necessary. Will often call one or two shows a week even if the DSM isn't away just to keep fresh.

Sam xx
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Re: International Show Calling
« Reply #2 on: Jun 18, 2006, 06:36 pm »
Yikes, that's detailed!

okay, here goes for a standard ballet (at least the way I call it), an evening show (we start at 7:30)

7:00  Half hour call/check sign in sheet/call late dancers
Over page mic:  "Ladies and gentlement of the ________________Ballet Company, we are at half hour to the top of the ballet.  If you have any valuables you wish to be locked up, please bring them backstage right to the stage manager stand at this time" 

(I do my valuables lock up by giving everybody an envelope with their name; they put anything they want locked up in that envelope and then bring it to me). 

7:15  15 minute call over page mic (Ladies and Gentlemen of the __________Ballet Company, 15 minutes to the top of Act I), Over cans: "On the rail, this is your Q light check:  red (rail respond:  red)  blue (rail:  blue)  green (rail: green)."  If we had deck Q lights I would check those too but we don't.
7:20  10 minute call (over page mic)
7:25  5 minute call/"Maestro and the orchestra to the pit please"
FOH:  are we able to start on time or are we going to need a hold?
Headset check:  Lights, sound, props, rail, deck LX, TD, prod. carp, ASM, maestro, anyone else on cans
7:28  (if no hold)
Over page mic:  "Ladies and gentlement of the __________Ballet Company, places for the top of Act I please.  Ms._____________to backstage right for pre-curtain speech"
Standby House to half, spots to pick up Ms. _______________CS, carps to page grand drape
To ASM over cans:  "Are all dancers in place?"
ASM:  "yes they're all here," or "no, we're waiting for so-and-so to get pointe shoes on" (or whatever the case may be)
When all dancers in place:
7:30  House to half go, (LX:  House is at half)  Ms._______________GO, spots there she is.
During her speech:  Standby for the SM God speech, House out, Maestro, Maestro Special up and out
When her speech is complete:  SM God mic up (Sound:  you're hot)
"Good evening, and welcome to the _________________Ballet Company.  We would like to remind you that the use of any recording device is strictly prohibited, especially flash photography as it is dangerous to the dancers.  Also, please take this moment to turn all cell phones and pagers to their silent modes.  Thank you, and enjoy the performance."
(Sound:  you're back)
SM:  Flashing to tune
(Flash to tune -- leave pit light on)
On second tuning:  House out GO
When tuning complete:  Maestro GO
When Maestro on podium:  "Maestro special up GO" (Maestro bows, when he turns around then:)
"Maestro special out GO"

(pit light off)

During overture (if there is one....if not, then all of these Qs are dispersed through the above dialogue)

Warning on Rail Q 1
Standby LX ______

LX _____GO

Standby Rail Q 1 (light on) and spots to pick up Clara and Fritz center stage, Spot 1 you'll be on Clara, spot 2 on fritz, both frames 2 & 4 with frost, take that pick up on your own. 

Rail Q 1 GO (light off)

Etc. etc. etc......

and that's about that.  I don't ask for any acknowledgement because I'm working with professionals and trust that they will be there to do their job.  Other stage managers do.  It depends on the crew, company, venue, etc.

For the rail I don't always use verbals, sometimes the calls will go like this:

Warning on Rail Q 1 on red, 2 on blue, 3 on green, no verbals on those

Q lights go on at the standby and off at the GOs.

Deck Qs go like this:

-- Warning on Deck -- the table on and chairs off
-- Standby on Deck, LX _____,
-- Deck GO, let me know when your'e clear
Deck:  "Clear"

My ASM will often get calls like this:

"Let me know when they are clear" (referring to dancers)
ASM:  "Clear"
LX____GO, etc....

During the nutcracker, I give 5 minute warnings over page mic to the mice, angels, and bon bons.  I also always give 5 minute warnings to the end of each Act, the end of the ballet, and 5 minutes to bows. 

I also don't number my deck Qs; if there a TON of them I will do deck Qs as letters (since there are usually no sound Qs in ballet).

Depending on the ballet my calls will be pretty informal (i.e., the nutcracker, since we've all done it 10 million years in a row). 

don't know if that's really specific to the U.S., but it is pretty specfic to my company, I guess!

Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Mac Calder

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Re: International Show Calling
« Reply #3 on: Jun 18, 2006, 08:22 pm »
Australia is basically the same as the British system, although some companies use the American theatrical structure. Our beginers is 5 minutes pre the go, like the UK. I posted this somewhere else, but this is my pre-show schedule for an 8 o'clock show.

Back Stage PA
2 Way Radio (sm to foh)
SM on Cans

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the SHOWNAME company, this is your half hour call. Half an hour until Act 1 Beginers. Thankyou."

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the SHOWNAME company, this is your 15 minute call. The stage is now live. 15 minutes until Act 1 Beginers, the stage is now live.
"Good evening crew, it's time to open the house. Can I have a crew call please"
(Insert "LX?" "Standing By" "Sound?" ....)
"LX 0, Sound 0, Flys 0 etc.... Go!"
"Front of House, this is Stage Management, you are clear to open the house.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the SHOWNAME company, this is your 5 minute call. 5 minutes until act 1 beginers
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This evenings performance of SHOWNAME will be commencing in 10 minutes. Please start making you way to your seats.

"Will the house be delayed?"
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the SHOWNAME company. The house is being held for 5. 5 minutes until act 1 beginers"
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This evenings performance of SHOWNAME will be commencing shortly. Please take your seats.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the SHOWNAME company. Act 1 beginners. All cast please stand by for Act 1 beginners."
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This evenings performance of SHOWNAME will be comming in 5 minutes time. Please take your seats.

"Will Front of House be held?"
IF YES for more than a few minutes
"Act 1 beginners stand down"
(Stand by all starting cues)
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This evenings performance of SHOWNAME will be commencing in 2 minutes. Please take your seats to facilitate a prompt opening of the show. We hope you enjoy tonights performance."

"LX 0, Sound 0 ...Go! Standby LX 1, Sound 1 etc (take us to black and end any preshow music)
"Good evenings Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to this evenings performance of SHOWNAME. We would like to ask that you please ensure you have turned all communications devices off, as these devices do interfere with some of our show control equiptment, and would also like to remind you that recording of this show, either through photography, video or audio recording is a breach of copyright. We hope you enjoy tonights performance." (not the actual greeting I usually use, but it is close)
"LX 1, Sound 1 etc.... Go!

And voila, the show has started


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Re: International Show Calling
« Reply #4 on: Jun 19, 2006, 12:21 am »
First:  Wow!  This is my first post with the new system and I am very impressed with the options!  Hooray for bells and whistles.

I work in regional theatres in the US, and this is fairly representative for the regional theatres where I've worked (mostly in Southern California).

For an 8pm curtain of "A Christmas Carol," for example:

7:20pm  - Fight Call/Dance Call/make the cast sing one or two group numbers for vocals/mic levels when applicable

7:30pm  - Call half hour ("half hour, this is half hour, the house is opening") door to door, in person, confirming that everyone is present.
 - Give house to house manager via walkie talkie
Erin to house management, the house is yours

7:35pm - Contact understudies if need be.....

7:44pm - Call 15 minutes to places via PA system to backstage and all dressing rooms
"Ladies and gentlement of A Christmas Carol, fifteen minutes to places please, this is your fifteen minute call, fifteen minutes to places"

7:54pm - Call 5 minutes to places via PA system
"Ladies and gentlemen of A Christmas Carol, five minutes to places please, this is your five minute call, fiv3e minutes to places"

7:55pm - Box office checks in with house manager, via walkie talkie, number of tickets still to be picked up
 - Check in with house manager, confirm that we are at five minutes,
"Erin to house managment.  I am at five.  How does it look out there?"
House manager rings for five in lobby.  House manager continues to run all announcements in the lobby.

7:58pm  - If house does not need to hold, call places to backstage (at this point i am in the booth or calling area)
"Ladies and gentlemen of A Christmas Carol, this your places call, places for the top of the show please, places for the top"

Warn top of show
"Places have been called, while we wait for the house this is your warning for sound 3 through 5, lights 2 through 20, curtain out on the rail (cue light), trap open (cue light) actors on cue lights, and of course turn on the appropriate cue lights.
Those warned respond:

 ASM/Deck stage manager checks that everyone is ready on deck
"Places stage left"  "Places stage right"

House manager closes house
"The house is closed"
"Thank you, i am starting"

Ok, i have the house and i have places.
Sound 3 and lights 2 GO

House lights fade to half as recorded preshow announcment plays, telling people to turn off cell phones, unwrap candy, find nearest exit, and not record any part of the show.

Sound 4 GO
Overture starts playing

and the rest of the show continues.  I expect anyone on headset to respond to warns (so that i know s/he heard and is standing by) unless situationally unable to respond.   
If it is an especially large or slow cast, i may cal places as early as five minutes to curtain.

And regarding organizational structure, i usually work in system with:

PSM - Production Stage Manager
Runs the SM department for the theatre.  Interviews and hires rest of SM staff, decides show assignments.  Supervises all other stage managers, PAs and interns.

SM - Stage Manager
runs rehearsals and calls the show.  Generates rehearsal and production calendars, schedules, daily calls, contact lists, and generates and deciminates daily notes for all production departments and management.
schedules costume fittings, recording sessions, anything else that might be concurrent with rehearsal
Makes sure that all union rules are obeyed, particularly with regards to hours and breaks.

ASM -Assistant Stage Manager
runs the deck during performances, takes responsibility in rehearsals for all prop/costume/scenery concerns
supervises PAs, interns, and deck crew (in non union houses)

PA- Production assistant
functions like an assistant stage manager, but paid less. 
Often will be on book/giving lines in rehearsal, and then function as deck crew once the show moves to the stage. 

SM intern
does whatever SM duties need to be done :)  Line notes, being on book, making copies, keeping a master script current, managing and distributing new pages, all that fun stuff.