Author Topic: Stage Managing as an Actor  (Read 24762 times)

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Stage Managing as an Actor
« on: Oct 15, 2020, 11:58 pm »

I have been primarily on actor all of my life, but as of recent, I have begun branching out and discovering new areas of theatre I hadnít otherwise thought of pursuing. Stage Managing has been my main interest apart from acting, and I am looking for advice from any stage managers who also act.

I am wondering how I can pursue acting while balancing learning how to stage manage. With my main focus being acting, I still want to be cast in productions, but I also want to have enough opportunities as an ASM/SM. How would I go about making sure I can equal out continuing to act while also gaining enough experience as a stage manager?

Thinking futuristically, is there a way to be both a professional actor and stage manager? I realize both are huge commitments, but will I eventually have to choose one field over the other? And is pursuing another side of theatre even beneficial if I know acting is ultimately my priority?

I realize these are a lot of questions, so thank you in advance, but I would love for anyone who has pursued both acting and stage managing to speak on their experience. Much appreciated!


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Re: Stage Managing as an Actor
« Reply #1 on: Jun 28, 2023, 02:20 pm »
I think every actor should have a knowledge of everything that goes into a show, and as that's a stage manager's job, being an SM would be a fantastic way to gain that. I would recommend going into each show with clarity that you may not stick around after said show, that way the director and tech leads can plan to welcome a new SM after you, and so you aren't hired over someone else that may better support the theatre. I think that while it is not a good idea to SM and act at the same time, you could certainly go back and forth, as long as you aren't both on the same show. Remember, stage managers are often the people handling disputes between/involving actors, and you must be unbiased, even if it's a friend you've acted with before. I wish you luck in your future adventures!


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Re: Stage Managing as an Actor
« Reply #2 on: Jul 04, 2023, 03:59 pm »
It's not common, and I can't say I've done it myself, but I know a handful of folks (maybe two?) who pursued both professionally. I know a handful of others who will casually stage manage things like workshops, readings, etc for smaller theatres, when the time commitment is relatively small.

With AEA as the union for both, there's an inherent risk of joining the union for one of those passions, while not ready to join for the other. I.e. if you join because you're ready to as an actor, you are then a member as a stage manager as well, and wouldn't be able to take non-union gigs (and vice versa).

There's also a risk of a theatre that you work with associating you with one of these jobs more than the other - so if they think of you as an actor, you're less likely to get hired as an SM there. Not to say that it's impossible to break that perception, but it's something to be prepared for.

As mentioned in the previous response, there's always a benefit in understanding the other roles we work with - it can be a real strength as a stage manager to understand the vocabulary, process, and needs of acting. I'm sure any future stage managers you work with while acting will also appreciate your understanding of what goes into their jobs as well!

« Last Edit: Jul 04, 2023, 04:53 pm by Maribeth »