Stage Managing in Sherwood Forest

After having an incredible summer vacation of relaxing, keeping a yoga routine, reflecting on my first full year of teaching, and planning for a new September, I jumped right into action for Fall 2015!  I was asked to Stage Manage a community theatre’s production of Don Nigro’s Robin Hood.  I was caught by surprise as I had spent the previous three years being an Assistant Stage Manager for East Side Players and Amicus Productions, but never before offered the chance to be part of the production team from the very beginning, all the way through the run, and assisting with the wrap up.

I was excited to take on the challenge as I would be given the opportunity to watch the President of Amicus Productions in action as Director.  On a daily basis I was reminded of how much work goes into these productions and more impressive is that the work comes from community members that also have jobs, families, and other responsibilities to take care of in addition to transforming a script into a show!

So, the big question is: What does a Stage Manager do?  You don’t see them on stage; they aren’t running around backstage; you can’t see their lights or hear their sound effects.  Where exactly are they?

Answer: We are EVERYWHERE.

My Stage Management breakdown for Robin Hood:

Pre-Production:

1. Organize initial read-through with the director and in this case, with 20+ actors! as well as available designers.

2. Attend production meetings to understand the Director’s vision, how the designers relate their ideas in order to actualize that vision effectively

3. Create rehearsal schedule taking into account actors’, director’s, and designers’ availability, time needed per scene, for costumes, and for fight choreography.

4. Attend all rehearsals and keep up to date with actors’ needs throughout the process.  Make changes to rehearsal schedule as necessary.

5. Ensure rehearsal space is ready to go each night – with set pieces, props, and keep tabs on actors’ attendance!

5. Keep Director and actors focused on particular scenes during rehearsals, organize props with Property Master (who, in this case also held the role of Producer and Assistant Stage Manager!)

6. Maintain an organized Prompt book with blocking notes, scene transition designs, and props lists.

7. Assist with set building, painting, collecting props, moving all items to the performance venue.

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Production:

1.Assist with technical set up, running lighting and sound cues; organize backstage and green room space for actors to move in.

2. Organize pre show schedule: Actor warm ups, tech and props check, clean and stage set up.

3. Coordinate with Assistant Stage Managers to ensure a smooth run backstage and with Front of House crews to ensure a smooth run in the house!

4. Account for safe use of all props and set pieces during the run.

5. Call all cues for the show (and in this case, run the lighting board, too!)

6. Clean up space each night to prepare for next performances

7. Attempt to maintain the Director’s integrity of the show!

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Post-Production:

  1. Strike the set with members of the cast and crew: Clean out stage, backstage, and green room areas with company
  2. Celebrate the end of a great run!
  3. Return all materials to theatre’s warehouse space
  4. Attend a post-mortem meeting with Director and production team to discuss effective strategies and new ideas to use in future.
  5. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I did! 

Overall, this was an incredible experience. From being in the front row of rehearsals to watch the artistic side develop through actor work, to sweeping and mopping the stage on a nightly basis, I was proud to be part of such a production with incredible people.  I learned some new skills on the technical side of shows and got to see how much dedication is required to pull something like this off with no injuries to actors, audience members, or set pieces (other than a falling tree, we were successful in that!).

I can’t wait to jump in the Stage Managing seat again, armed with new strategies to try.

All those nights in the booth did make me wonder when I will get my butt back on the stage, however.  So, we shall see what 2016 brings.

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Stage Managing in Sherwood Forest

After having an incredible summer vacation of relaxing, keeping a yoga routine, reflecting on my first full year of teaching, and planning for a new September, I jumped right into action for Fall 2015!  I was asked to Stage Manage a community theatre’s production of Don Nigro’s Robin Hood.  I was caught by surprise as I had spent the previous three years being an Assistant Stage Manager for East Side Players and Amicus Productions, but never before offered the chance to be part of the production team from the very beginning, all the way through the run, and assisting with the wrap up.

I was excited to take on the challenge as I would be given the opportunity to watch the President of Amicus Productions in action as Director.  On a daily basis I was reminded of how much work goes into these productions and more impressive is that the work comes from community members that also have jobs, families, and other responsibilities to take care of in addition to transforming a script into a show!

So, the big question is: What does a Stage Manager do?  You don’t see them on stage; they aren’t running around backstage; you can’t see their lights or hear their sound effects.  Where exactly are they?

Answer: We are EVERYWHERE.

My Stage Management breakdown for Robin Hood:

Pre-Production:

1. Organize initial read-through with the director and in this case, with 20+ actors! as well as available designers.

2. Attend production meetings to understand the Director’s vision, how the designers relate their ideas in order to actualize that vision effectively

3. Create rehearsal schedule taking into account actors’, director’s, and designers’ availability, time needed per scene, for costumes, and for fight choreography.

4. Attend all rehearsals and keep up to date with actors’ needs throughout the process.  Make changes to rehearsal schedule as necessary.

5. Ensure rehearsal space is ready to go each night – with set pieces, props, and keep tabs on actors’ attendance!

5. Keep Director and actors focused on particular scenes during rehearsals, organize props with Property Master (who, in this case also held the role of Producer and Assistant Stage Manager!)

6. Maintain an organized Prompt book with blocking notes, scene transition designs, and props lists.

7. Assist with set building, painting, collecting props, moving all items to the performance venue.

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Production:

1.Assist with technical set up, running lighting and sound cues; organize backstage and green room space for actors to move in.

2. Organize pre show schedule: Actor warm ups, tech and props check, clean and stage set up.

3. Coordinate with Assistant Stage Managers to ensure a smooth run backstage and with Front of House crews to ensure a smooth run in the house!

4. Account for safe use of all props and set pieces during the run.

5. Call all cues for the show (and in this case, run the lighting board, too!)

6. Clean up space each night to prepare for next performances

7. Attempt to maintain the Director’s integrity of the show!

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Post-Production:

  1. Strike the set with members of the cast and crew: Clean out stage, backstage, and green room areas with company
  2. Celebrate the end of a great run!
  3. Return all materials to theatre’s warehouse space
  4. Attend a post-mortem meeting with Director and production team to discuss effective strategies and new ideas to use in future.
  5. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I did! 

Overall, this was an incredible experience. From being in the front row of rehearsals to watch the artistic side develop through actor work, to sweeping and mopping the stage on a nightly basis, I was proud to be part of such a production with incredible people.  I learned some new skills on the technical side of shows and got to see how much dedication is required to pull something like this off with no injuries to actors, audience members, or set pieces (other than a falling tree, we were successful in that!).

I can’t wait to jump in the Stage Managing seat again, armed with new strategies to try.

All those nights in the booth did make me wonder when I will get my butt back on the stage, however.  So, we shall see what 2016 brings.

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Awards

Kristin’s Backpack won 1st Prize for TESL Ontario’s 2011 ESL Week Blog Contest.
About Me


Welcome to Kristin’s Backpack! I jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2010 to share my Canadian-theatrical-backpacking perspective on my world adventures. With my return to Canada, I will continue to dig into my pockets and reflect on life as it has come to involve Teaching, Travel, and Theatre. Time to unzip the pockets!
Portfolios
Check out my past and current work here: 

Kristin's Library
Looking for some interesting reading material? Check out my Reading Picks and Bookworm post for some ideas! 

               
This is what summer is all about- finished a book yesterday and am on to the next today.  I just opened The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which has been on my shelf for ages.  I have been extremely interested in reading accounts that stem from true stories in a dark history that is often swept to the side.  
At the same time, I have been listening to The Maze Runner series as an audio book and have been extremely captivated by the young characters’ circumstances and their view on the world.  
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