Stage Manager

The Stage Manager is responsible for co-ordinating scene changes and other technical effects that are controlled from the stage during all performances. On complex shows they may have Assistant Stage Managers and a large team of Stage Crew who will actually execute the scene changes and effects, and the Stage Manager should plan not be doing anything themselves, but just to oversee this team of people, ready to step in should anything go wrong. On smaller shows, it may be appropriate for the Stage Manager to do some or all of this work themselves.

The Stage Crew who work on each performance may not be the same people for every night of a show's run, and it is the Stage Manager's responsibility to ensure any new members of the crew are completely familiar with the jobs expected of them, arranging practice runs of more complex scene changes before the performance starts, if necessary.

On complex shows, the Stage Mananger may choose to appoint one or more Assistant Stage Managers, who will be present for every performance, and may look after one area of the stage or one special effect, and train any Stage Crew needed for those particular jobs.

The Stage Manager also forms part of a team with the Deputy Stage Manager, who between them should attend enough rehearsals to familiarise themselves with the show before the technical rehearsal in the theatre. They should try to spot any potential technical problems caused by the blocking or choreography before the show moves into the theatre, and work with the Technical Director to resolve them.

Show-specific variations

In cases where the Deputy Stage Manager does more of the preparatory work and rehearsal attendance than the Stage Manager, some shows may choose to refer to the person "on the book" as the Stage Manager, and consequently call the Stage Manager either a Floor Manager or an Assistant Stage Manager. Similarly, when shows do not require a Stage Manager (e.g. fixed set, no scene changes, no special effects), the Deputy Stage Manager may be referred to as the Stage Manager. Clearly this can lead to confusion over the term "Stage Manager", and therefore we don't recommend using this naming scheme. However, we do strongly suggest that everybody double-checks exactly what is expected of the "Stage Manager" in any given show, so as to be certain of avoiding any such confusion!

Some shows in Cambridge choose not to have a Technical Director, in wich case some of the responsibilties (often the planning of special effects, drawing of set plans, and running the get-in and get-out) can fall to the Stage Manager or Deputy Stage Manager. It is very rare for the set building and painting responsibilities to be taken on by stage management.