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Stage Managers

The Stage Management team handles many practical aspects of the production. In the run-up to the show, they often find or make props and sit in rehearsals to give technical advice, as well as acting as a go-between for different technical departments. During performances they keep the show running smoothly and attend to safety on stage.

The Stage Manager (SM) is in overall charge of practical considerations on stage. The job includes attending rehearsals to spot potential problems whilst keeping notes about blocking (positions of actors during the play), costume issues and changes in the script to pass on to other members of the team. During performances the SM has overall responsibility for the safety of the cast and crew and is in charge of organising scene changes.

The Deputy Stage Manager (DSM) sits at the prompt desk (usually just off the stage on one side) and 'calls' the show by cueing lighting, sound, scene changes and other effects, using an intercom or a system of “cue lights” to communicate with operators elsewhere in the building. Before the get-in the DSM marks up a copy of the script with all the cues.

The Assistant Stage Managers (ASMs) are general assistants to the Stage Manager and the Deputy Stage Manager during performances. The number of ASMs and their duties vary greatly between productions, but they are often in charge of obtaining, maintaining and distributing props, assisting in scene changes and helping actors with quick costume changes.

Some productions in Cambridge combine the roles of DSM and SM by having the SM 'calling' from the desk, and the ASM taking on the role of SM during the show. However, in a complex show it is often easier and safer to maintain the distinction.

Last edited Mon 1st Jun 2009 by Sam Clear

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