Stage Manager

Get insights from Stage Manager Matt Watkins

“The great thing about Stage Management is that we really are at the centre of the communication of the development of a show. So you get to liaise and have interactions with everyone involved in the production, right from the director to all the technicians, to the production team, to the actors.”

Matt Watkins


The Stage Manager is in charge of everything on and off stage during performances, often working under pressure to ensure the production runs smoothly and to the highest possible standard. A typical career path to Stage Manager progresses from Assistant Stage Manager to Deputy Stage Manager, Stage Managers often continuing to become Company Stage Managers or Production Managers.


  • Scheduling rehearsals, including daily call times
  • Marking-out the set on the rehearsal room floor
  • Sourcing rehearsal furniture and props
  • Preparing and circulating daily rehearsal notes
  • Liaising with the Producer and/or Production Manager regarding budgets and schedules
  • Monitoring working hours, ensuring cast and crew take necessary breaks, and documenting this on time-sheets
  • Liaising with in-house technicians at venues, especially when touring productions
  • Supervising get-ins and get-outs at venues
  • Operating sound and/or lights on smaller productions, including relighting shows on tours
  • Preparing and circulating show reports for each performance

Key Skills

  • Excellent communication, including people skills
  • Excellent time-management
  • Calmness, particularly when working under pressure
  • Excelling at problem solving and use of initiative
  • Organisation and efficiency
  • Diplomacy and a sense of humour


Vocational training in Stage Management is widely available in drama schools. Selection is by interview and GCSE and A Level/BTEC qualifications are a requirement of most courses, or previous experience in the theatre industry.

Practical experience on school productions or with a local amateur theatre is an advantage when applying to drama schools. While people do enter the industry without formal training, your employment prospects are greatly enhanced if you’ve completed a recognised course.


Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.

Further Reading

  • Stage Management: The Essential Handbook by Gail Pallin, 2010
  • The Stage Guide to Stage Management by Barbara Eifler, 2008
  • Essentials of Stage Management by Peter Maccoy, 2004