stage manager

Definitions

General English

Theater

  • (SM) The person who coordinates the physical aspects of staginga production. In the first place he or she determines whether thevisions of the director and stage designer can be physically staged;thereafter he coordinates the efforts of the stage crew torealize them. He or she also draws up a plot sheet listing theproperties, makeup, and costumes, etc. needed by each character in the play.

    In addition, the stage manager is responsible for keepingorder backstage during the performance and for ensuring the safetyand security of the area. He or she is supposed to be the last to leave thetheater each evening. The SM also keeps copies of the prompt bookand maintains the call board. In large theaters, he or she is helpedby an assistant stage manager (ASM) who sometimes servesas the prompter.

    The role of stage manager was established during the secondhalf of the 19th century. Before the position of director developedin the early 20th century, the stage manager often ran the rehearsals.The designer Gordon Craig (see Craig family) believedthat all actors should serve a spell as stage manager during theircareers, as this was the best way of learning what was effective andbeautiful on stage. Many modern directors (examples include Sir PeterHall and Peter Brook) have also assumed the duties of stage manager.

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