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Career as a Stage Manager

Veethi Telang
Are performing arts your thing, but you don't really wish to perform? Experience the feel of stage even without performing on it by becoming a stage manager, job description of which is comprehensively discussed here.
Management. It's an art. What is it like to manage art anyway? Keep a check on the artistic movements? Your director's necessities? The technicians' requirements, and of course, your actors frequent tantrums (arr...)? Indeed, it's fun to be a stage manager.
While the director works on making a show successful, you, being responsible for the entire stage management, work alongside, taking care of the lights, the drapes, the props, the technicians, the actors, and everything else that makes a stage show a successful one.
They communicate with the organizers of the show by taking all details, and implement them for the purpose of making a show a success. Well, it wouldn't be wrong to say that a stage manager is the director's favorite person!
However, all's well if it's done well. Management involves great responsibility, and stage managers are no ninjas who can't make mistakes.
Therefore, if you're going to be working as a professional stage manager in the near future, it's a good idea to learn in detail all about what stage managers do, what are the requirements to become one, how much do they make annually, and what's the scope for future. So, take notes.

Nature of Work

They have a hectic working lifestyle, and sometimes, work outdoors on weekends too. However, the job of stage managers is full of fun. Their key duty is to manage everything on stage such that the audience moves out of the theater elated and satisfied after the show's over.
Their responsibilities include analysis of scripts, manpower planning, managing the number of characters required, the props and furniture required, costumes to be worn, light effects to be used, and catering to the basic needs of the employees.
It's an important job as everyone truly relies on a stage manager for their work. Stage managers also coordinate with their production managers and actors before the stage show, and notify them about the rehearsal venues. Indeed, it's a difficult job, and only those who're good at managing people can think of succeeding in this interesting profession.

Educational Requirements and Skills

It really doesn't matter what field you belonged to earlier. What matters is what are you going to do after that. Stage management requires dealing with people, and learning the art of management with every project you undertake.
This field is open to graduates in all fields. However, a background in performing arts, music, or theater can increase your chances of setting up your place here. The reason behind this is the fact that people belonging to performing arts know about the teeny-weeny procedures which, collaboratively, create a successful show.
However, even if you aren't from the field of performing arts, you can always get trained on the job.
Moreover, institutes such as the Los Angeles Film School or Academy of Art University in San Francisco offer numerous courses to people interested in becoming a stage manager, and you can get certified after completing a vocational training course from these.
Many institutes are a partner to performing arts employers, and thus, this increases your chances of placement right after you've completed your course. Rest, you'll learn about managing stage shows once you're hired.

Pay Scale

Stage managers typically earn well between $30,000 - $45,000 during the initial years of their career. However, this salary figure increases, and goes beyond $60,000 with a few years of experience, and the degree of the project that a stage manager is a part of.
Note that, your salary as a stage manager is highly driven by the field of performing arts you're working in (music, theater, dance, etc.), and the geographical region you choose to serve in. While Los Angeles, California, and New York pay extraordinarily to stage managers, there are various states in the US that pay typically less.

Career Prospects

For a stage manager, career opportunities in the performing arts industry are in bulk, for the simple reason that, the world of entertainment has developed manifold, and with more and more art lovers turning producers and directors to offer something new to the world, the need for individuals that can manage their entire setup is ever-increasing.
Stage managers working for theater and music concerts can expect greater career opportunities, which increase in accordance with the size and level of the project.
Usually, stage managers are employed on the basis of contracts, and work seasonally. However, large-scale companies require them to be working full-time, and hence, pay greater remuneration to them.
If you're all set to carve your niche into the world of performing arts, and know how to manage a horde of people, the job of a stage manager can offer you endless opportunities to secure your future.