Stage Manager

The Stage Manger (From the Latin for Managing the Stage) is the second highest ranking member of the Technical Crew. The job of the Stage Manager on a G&S production varys somewhat from the job description in a professional environment (see Wikipedia), lying somewhere between Deputy Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager (yes, there is a difference) and with other things thrown in. This is due to the scale and nature of the show.


Primarily, a Stage Manger (SM) is in charge of the cast and the management of the stage and backstage areas during the performance. Sometimes the backstage duties can be augmented by Assistant Stage Managers or a Back of House Manager (the titles are mostly irrelvant at this scale of show). The SM calls the cast from the green room, via microphone/speakers (set up by AV) to backstage and instructs them where and when to go on. Ultimately, the cast should know this but the SM keeps a copy of the script with all stage directions to ensure this happens in good time. The SM and their assistant(s) take care of all props backstage, prompting cast to remember to pick them up and to leave them when coming off stage (this is important as disappearing props are NOT a good thing).

The stage manager stays in constant contact with the Technical Director and the rest of the crew via comms and recieves instructions when to call the orchestra and cast to begin the show.

It is useful to know how long particular dialogue scenes and musical numbers will last so that the cast can be called with ample time. It is therefore neccessary for the SM to have a knowledge of the show, sitting in on a few rehearsals or run throughs before Show Week. Usally two-three minutes or a page of script in advance is good enough for cast calls providing they are prompt enough (it takes barely 30 seconds to travel from the Green Room to the backstage area but allow time for the cast to, you know, stop talking, finish a sandwich, hear the punchline to the dirty joke, log out of facebook, that kind of thing). If it takes them long, the SM must layeth down the law.

Needless to say, the SM needs to be following what is happening on stage for the above to happen. A camera is set up, usually on the technical gantry above the auditorium and fed to a TV backstage, this is usually set up for all productions but AV can rig this if necessary. A sound monitor should also be set up backstage.

Health & Safety

Importantly, the Stage Manager also acts as "back of house manager" and is responsible for the health & safety aspects of the backstage area. Although specifics can be delegated depending on the size of the crew.

  1. The backstage area must be clean and tidy.
  2. Fire exits and fire extingushers must not be obstructed.
  3. Props must remain on the props table and not to be taken to the green room or dressing rooms (as they may be lost or forgotton) prior to each show, these props must be accounted for.
  4. The cast must be kept in good health (this is of course, their responsibility but it is worth keeping an eye on them).
  5. The stage edges must be marked with white tape.
  6. Behind the set must be either roped off with hazard tape or marked with white tape.
  7. Suggestions made by the health and safety officer, the Central Hall Duty Manager should be followed! This is what they are there for.


The red curtains at either side of the stage will move when cast walk through them, this looks bad, especially as behind the curtain is a large white wall that is easily noticed, not to mention any backstage lighting. Therefore these should be taped closed on the outside edge and taped closed above head height on the inside edges. Arrows made of white tape to remind the cast which side to use are helpful. Make sure that the cast are aware of this as with some people, no amount of signage will help.

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