Today is National Stage Managers Day, as designated by the Stage Management Association. In honour of this day, I’ve been hanging out with our lovely Stage Managers on Tonypandemonium, which opens tonight. They’re all having a really busy – and long day – as it’s opening night.
Donna, our Company Stage Manager, started at 9am today, preparing the props and setting the stage for technical rehearsals this morning. Rather than stop for lunch she’s carried on through, preparing props and re-setting for the afternoon dress rehearsal. She’ll be re-setting before the evening preview when the cast are on their dinner break too. This show has a lot of things to re-set, and hundreds of props so one of Donna’s jobs is making and placing loads of different drinks around the set:
Meanwhile downstairs Assistant Stage Manager Claire can be found in the production office cutting up pieces of coloured paper to make confetti. All the props and set pieces you see at the theatre are collected and lovingly crafted by the stage management team in collaboration with the show’s designer (in this case Jean Chan) so there’s a lot of work to do throughout the rehearsal process and into production.
In the auditorium Gemma, the Deputy Stage Manager, is sat in the circle with a computer and a headset. She’s working through lunch too, going through lighting cues with Ceri, the lighting designer, and director Mathilde. Gemma’s job during rehearsals is to sit in the room, take notes from each day and make sure the director’s requests are noted to pass on to the production team. She also makes ‘The Book’ – a meticulously organised copy of the script, annotated with cues for lighting and sound during the show. Each performance Gemma will call the show – making sure lighting and sound cues go at the right time.
Stage Managers tend to love stationery (it helps keep the Book pristine) and are great at making sure there are plenty of sweets and refreshments in rehearsals to keep everyone going. This Stage Managers day we’re reversing the system. We’ve brought them a cake instead of demanding they make us one, and this blog post is mostly to say that we think they’re great.
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