Stage managers are responsible for coordinating and running a performing arts production. They work under the director and act as a liaison with the show's designers, crew, actors and other personnel. Stage managers must be highly organised, detail-oriented and able to work well with others and have excellent communication skills.
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During the rehearsal process, the stage manager is responsible for recording the blocking, or positioning, of the actors as designated by the director. The stage manager also keeps track of any changes made by the actors that the director wants to keep. Stage mangers tend to use notations and symbols to help them record blocking quickly and efficiently. It is paramount that stage mangers keep consist blocking notes, because they must provide detailed staging information to designers, production crew members, and forgetful or absent actors.
Stage mangers preserve the voice of the playwright and help maintain the integrity of a play's text by making sure that actors deliver their proper lines. When the rehearsal process reaches the "off-book" stage and actors no longer carry their scripts, the stage manager must follow the dialogue and note inconsistent wording, skips and other inaccuracies.
The stage manager must meet with the director and designers to note all production cues, which can include light, sound, fog and any other element that is part of the production. Stage managers must note where and when all cues will take place.
Calling the Show
After the rehearsal process is complete, the stage manager is responsible for running the entire show, or "calling" the performance. The stage manager alerts the sound and light board operators when to execute all light changes, sound cues and other production elements. He is also in communication (usually via headset) with the backstage crew.
The salary of a stage manager varies greatly and usually depends upon the size of the hiring organisation or production company. Salaries also depend upon whether the stage manager is union or non-union. According to PayScale.com, as of July 2010, stage manager salaries range from £16,900 to £29,250 in performing arts entertainment and from £19,500 to £31,850 in television broadcasting.