Theatre patrons attend stage productions without seeing what goes on behind the scenes. Deputy stage manager is just one of the many roles that must be filled for a show's rehearsals and performances to run smoothly. The deputy stage manager assists the stage manager in all aspects of the show, from pre-production to the last curtain.
Applicants for the position of deputy stage manager must have experience working in stage lighting and sound. Those who have worked on high school or community productions may qualify for deputy stage manager. Students who have studied drama at college or university also gain experience in working with stage production staffs.
Deputy stage managers must be team players to work for the successful production of a show. Positive disposition is needed to keep the theatre company motivated. Deputy stage managers must spread enthusiasm to the other production staff and cast. Organizational skills are vital, as it is the responsibility of the deputy stage manager to keep production information readily available.
Theatre companies of all sizes need deputy stage managers. From the local community theatre to the stages of the West End, these managers' responsibilities vary depending on the other support staff and size of the company.
Broadway productions may hire multiple deputy stage managers and distribute responsibilities among them. For example, one deputy stage manager may be responsible for prop production and maintenance, whereas another may be in charge of actors' cues and marks. At smaller productions, a deputy stage manager carries more responsibilities.
A deputy stage manager must maintain the venue's cleanliness, including dressing rooms, backstage area and the stage itself. He must contribute to the design and development of sets and props. He must gather information from the director to determine what props are needed, the size of each prop and its location on the stage. He then works with a team to paint and construct these props, or orders them from a local prop house. He is also responsible for looking after costumes and props.
The deputy stage manager must record cues and set lists and have them prepared in case actors forget. He is also responsible for coordinating rehearsal for the understudies.
He must assist the stage manager in setting up for pre-show. He must work to ensure each show starts on time as planned. During the show, he must operate sound and lighting equipment. During scene changes and intermission, the deputy stage manager must ensure all sets and props have been properly set up.
The role of the deputy stage manager is to assist the stage manager at all times.
Salaries for deputy stage managers vary based on theatre company, location, industry and experience. Starting salaries for deputy stage managers begin at between £17,000 and £20,000, according to Prospects.