How to become a stage manager

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in stage management, or a related subject like:

  • performing arts production
  • theatre practice
  • technical theatre

You can search for approved courses through the Stage Management Association.

You'll often need practical backstage experience to apply for a course. You can get relevant experience from:

  • student, amateur or community theatre
  • working as a casual stagehand in local theatre venues

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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College

You could do a college course, for example:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Production Arts
  • Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical and Production Practice

The skills you'll learn on these courses could help when you look for a trainee assistant manager job with a stage or production company.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a creative industries production management degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need experience in production management or production accounting to do this.

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

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Work

You may be able to move into stage management after training as an actor. You could also work your way up if you have several years' experience as a backstage theatre technician.

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Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Stage Management Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a stage manager from the Stage Management Association.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • business management skills
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • making sure crew and performers are in the right place at the right time
  • organising rehearsals
  • working with staff to plan wardrobe, set design, scene changes, sound and lighting
  • managing props and set dressing
  • keeping the ‘prompt copy’ of the script, which notes what’s happening in each scene
  • liaising with theatre managers and front-of-house staff
  • supervising the 'get in' and ‘get out’ – the times when sets and equipment are set up and taken down
  • giving cues for the performers to go on stage
  • cuing sound and lighting effects

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio, at a film studio or in a theatre.

Your working environment may be noisy, you'll travel often and physically demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could manage a theatre company, become a theatre producer, or move into TV production.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a stage manager right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

BTEC L3 Production Arts Certificate Stage Management

  • Provider: THE DOWNS SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: Newbury

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

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