Stage managers make sure the sets, equipment and props are ready for the opening of a performance.
Salary range: £18,000 to £45,000
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
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
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Stage Management Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
You can find out more about becoming a stage manager from the Stage Management Association and Creative Choices.
You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
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
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.