,b>Production Manager : Coordinates all production activities throughout a production season; coordinates activities of all production stage managers; involved in all scheduling and staffing
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If you are lucky enough to have a stage manager in time, s/he will help at auditions if you wish. The director or the stage manager should produce a cast/crew contact list and a rehearsal schedule and make sure everyone has one.
It is the stage manager’s responsibility to get together a backstage crew for the running of the show, including a DSM if they wish one, ASMs and a show prompt if required. Stage managers will keep “the book”, keeping track of the blocking (though actors must be encouraged to write down their own moves). It is very difficult to block and prompt at the same time, so you should have a rehearsal prompt (usually the person who will be the show prompt as well if you are using one).
Stage managers will provide rehearsal props as soon as required, and will by tech week have assembled the actual show props (perhaps in conjunction with the director and the designer who is responsible for the actual show furnishings). There may be someone specifically assigned to organise props.
The stage manager can request a ‘float’ of up to [?] for out of pocket expenses for small props, food needed for props etc. Any purchases that anyone wishes reimbursement for must be turned into the stage manager and must include the receipt. If the float has been exhausted, the stage manager may put additional claims through with the show accounts but you cannot expect to be paid until the Stage Manager has been re-imbursed. Otherwise you can submit your receipts directly to the Tower Office. Payment will follow after it has been checked that the expense was within the show budget.
It is generally the Stage Manager’s responsibility to arrange for a crew to come in to build the set, but the designer should help with this, so that the stage manager understands what sort of technical skills are needed to put up the set. If the set designer feels it necessary they must arrange a construction manager, in liaison with the Technical Co-Ordinator.
The stage manager or DSM will run the show and is responsible for ensuring the fire regulations are met. Once the show has opened, the stage manager is responsible for it. Many stage managers and casts prefer that the director not come backstage during the interval, though this can be discussed with your SM and cast.
The stage manager has a very heavy time commitment to a show, often arriving before rehearsals to set up and staying afterwards to clear up, and directors often expect them to be at every rehearsal. If there is nothing for the SM to do at rehearsal please give them the night off.
The backstage crew (DSM if desired, ASMs,) are organised by and are the responsibility of the stage manager. It is up to the stage manager if they wish to consider “jobshare” ASMs. This is particularly common on long runs.
It is up to the director whether they wish to use a prompt during performances. You should have a rehearsal prompt to leave the stage manager free to concentrate on other things even if you will not use a prompt in performance. It is the stage manager’s responsibility to find a prompt, but the person approached should be approved by the director. If you have a prompt you usually work with, please let the SM know before they arrange someone else.
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Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception: Susan Bennett's highly successful Theatre Audiences is a unique full-length study of the audience as cultural phenomenon. It considers both theories of spectatorship and the practices of different theatres and their audiences. Published here in a new updated edition, Theatre Audiences now includes a new preface by the author, a new chapter on intercultural theatre, a revised conclusion encompassing the influences of cultural materialism and psychoanalysis on audience theory, as well as an updated bibliography. A must for anyone interested in spectatorship and theatre audiences.
Create Your Own Stage Production Company: The practical, step-by-step guidance packed into this book shows aspiring theatrical producers just how to set up and run a successful stage company. Starting with forming a company, the author explains how to establish and fund a budget; book a stage venue; obtain necessary licenses and insurance; see that health/safety regulations are in compliance with local laws; then cast, rehearse, and put the show on view for the public and critics. Details on the duties of the house manager, stage manager, technical crew, and box office help are all included, along with tips on publicizing and promoting shows.
How to Run a Theater: A Witty, Practical, and Fun Guide to Arts Management: The definitive arts management guide, this book is written with tremendous insight and humor and packed with dozens of lists, such as "22 Wonderful Ways to Improve Your Life in the Theater" and "20 Distractions that Erode Productivity." It provides information on improving an organization by building audiences, bolstering fundraising, and tightening finances. Also covered are tips for solidifying relationships with boards, volunteers, communities, and colleagues. It's all here, from managing one's own life, working with a board of trustees, and managing a team to negotiating, fundraising, marketing, and financial management. This resource will appeal to all those who work in arts management-from novices to veteran middle managers and executive directors.
Stage Management (7th Edition) (Paperback): The "bible" in the field of stage management, this book is a practical examination of the role of the stage manager in overall theater production. Full of practical aids such as websites and email addresses in every chapter, checklists, diagrams, glossaries, and step-by-step directions, this volume has been used and admired by students and theater professionals alike. It eschews excessive discussion about method or philosophy and, instead, gets right to the essential materials and processes of putting on a production. Perhaps most importantly, Stern has continued to keep pace with the technological and professional developments affecting the stage. For theatre professionals, or anyone with an interest in stage management/ theatre management.
Production Team (Crew) and Creative Team
Casting – Alan Schneider said "style is casting" – casting is half the work (62).
Rehearsals – (65)
Read through play, actors and director discuss character and vision of the play, discuss play, show designs.
2. General rehearsals
rehearse in parts
scenes with particular characters
"French scene" -- entrance or exit of a character Scenes -- between "curtains" or blackouts (Remember: many contemporary stages do not have or do not use curtains).
3. Run-throughs -- of acts or the whole play -- sections.
4. Technical rehearsals (65).
5. Dress rehearsals -- like an actual performence, sometimes for an "audience" (of selected invited people).
6. Previews (also called tryouts)-- usually primarily for the professional theatre -- so the director and actors can work out some of the rough spots before opening it officvially -- often previews are out of town before coming to New York. (We at this campus usually have a preview performance for reviewers to come to).
7. Opening night -- in most professional theatre, the director's job is then over... usually goes on to another job, and the Stage Manager takes over any directing responsilities, such as "brush up rehearsals."
The post-mortem is an important theatrical tradition. It occurs usually no less than a week after the closing of a show and involves all key personnel and the Board (producers). At the post-mortem everything and anything about the show itself and the process of producing the show can be discussed.
What went well?
Where could the Board have helped more?
Where could the Board have butted out?
What could have been done more efficiently?
The director can bring up artistic questions about her show and seek constructive criticism from the others present. The purpose is to openly discuss in a positive and constructive way without attacking any individuals involved. The end result should involve all parties learning something - the Board will learn concrete ways that it can improve the production process, and the Production Team will learn more about how to interact and create a show.
The stage manager leads a team usually comprising a deputy stage manager (DSM) and one or more assistant stage managers (ASM), though in small companies/touring theatre, the stage manager may handle all areas of the production.
Together, the stage management team organises the production environment. They ensure the availability of rehearsal space, conduct rehearsals, supervise getting in and out of a venue, and ensure props and equipment are available and maintained. They also gather, record and disseminate production information to other theatre departments.
Typical work activities
The stage manager, with the director, prepares the rehearsal schedule and production schedule and liaises with technical departments (costume, props, lighting, sound etc). During a run, in the director's absence, they may also call extra rehearsals to keep the performance up to scratch. The stage manager also supervises the 'get in' to the theatre, when the set, lighting and sound etc is installed, and the 'get out', when all the equipment is removed.
The deputy stage manager (DSM) conducts rehearsals, and holds the prompt book, noting changes to dialogue, moves, and set (stage) requirements. During performances the DSM prompts actors and cues technicians from the side of the stage.
The assistant stage manager (ASM) calls actors to rehearsals and performances, arranges costume and wig fittings, obtains and maintains props, and disseminates information to other departments.
Between them, the stage management team is responsible for:
setting up and running rehearsals;
procuring all props, furniture and set dressing;
arranging costume and wig fittings;
distributing information to other theatre departments;
managing the props budget;
compiling and operating prompt copy (noting actors' moves and cueing the show);
ensuring the company's welfare;
running the backstage and onstage areas during performances;
supervising the 'get-in' and 'get-out', before and after shows;
liaising with stage staff;
calling actors for rehearsals and performances.
From Part IV. Directing Public (Life of a Show)
Peter Brook: When I give you a signal, I would ask everyone to stand up, wait for a moment, then sit down together. [The audience does so]
Right, everyone has now performed a simple action. There is one question. Can what you just did be improved upon or not? Have we already reached the ultimate level of perfection together? If you really believe that it’s all that marvellous, we can go home with the wonderful satisfaction that a unique moment in life has been reached together. But if it isn’t the case, let’s begin to work. To do this better, there are two ways. One would be the sergeant major technique, which is to say to you "Now, all together, rise to your feet, count together – one, two, three – then sit down". That’s the old army way. But there’s another way which can lead to something quite different. I don’t want to do more than give you a signal. But just adjust yourselves, the way you’re sitting, so that you’re ready without any waste of energy to be able to get up. Now, something else can help us, which is to say that everyone possesses peripheral vision. However you’re sitting, bring into your field of vision as many people as possible on either side. Know that you can feel the people around you. Third thing – listen. When I give the signal, stand up, wait and then find how to sit down again. We won’t say how long the pause has to be, but there is just one natural pause. Let’s see if we can find a natural timing instinctively, all together, without a leader. The first condition is to be completely prepared. The second need is that there shouldn’t be any unnecessary movement.
[The action is repeated]
Watching you, I assure you that was better than the first time. If we did this for even twenty minutes, it would be astonishing to see how it’s possible for a large number of people to become more sensitive, more alert, more perceptive to one another than when they started, just by each person making a very special effort himself. If we did this every day for three weeks, there would come a quite uncanny moment when an enormous group of people could in fact do quite difficult things together.
I said I would first ask you to do something, then say why. The reason is very simple. When a group is meeting for the first time, they certainly are not sensitive to one another in the whole of their body. I was very recently in Germany and I asked actors in the big German theatres, "Do you do any exercises?". Either they said, "No, never", or they said "Oh yes, once or twice a week we have gymnastic classes and we work on our bodies". But the interesting thing is that such classes help no-one except the individual, because the real exercise with a group of actors is not for the person by himself. It isn’t to make him cleverer or a better actor, or a better athlete or dancer. It’s to make a group more sensitive to itself. Something quite different. When one does exercises, it isn’t to make people more powerfully skilful, it’s to make everybody from the start quite simply more sensitive. Once a group becomes more sensitive, each person feels the reward. He begins to find (as does the director, especially if he does exercises with the actors) that as you study the work you’re doing, you are actually seeing this work better, more fully, than when you sat at home trying to do it all by yourself. Step by step, through exercise, through preparation, one begins to see that everything that matters in the theatre is a collective process. Then you come to the point where a group who have had time to prepare something meets a group like yourselves, who have come from all different corners and are sitting in seats.
Then you see that the most rewarding aspect of all theatre is when, in an extraordinary way, the audience also becomes more sensitive than it has been when it’s in the foyer or the street. That is what, to me, the whole of the theatre process is about. In big buildings, in small buildings, in the open air, in cellars – no matter where – with plays, without plays, with a script, with improvisation, no matter – it is about giving everyone who is together at the moment when there’s a performance, a taste of being finer in their feelings, clearer in their way of seeing things, deeper in their understanding, than in their everyday isolation and solitude.
That’s all the theatre has to offer, and if it happens it’s a great deal. All the rest is variations on that, but to me there is only one real test, one real way of knowing whether going to the theatre has been worth one’s time and money. These are very good standards. You go to the theatre – and in a way it’s very healthy that one should have to fight to get a ticket and have to pay for it; it’s very healthy if that gives one a real demand. And the demand is that having got there, into the auditorium, one has to have for a moment an experience that is different from the experience in the street and which makes one feel, for a second, that one is closer to the truth.
The great thing about the truth is that nobody has ever seen it and nobody has ever been able to say what it is. If anybody had been able to put into words what a truth is, the theatre wouldn’t have any reason to exist. But the theatre exists because it can take philosophers, who would cut one another’s throats because each one thinks he knows what the truth is; it can take politicians, each of whom tries to sell an idea of the truth; it can mix them with every sort of ordinary audience of all ages, and if, during the evening, something happens which brings that whole audience into one breathless moment where they don’t even ask themselves "Do I believe this or not?" it just happens, at that moment – there’s an experience which no-one can get by thought or by argument. It can’t exist on television, it can’t exist on film, both of which give other experiences. This is something which can only exist because a group of people are living something together.
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Prompt Book(s) should contain the following: Title page Company Rules Contact Sheets Cast Medical Info Rehearsal Schedule Call Sheet Sign in Sheets Line notes Blocking Symbol Key Script Script w/ blocking (progressive and final) Cue Calls (warning’s, ready’s, & go’s) Note & Memos Meeting notes Rehearsal reports Performance Reports Cue Sheets (lighting, Sound) Floor plan Costume Renderings Rehearsal Music
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