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We are currently revising the Stage Manager's Handbook,
for any questions please refer to Barbara Wolfe, Undergraduate Director.

 

 

 “Thou Shalt Respect the Stage Manager”

For Bonnie & Christine

 

By: Howard Klein


Table of Contents

 

Introduction / What is a Stage Manager?                                                         3

What Does The Assistant Stage Manager Do?                                              4

ASM Job Description                                                                                            5 

Auditions                                                                                                                  6

Example Audition Form                                                                               7 

Pre-Production / The First Rehearsal                                                               8-9

Example Student Credit Form (Performance)                                           10
            Example Student Credit Form (Stage Manager)                                      11

Example Picture release form                                                                     12
            Example Cast/Crew Bio form                                                                      13

Example Program Information Packet                                                       14-17

After the show has Been Cast                                                                            18       

First Meeting/Rehearsal Checklist                                                                     19-20 

Example Rehearsal Schedule                                                                     21

Rehearsal                                                                                                                 22-24

The Rehearsal Report                                                                                           25-27

            Example Contact Sheet                                                                               28
            Example Rehearsal Report                                                             29

The Assistant Stage Manager                                                                             30-31

The Promptbook                                                                                                    32

Blocking                                                                                                                   33-34
             Blocking Example                                                                                         35

The Costume Shop                                                                                               36-38
            What the Costume Shop Expects From SM                                              39

Run Crew                                                                                                                 40

Technical Rehearsals                                                                                           41

Dress Rehearsals                                                                                                  42-43
            Example Checklist                                                                                        44

Performances                                                                                                         45

Post-Production                                                                                                     46


What is a Stage Manager?   

There is no definitive list of duties of a stage manager that is applicable to all theaters and staging environments.  A stage manager on Broadway will have different types of duties than a stage manager at a university.  But the function is the same.  Regardless of specific duties, the stage manager is the individual who accepts responsibility for the smooth running of rehearsals and performances, on stage and backstage, in pre-rehearsal, rehearsal, performance and post-performance phases.  If you understand this function, you can understand the specific duties for your theater. (This handbook is intended to help you do this.)

 

The stage manager (SM) can be defined as the person responsible for running rehearsals and performances.  In addition, the stage manager leads production meetings and maintains a chain of communication between the theatre staff and artists, builds and maintains the production book, notes and corrects all blocking during rehearsals, and calls all cues from the control booth during technical rehearsals and performances.  After the show has opened, the SM is charged with maintaining the integrity of the director’s interpretation of the script, maintaining the physical elements of the production (scenery, costumes etc.), and maintaining the cast and crews as “family.”


What does the Assistant Stage Manager do?

The assistant stage manager (ASM) is a distinct position with its own accountabilities.  The word “assistant” is a misnomer.  The ASM is assigned specific tasks to aid in the smooth running of rehearsals and performances, which may range from rehearsing dance or stage combat, to giving line cues and running props, to total responsibility backstage during technical rehearsals and performances.  If the stage manager calls cues from the control booth, an ASM on each side of the stage is desirable.  It is common to have 2 ASMs for straight plays.  In a musical or a heavy scenery and/or prop show, it is common to have 3 or more ASMs.  Make sure you look at the cast size; you DO NOT want a production staff that is larger than your cast.  Before deciding upon an ASM talk to your director and see if there is someone with a specific skill that he/she has in mind (if a tech heavy show they may want a tech major, if a dance heavy show they may want a dancer etc.).  Before signing someone up to be an ASM hand them the list of duties (ASM Job Description) and make sure they are willing to comply with all responsibilities.  After choosing your ASMs make sure they have a copy of the Stage Managers Handbook for reference. 


ASM Job Description

 

 

 


Auditions

Your job during auditions is not a specific one.  You may be asked to help out in several different ways.  A sign-up sheet will be put up on the call board for students to sign up for specific audition times.  Talk to Diana or the directors about who will take responsibility for putting up the sign-up sheet.  During the actual audition process all students will need to fill out an audition form and wait until their time arrives to go inside the theater (See Example Audition Form). Your job may be to wait with the actors until their time arrives.  You may be the go-between for the actors and the directors and may be responsible for bringing the actors into the theater for their audition.  You may also be requested inside the theater during the auditions.  It all depends on what may be needed from you at that specific moment.  You should be prepared to do any of these things.  Talking with your director beforehand will give you a good idea of what is required of you.  If you have already obtained Assistant Stage Managers, they can also be very useful at this time to help out in whatever way necessary.  There should be someone to help with forms, to be a runner and each of the SMs for all shows the general audition is being held for.  Each mainstage show has one stage manager so you should be in contact with the stage manager of the other mainstage show to help organize and run general audition and initial callbacks.  Never assume the other stage manager is taking care of things always be sure to check in with them each step of the way.

A very important thing that you should know is that the statement in the audition form reads,

“Attending callbacks must be understood to mean that the auditionee must accept the role “as cast” in the production for which he or she has been called back.”

By signing this the actor understands that if he/she attends the first callback for a show and turns down a role after receiving it, he/she can not be in any other department shows in that or the following semester.  This is important for you to know so that you can point it out on the audition sheets to the actors.


Pre-Production / The First Rehearsal

You will never have as much time to get things done as you do before the rehearsals begin.  Once rehearsals begin, you will be amazed at how your time becomes consumed with more and more projects and responsibilities.

 

-Read the script!!!!

-Reading the script is probably the most important thing you can do during the Pre-Production phase.  It will benefit you greatly to know the script backwards and forwards.  You need be able to talk to the director and the designers concerning problems that may arise from the text.  Even if you have read the script before or worked on the show before, you never know if the text is the same.  Make sure that everyone is using the same script with the same pagination.  Find out if scripts are being provided or if you have to make photocopies of the script for the cast and the ASMs.  Usually the scripts can be obtained from the office after general auditions for your ASMs and Assistant Director.

 

-Get contact information from all the designers and try and plan the first production meeting as early as possible.  Production meetings should work around everyone’s schedule and its best to try and keep the same day and time for additional meetings.  It is up to the director and designers whether or not they need a production meeting or not.  Production Meetings are scheduled for 11:30am-1:00pm on Fridays.   When a person is assistant directing or taking on a major position for a production they should keep that time free that semester.

 

Make sure a rehearsal space is already signed out for the first rehearsal if not for the entire rehearsal process.

 

Collect all of the actors schedules ASAP for fittings and scheduling.

 

Get all contact information for the cast, crew and everyone involved and create a contact sheet

 

Get the Stage Manager keys from the Secretarial Assistant to the Chair (Diana Webb)

 

Get a copy of the Departmental rules (Diana Webb)

 

If you don’t already have any Assistant Stage Managers, see Diana to inquire if anyone is interested…if not, you can post a note on the call board.  If you are still unable to find ASMs ask Diana to send out a notice on the Listserv and/or B-Line. 

 

 

 

Before You Start

Schedule a meeting with your production staff and cast before the show starts its rehearsal process (unless your show is the first of the mainstage season in which case do it on the first day).  Here you will need to get people to sign their overload forms if necessary, get the schedules for all the actors and find out any conflicts.  Also before handing in the Practicum credit contract make sure you find out the deadlines on the top of the page and fill them in.  The practicum forms for both shows need to be handed in by the second week of classes.

 

Things that need to be given out and collected from the actors

 

-Get student credit forms for actors (performance), your ASMs, your Assistant Directors and yourself (stage management) by the first two weeks of classes (Diana Webb)

 

-Get Cast Bio forms from the Marketing Specialist and have the cast fill them out within the first 2 weeks of rehearsal (Jill Tominosky)

 

-Get Picture release forms fill out and return on the first night of rehearsal (Jill Tominosky)

 

-Get Head-shot sign-up forms filled out in the first week (Jill Tominosky)

 

 

  


 

  


                                                                                                                             

Photo Release Form

 

 

For valuable consideration, I do hereby authorize Binghamton University, and those acting pursuant to its authority to: 

 

            a.  Record my participation and appearance on video tape, audio tape, film,

                 photograph or any other medium.

              b.  Use my name, likeness, voice and biographical material in connection with these recordings.

  1.  Exhibit or distribute such recording in whole or in part without 

      restrictions or limitation for any educational or promotional purpose 

      which Binghamton University, and those acting pursuant to its authority,  

      deem appropriate.

For School Year 2003-2004

 

Name:  ___________________________________________________________

 

Address: __________________________________________________________

 

Phone No:_________________________________________________________

 

Signature:_________________________________________________________

 

Witness Signature:__________________________________________________

 

Parent/Guardian Signature (if under 18): _______________________________

Date_________________________

 


CAST/CREW BIO FORMS

 

Please Answer only the questions as they may apply to you.

Please keep in mind that this program will be used by yourself or others as a portfolio piece, and therefore, may influence what you want to appear in it.

PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT ALL INFORMATION APPEARS CORRECT.  (Name as you wish it to appear, etc.)

 

NAME:

 

ROLE:

 

MAJOR:

 

YEAR:

 

PREVIOUS ACTING OR PRODUCTION EXPERIENCE  50 words or less

 

 

 

 

THANKS (please limit to one sentence).


 

 

2003-2004 MAINSTAGE PROGRAM INFORMATION

 

Dear Stage Manager:

            The following pages are designed to assist you and me in the development of your show’s program.  Please complete and return to my office, via email, by Friday, October 24, 2003. 

            Please be sure that all cast/crew, who will be having Bio’s appear in the program, return them via e-mail, no later than Friday, OCTOBER 17, 2003.

            Headshots have been scheduled for “HELLO, DOLLY! ” on Tuesday, September 16 from 3-6PM and Wednesday, September 17 from 3-6PM.  Please notify all cast & crew, as above to have their pictures taken during those time in FA 188.

 

 

SHOW:

 

DATES & TIMES:

 

THEATRE:

 

CAST:

Student                                               Role

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


ACTS/DESCRIPTION:

 

 

INTERMISSION:  WHEN & HOW LONG

 

 

DIRECTOR:

 

MUSICAL DIRECTOR:

 

SCENE DESIGNER:

 

LIGHTING DESIGNER:

 

COSTUME DESIGNER:

 

SOUND DESIGNER:

 

STAGE MANAGER:

 

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR:

 

COSTUME SHOP SUPERVISOR:

 

SCENIC ARTIST: 

 

PROPS COORDINATOR:

 

SET DECORATOR:

 

ASSISTANT MUSIC DIRECTOR:

 

ASSISTANT TO COSTUME DESIGNER:

 

ASSISTANT TO SCENE DESIGNER:

 

ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR:

 

ASSISTAGE STAGE MANAGER (s):

 

PROPS RUN CREW: 

 

SOUND RUN CREW:

 

SCENERY RUN CREW:

 

SET CONSTRUCTION (Alphabetical Order):

 

 

 

COSTUME CONSTRUCTION (Alphabetical Order):

 

 

 

COSTUME RUN CREW (AO):

 

MASTER ELECTRICIAN:

 

 

PRODUCTION ELECTRICIANS:

 

 

ELECTRICIANS:

 

 

SOUND BOARD OPERATOR:

 

 

SPECIAL THANKS (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

 

 

DIRECTOR’S NOTES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUSICAL PRODUCTION, PLEASE LIST ORCHESTRA MEMBERS

 

CONDUCTOR:

 

FLUTE:

 

CLARINET:

 

OBOE/ENGLISH HORN:

 

BASS CLARINET:

 

ALTO SAXOPHONE:

 

TENOR SAXOPHONE:

 

BARITONE:

 

BASSOON:

 

TRUMPET:

 

TROMBONE:

 

PIANO:

 

SYNTHESIZER:

 

ELECTRIC BASS:

 

DRUMS:

 

PERCUSSION:

 

REHEARSAL PIANISTS:

 

ORCHESTRA TECHNICIANS:

 

 

ORCHESTRA MANAGER:

 

 


AFTER THE SHOW HAS BEEN CAST

 

Make a contact sheet/Cast list.  This should include contact information for the entire cast, all designers, Diana Webb, The costume Shop and ULED. 
Include email addresses as well as phone numbers.  Everyone involved in the show should receive a copy and it’s not a bad idea to post one on the call board outside the theatre dept. office as well. (See Example Contact Sheet/Cast List).

 

Get a complete copy of the entire cast’s schedule to deal with conflicts for rehearsals, costume fittings or photocall. (See The Costume Shop)

 

Post a rehearsal schedule on the call board for at least the first day so that the cast knows where to be and when.  Ask your director for guidelines but  we encourage SMs to publish a schedule weekly.  (See Example Schedule)

 

Some directors like to do tablework before getting the show on it’s feet.  Usually this involves read-throughs and actor research.  Have tables and chairs put in the rehearsal space for as long as needed/wanted by the director.  These can be ordered through Diana.

 

Get a copy of the ground plan from the technical director (Don Guido) or from the set designer and spike out the rehearsal space. (Spike and glow tape can also be gotten from Guido)

 

Start preparing your prompt book for the first day or rehearsal (See Promptbook)


First Meeting/Rehearsal To Do list

 

If you are the second show in the semester make sure that the first meeting is within the first two weeks.  If you are the first show in the semester make sure that the following gets done at the first rehearsal:

Before the meeting/rehearsal:

  • Meet with director and find out when they would like the meeting/rehearsal to be, and what needs to be accomplished within that first meeting period
    • Usually for a first meeting the director will want to talk about:
      •  The background of the show and why they chose it
      • The research they would like each cast member to do on his/her character
      • The date at which the actors need to be off-book
  • Reserve a space for your rehearsal (Diana Webb)
  • Find out the deadlines for the practicum forms (Diana Webb)
  • Post on the callboard the time of the first meeting/rehearsal
  • Make sure you are aware of where exits, fire extinguishers, first aid and other supplies are available. 

 

At the first meeting/rehearsal:

  • Get schedules for all cast members, including any conflicts
  • Get contact information (full name, email, cell phone number) for all people involved
  • Get all the practicum forms filled out fully, have the director sign them and put them in Barb Wolfes mailbox
  • Arrange a loose schedule of rehearsal for entire run with director (make sure everyone is on the same page about time-commitment for rehearsals over breaks)
  • Make the entire cast aware of any cuts or changes to the script (if changes are made during your first read-through or at any stage of the rehearsal process get them to all designers in the rehearsal report)
  • Tell/Teach/Remind everyone that during a break (or anything else) that it is very important to receive verbal feedback in the form of a “thank you”
    • i.e.: If you say “10 minute break” the response should be “thank you 10”

 

 


 

The Country Wife

 

REHEARSAL SCHEDULE

 

Fri 2/8              6:30pm ‑8:30pmSuzanne    Pp. 272‑276

                                                                         Lindsay

                                                                         Steve

 

                         8:30pm ‑ 10:30pm                Steve                          Pp. 276‑282

                                                                         Chris                                                              

                                                                         Nate

                                                                         Lindsay

                                                                         Suzanne

 

Sat 2/9             1:00pm ‑ 3:00pm                  All Speaking Roles in The Exchange

                                                                         (Pp. 294‑311)

 

3:00pm ‑ 4:30pm                                           Danny                         Pp. 263‑272

                                                                         Kris                             Run with Notes

                                                                         Nate

                                                                         Chris

                                                                         Steve

4:30pm ‑ 6:00pm                                          

                                                                         Rachel                        Pp. 282‑290

                                                                         Steve

                                                                         Jen

                                                                         Mike

                                                                         Danny

                                                                         Dina

 

Mon 2/11         6:30pm ‑ 7:00pm                  Danny

                                                                         Ben

                         7:00pm ‑ 10:30pm                All Called ‑ Run Thru Act I w/ notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rehearsal

Before Rehearsal

The SM and the ASMs should always arrive a half hour to an hour earlier than the cast to prepare the rehearsal space, depending on how much work has to be done.

 

Find a desk or table that you can work from.  It is very important to have a work area for yourself, your ASMs and the director.  Make sure it is big enough to accommodate all of your possessions and equipment and is situated in front of the acting area.

 

Make sure the floor is clean and all spike tape is secure and visible.

 

Set up any rehearsal props and/or furniture.  Also, if there are rehearsal costumes/props they should be brought into the space so that the actors can get ready as soon as they arrive.  If there are a large amount of costumes it may be easier to have the actors change in the dressing rooms instead of the rehearsal space.

 

At The Start Of Rehearsal

If an actor does not arrive at the time they are scheduled, they should be called.  This is a good job for an ASM so that you do not have to leave rehearsal.  You should also make a note of any lateness on the rehearsal report so that you and the director can refer back to it at any time.  If an actor knows he or she is going to be late for any reason they should call so that somebody is aware and the rehearsal schedule can be adjusted if necessary.  It is important to make sure everyone has your cell phone number and you ASMs cell phone numbers.

 

During Rehearsal

Remember to give breaks.  This is important not only to the actors but you, your staff and the director as well.  It is your responsibility to make the director aware of the time when you need to take a break. You should always talk to your director before calling a break and agree with the director as to when the best time is.  There are 2 different break schedules you can choose from.  After 55 minutes of rehearsal a 5-minute break should be given or after an hour and 20 minutes, a 10-minute break should be given.  It is not always possible to exactly stick to these parameters while rehearsing, so you should adjust the break schedule accordingly.        

 

When you give a call for a break or anything else it is important to get verbal feedback from the actors so that you know that they heard you and they are listening.  A “thank you” as a response should become second nature to all actors.  It is important to introduce this at the first rehearsal and really make sure you receive a response from your actors.  This will help you make sure you have everyone’s attention.  Don’t forget to teach this to new people that may enter the rehearsal, dress rehearsal and performance process.

 

You should read the part of any actor that is not available to be at rehearsal.  If an ASM is available, you may have them read or even walk the part on stage for the benefit of the other actors. (See Assistant Stage Managers)

 

Make the entire cast and all designers aware of any cuts or changes in the script.

 

Make sure and take down all blocking for the actors, props and set pieces.  This is also something ASMs can be a great help with. (See Blocking)

 

Be on top of the text.  Make sure and always follow along.  This is another area where ASMs come in very handy.  It is a good rule to only give an actor a line if they call for it.  Actors sometimes hesitate on their lines when trying to remember and you must give them the chance.

 

Be sure to check in with the costume shop everyday to schedule costume fittings. (See The Costume Shop)

 

Make sure you locate the nearest fire extinguisher to your rehearsal space in case of emergency.

 

Make sure you fill out a rehearsal report after each rehearsal. You get the information that goes into a rehearsal report during rehearsal (See Rehearsal Report)

 

Make sure to secure the rehearsal space at the end of each rehearsal.  Many rehearsal rooms are used for other things during the day and so you should make sure that the room is cleaned and straightened up at the end of the night.  Actors should be responsible for their own garbage! If you fall into the bad habit of cleaning up after people, they will never clean up after themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rehearsal Report

 

The rehearsal report is a daily report from the stage manager to all of the production staff.  The report should include any and all information that needs to be conveyed.  It should also include a brief synopsis of what was done during rehearsals and any significant occurrences that are out of the ordinary.  It’s always good to be extra thorough on your report because this may solve problems later on.  Make sure that a copy of the report is sent to all designers, assistant designers, director, assistant director,  office assistants and shop assistants.   You can use the Example Contact Sheet as a guide and switch out people as necessary.

 

The wording of the information that goes into each section of the rehearsal report is very important because if assumptions or demands are made it is very disrespectful to the designers.  Try to form your sentences into questions: instead of saying “We don’t like the way the car sounds” try saying “Can you please oil the casters on the car?”.  (See example rehearsal report).

 

The report should have at least the following sections:

 

Rehearsal Notes

This is where you write what was accomplished during rehearsal.

i.e.: Today we ran Act one scene 1-3, four times.

 

Sets

Here you would ask any questions pertaining to the scenery and let the designer or technical director know any information you think might affect their jobs.

i.e.: if there is a problem with any set piece, if there is any issues with safety, questions you/director may have about when specific set pieces are being incorporated into the set etc.

 

Lights

As in the scenery section here you would ask any questions pertaining to lighting that may arise as well as let the designer know of anything you think might affect their job.

i.e.: if the director mentions that he/she wants a blackout at a point not specified in the script, if the director decides on a certain time of day that a scene is taking place etc.

 

Sound

Same as sets and lights.

i.e.: if a director wants a specific song where the script just says song, if the director wants to add any sound cue that is not listed in the script etc.

 

Props

Here you would list any props that are needed for the scenes that were run during rehearsal.  This is also where you would list any rehearsal props that the director requests.

i.e.: count the amount of some specific props (if the actors are using 3 different rehearsal towels you will need 3 different towels in the show), if any rehearsal prop breaks, if you have questions on what props are specific to rehearsal and what will be switched out for a performance

 

Costumes

As with Sets, Lights, and Sound you would ask any questions that are brought up about costumes, list any costume pieces that are needed for the scenes that were run during rehearsal and let the designer know of anything an actor does that may affect the costume.  You should list any costume fittings that you have scheduled during rehearsal and give reminders of fittings that are the following day. This is also where you would request rehearsal costume pieces.

i.e.: Notify the shop of potential costume hazards such as spilled liquids, potential rips and tears, actors crawling on the floor, note and report if actors are added to scenes, and if actors play additional characters that require additional costumes etc.

 

 

General Info/Comments

This section may become more for you than for anyone else.  Anything that you feel is important and needs to be written down can go under this category. 

i.e.: keep track of lateness, give reminders of meetings or phone number changes etc.

 

 

 

This is your everyday way of communicating with the designers.  Try to keep in mind while writing your rehearsal report that the designers and assistants are not there at rehearsal with you every night and need to know everything that goes on that is relevant to their designing process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example Contact Sheet/ Cast List

Name

Part

E-Mail

Phone Number

Tom Kremer

Director

tkremer@binghamton.edu

(607) 777-2456

BeccaLou Herbert

Stage Manager

Loulyboo23@aol.com

(914) 643-1244

Barb Wolfe

Costume Designer

bwolfe@binghamton.edu

(845)2703012

John Vestal

Lighting designer

jvestal@binghamtone.du

(607) 777-6968

Craig Saeger

Props/Sound Designer

aceees@aol.com

(607)777-2567

John Bielenberg

Set Designer

jbielenberg@adelphia.net

 

Don Guido

Technical Director

dguido@binghamton.edu

(607) 777-2363

Jill Tominosky

Publicity

jtominos@binghamton.edu

(607) 777-7323

 

 

 

 

Annette Short

Costumes

ashort@binghamton.edu

(607) 777-6804

Sandra Vest

Costumes

sandravest@hotmail.com

(607) 777-6804

Lars Updale

Lighting

Dean48lu@aol.com

(607) 777-4870

Pam Cahill

Office

pcahill@binghamton.edu

(607)  777-6001

Diana Webb

office

Dwebb@binghamton.edu

(607) 777-6968

 

 

 

 

Jordan Bleach

Asst. Stage Manager

Jordan.m.bleach@gmail.com

(914) 443-5738

Katie Pierce

Asst. Stage Manager

Kpierce2@binghamton.edu

(607) 368-7105

Dallas DeFee

Asst. Director

missdallas@gmail.com

(607) 239-0799

Leigh Colins

Asst. Costume

Lcollin1@bingamton.edu

(518) 605-3036

 

 

 

 

Paul Stanton

Anthony

Pstanto1@binghamton.edu

(607) 341-6058

Kerrin Hawkins

Jackie-O

Khawkin2@binghamton.edu

(631) 873-7234

Allie Henkel

Mrs. Pascal

allie@optonline.net

(516) 286-0025

Emma Lunderman

Lesly

Rlunder1@binghamton.edu

(315) 720-5245

Matthew Koenig

Marty

Mkoenig1@binghamton.edu

(203) 731-7094

 

 

 

 

The House Of Yes Fall 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuddy Meers Rehearsal Report 3/1/09

 

Production: Fuddy Meers

Rehearsal #28   Date: 3/1/09

Location: Watters Theatre

 

Rehearsal Start Time:10:00am

First Break Start:11:26am

Resume First Break:11:36am

Lunch break: 12:45(or 1:13)pm - 2:30pm

Second Break Start:3:51

Resume Second Break:4:01

Rehearsal End Time: 5:03

Total Rehearsal Time: 5 hours18 mins

 

General Rehearsal Notes- We did a speed through with lights adding in sound in the morning and a cue to cue. 

 

Costume Notes-  The broken manacle got run over today and no longer works, we have moved its old placement so it won't happen again but we need another one.

 

Lights- We would like to set scene 3 at around 10 am can the lighting be adjusted for this?

 

Props- Can we have 3 new rehearsal towels?  When are we going to start incorporating the real food?

 

Scenery- Can we oil the casters on the cars?

 

Sound- Can we make the sound of the dogs barking in act 1 scene 5 very loud?

 

Misc.-   Tomorrow's GO is at 7:30pm.

 

Thanks.

-BeccaLou Herbert


 

 

 

Assistant Stage Managers

 

A competent, reliable, and hard working Assistant Stage Managers can be a Stage Manager’s dream.  The best ASM is the one you have confidence in.  You must be able to trust this person.  A great weight can be lifted from your shoulders if you can assign your ASMs things to do so that you can concentrate on something else.  An ASM is also a great help just as an extra pair of hands at your disposal.  Here are some suggestions for how your ASM can help you.

 

Help with the spiking and unspiking of the rehearsal space and transferring the spikes from the rehearsal space to the set as needed (i.e.: the place an actor stands needs to be transferred to the set whereas the spike tape representation of a door does)

 

Call any actors who are late during rehearsals

 

Help in setting up the rehearsal space, i.e. getting the rehearsal costumes, setting up rehearsal furniture, props etc.  Make sure that before the rehearsal process gets started the ASM has a key to the dressing room, where the rehearsal costumes are usually stored rm 88 (key 7D25) which you can get from Annette Short. 

 

An ASM can write down blocking in their book as well just in case you weren’t able to catch everything yourself.

 

An ASM can respond if an actor calls for a line so that you can concentrate on other things that may be going on.

 

Sometimes an actor may need help learning his or her lines.  ASMs are great for running lines with actors who are not on stage during the rehearsal.

 

During performances ASMs should be put on opposite sides of the stage and are a great help in making sure that their side is running smoothly by knowing the specifies of the prop and scenery movement as well as any costume changes.

 

These are just some suggestions for jobs that you might give to an ASM.  You will find that if you trust your ASM then you will constantly be asking them to do things for you and your life will be much easier for it.


Promptbook

(Also called The Production Book or Production Bible.)

 

Your Promptbook should contain all information pertinent to the production, rehearsals and performances.  It should include your script, all blocking, copies of all reports, lists, notes, emails…anything that has to do with the show should be kept at your fingertips in your promptbook.  This is where your organizational skills must kick in. 

 

A loose-leaf binder is best to hold your promptbook.  This way it is easy to get things in and out when needed.  A long play or musical may require lots of paperwork and so the bigger the binder, the better.

 

It is always best to categorize your promptbook for easy access.  You will start accumulating all types of papers even before rehearsals begin and so it is important to organize your book early on in the process.  Normal binder dividers with tabs are an obvious and simple choice for organization.  Everyone has a different way of organizing themselves and so you must choose the one that’s best for you.

 

It’s also very important to be as neat as possible when writing in your promptbook.  There may come a time when for one reason or another someone else, perhaps as ASM, will need to refer to your book for information.  They will need to be able to read and understand your promptbook.  Also, in case of an emergency if you can not make a performance (i.e. you get in a car accident on the way to a show or your appendix bursts) your prompt book has to be clear enough that someone other than yourself van call the cues.

 

It is a good idea to enlarge the text while making sure there is enough room on both margins so you can write the blocking on one side and leave room for cues on the other. (See Blocking example)

Blocking

 

Blocking during rehearsals can be slow and tedious.  The director may have everything planned in advance in his or her head or may decide to block spontaneously.  Blocking will often change the first couple times you run a scene but it is important to always keep on top of it and get a big eraser.  Actors should write their blocking in their scripts.   It is not always possible to record the movements of several people at the same time so it is a big help if actors record their own movement as well.  Asking an ASM to keep track of certain characters is also a great help.

 

Inform actors when they deviate from the correct blocking.  They may have written down the wrong movements or they may have neglected to note a change.  Your promptbook must be up to date and accurate.

 

Everyone has their own personal way of taking down blocking and you should do what is best for you but also remember that your book should be easy to understand in case it needs to be read by somebody else.  First start off with a labeling system for the characters.  Usually the first letter of their character name in a circle is best.  If two characters have the same letter, make a variation.  For example, Tina can be represented by a T and Tony may be represented by To.  If you have never taken down blocking before it is easiest to break up the set into sections:

 

CS – center stage                                                     UR       UC      UL

DC – down center stage                                         

UC – up center stage                                                           SR       CS      SL

SR – stage right

DR – down stage right                                              DR      DC      DL

UR – up stage right

SL – stage left

DL – down stage left

UL – up stage left

 

It also helps if you base your movements around these sections, other people, and set pieces.  Tony enters from stage right and crosses Left of the desk could be represented as “To Ent SR x L of desk.”

 

As a reference, I like to write my blocking on the right side of my text and put my cues on the left.  Sometimes I number my blocking notes and put them on the opposite page to save room. (See blocking example)

 

It is also important to keep track of set pieces and props.  You should include this information in your blocking notations.  It is important to know which actors move which set pieces and props.  This will help save time during tech rehearsals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Blocking Example

 


The Costume Shop

 

A daily visit to the shop is required during the rehearsal period.  The Stage manager is the link between the director and the designer and must be in constant contact.

 

Make sure to ask about fittings at each visit.  Fittings should be scheduled around the designer’s schedule as well as the schedule of the shop.  You should never schedule a fitting before 10:30am or after 4:30pm unless you consult with the shop first.  Make sure and always write the fitting schedules on the rehearsal report each day until they happen and it’s a good idea to give reminders of fittings that are scheduled days in advance.  Remember that if the shop is not informed of the fitting than they cannot guarantee they will be there.  You can use the schedules you have gotten from the actors to help arrange them.  Also, confirm that the scheduled actors showed up to their fittings.

 

In consultation with the director and designer create a list of rehearsal items that may be needed.  You can also ask for rehearsal items on the rehearsal report as well.  You are responsible for picking up the items and are responsible for their care.  Ask for a key to the dressing room where you can store the items and it is a good idea to make a checklist of all the items you have and keep track everyday when they are put away to make sure you are not missing anything.  Encourage actors to wear their shoes early on in the rehearsal process and report any problems and repair needs on the rehearsal report.

 

Daily notes (or whenever necessary) on the rehearsal report as to what actor needs from costumes such as pockets, handkerchiefs, purses etc.  Also notify the shop of potential costume hazards such as spilled liquids, potential rips and tears, and/or actors crawling on the floor.  Also note and report if actors are added to scenes, and/or if actors play additional characters that require additional costumes.

 

Make sure to consult the shop before scheduling a production meeting.  Also report the schedule of any added daytime performances as soon as possible.

 

Organize the publicity photo call with the marketing specialist (Jill Tominosky), the director and the Costume shop.  The photo should have an odd number of actors at a maximum of 5 people.  This is something that should be done as early as possible in the rehearsal process.

 

Make sure the stage is swept and mopped before every dress rehearsal and performance.

 

As far as the Costume Crew is concerned there are many responsibilities on your part.  You should attend the first meeting between the costume crew and the Costume shop.  Make sure that all crew, including costume crew have a contact sheet.  It is also a good idea to post a contact sheet by the dressing rooms as well.  Get all phone numbers of the crew and keep them informed of any information they may need to know.  Make sure their calls are clear – the crew call time and the costume crew call time ARE NOT the same make sure they are aware of this.  Post a sign-in sheet by the dressing rooms and Keep track of what members of the crew are late or absent.  Make sure that the costume crew goes to their “places” when you call places for the actors.  Like the actors, make sure you get a verbal response from the costume crew as well.  Get a list of where the costume crew is during the show.  It is important to know which crew people are on each side of the stage. 

 

Establish calls for actors with director and costume designer for dress rehearsals and performances.

 

During the week before tech make sure to meet with the costume shop to discuss quick changes.  You will need to figure out which side of the stage an actor needs to change on and where the costume crew can put a preset rack backstage out of the way of any scenery.

 

Remind actors to acquire and bring make-up to 2nd dress rehearsal.

 

Make sure that actors understand they can not make any decisions regarding their clothes.  They are to wear only what they are supposed to wear when they are supposed to wear it.

 

During performances do not open the dressing rooms until it is time.  The costume crew needs this time to get the rooms ready for the actors.

 

Always make sure to note anything that happens during performances on the performance report.

 

Consult What the Costume Shop Expects from Stage Managers for further information.



Run Crew

 

The list of people on the run crew can be gotten from the designers throughout the rehearsal process up until the week before tech week.  The stage crew names can be gotten from the technical director (Guido), the sound operators from the sound designer (Craig) and the Light board operator/spot light operators from the lighting designer (John Vestal).

 

You should make a contact sheet with all the information of the crew as soon as you can.

 

Ask each crew person to make you a list of their duties in case there is an emergency and you have to get someone else to cover their job.

 

All crew working backstage must wear all black in case they are in view of the audience.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Technical rehearsals

 

Tech is where the show changes hands from the director to the stage manager.  This is your time.  Tech relies on the stage manager calling the cues and so the stage manager must take charge of the show at this point.  Along with the technical director you will decide which crew member does which job and this is when they will learn.  You need to have control of the room during tech week.  Always make sure that everyone knows what is going on, sometimes you have a god microphone which you can convey this information through, otherwise be very loud.

 

Make sure that the crew people have seen a run of the show before tech week.

 

Usually, there is a dry tech, which is a tech without actors.  This is where the lighting designer and the sound designer along with the director will tell you where your cues will be within the text.  The actors will then come in and either you will run a cue to cue and run through the show with the actors working through each cue.  You may also run through the show and only stop if you run into a problem.  This is up to you, the director and the designers.

 

During tech week is when you should ask each crew person to make you a list of their duties in case there is an emergency and you have to get someone else to cover their job.

 

During tech you will find that certain things need to be done for every performance.  You should add these things to your checklist.

 

Rehearsal reports are still necessary during tech week.

 


Dress Rehearsals

 

Check with the costume shop about the call for the actors.

 

Crew call should be an hour and fifteen minutes before GO time unless circumstances require more time.

 

Make sign-in sheets for cast and all crew.

 

Checklists become very important at this point.  During tech you can figure out all the things that must be done during performances and 1st dress rehearsal is the time to try out your checklists.  No matter how smart you are you can not be a stage manager without a checklist.  It is the key to all your organization. (See Example Checklist)

 

Though all designers will be present it is still your responsibility to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.  For example, the crew person in charge of props will be doing his or her job but you must double check their job and make sure all props are set in their correct places.

 

During dress rehearsals always check with all designers before starting the run of the show.  This is still their time as well.

 

First dress rehearsal is when the sweeping and mopping of the stage should begin.  Check with the technical director (Guido) for the nearest broom and mop to the stage you are using.  If your show is in Watters Theatre or one of the Studios your nearest broom and mop are in the janitor closet behind the studios.  You will have to put a sign up on a janitor door asking them to keep it unlocked so you can use the broom and mop.  Make sure to specify the exact dates.  If for some reason during performances the door is locked you should call ULED as soon as possible to have them open the door.

 

Make sure that the light crew does a dimmer check and the sound crew does a sound check.

 

Make sure that if you are in Watters Theatre that the doors leading down to the dressing rooms from the stage are taped to be unlocked.

 

 


 

STAGE MANAGER CHECKLIST

THE COUNTRY WIFE

 

Thur

Fri

Sat

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

 

7-Mar

8-Mar

9-Mar

14-Mar

15-Mar

16-Mar

17-Mar

6:45pm

Crew Attendance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doors unlocked-taped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:00pm

Cast Attendance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:30pm

Stage swept and mopped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sim check

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound check

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dimmer check - LQ 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booth Lights out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Props set for top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue "set" set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Lights off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costume pieces set for top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cycdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrim down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:40pm

Crew to places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/2 hour to places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:45pm

House Open

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:55pm

15min. To places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:05pm

5min. To places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:1 Opm

Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light board off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound board off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booth lights out and locked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Props all put away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyc up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tape off cross-over door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Performances

 

You should follow the same procedures you followed during dress rehearsals and always follow your checklists.

 

Make sure to find the House Manager (around 7:00pm they arrive in a red blazer) at the first performance to answer any questions they may have.  You should also always check with the House manager before opening the house and before calling places.

 

You should always fill out a performance report just as you filled out a rehearsal report and distribute it to all of the same people.


 

Post-Production

 

Make a schedule for strike.  All actors and crew are required to be at strike.  Depending on how many people are in your cast you may find it best to split up the cast and crew into two groups and give one group a break to eat after the last show ends and then switch and give the other group a break.  Then the second group will return from break and the entire cast will finish strike together.

 

If the cast was given rented scripts that need to be sent back to a company, collect them and leave them in the appropriate place.  Also erase all pencil marks that were made in them during the actors throughout the rehearsal process.

 

Clean off the call board of any papers still left from your show.  Take down all sign-in sheets and keep them in your promptbook along with any notes about lateness that occurred during dress rehearsals and performances for cast and crew.

 

Return your Stage Manager keys to Diana as soon as possible.

 

 

·        You will be receiving four upper-level Theatre Practica credits for working on a mainstage show so always keep in mind that this is a class and you should put forth as much effort as you would for any other class.

·        ASMing is a huge commitment.  You must attend every rehearsal.  These usually take place  7pm-11pm Monday- Friday and 10am-6pm on Saturdays.

o       If you do have a night class that runs into the time of rehearsal and you are very eager to work on a show your schedule can sometimes be worked around; HOWEVER you must be there during tech week, brush up and all performances.

·        Before the rehearsal process begins you need to read the stage managers handbook, if you have any questions about rules and regulations in there you can address them to your SM.

·        You must always be on-time and ready to work with whatever it is the SM needs you to do.

·        The phrase ASM is a misnomer you are not the SMs personal assistant, it is not your job to get them coffee or run errands for them but to help manage the show by taking on some of the tasks of a SM. 

·        The job of ASM is very challenging but very rewarding; although you may not be the person at the end of the show getting the applause from the crowd, you actively helped to make sure that the production made it through to all performances.

·        If you do not feel like you can fulfill these responsibilities please let your SM know now and do not take on the job, if you are capable of the above mentioned and you are willing to make this production happen than welcome to the Production Team.

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Last Updated: 12/11/13