Stage Manager

Primary Role

  • To effect/manage the running of each performance in the theatre (performances include on-stage rehearsals, as well as those to an audience).
  • A Risk Assessment of each show is required by the Theatre Committee – pro-formas are provided for this.

Role & Responsibilities

The Stage Manager is In overall charge of the theatre from approx 1 hour before each performance until after the last person involved has left.  They must:

  • Ensure the theatre and all required areas within it are open and accessible e.g. fire doors, emergency escape routes, dressing rooms, scenery and props stores, lighting and sound operators’ places.
  • Make sure the performance is ready to go: check all required people are present e.g. Front of House Manager, Lighting and Sound Operators, Props and Stage Crew, Cast, Prompt, Orchestra (if applicable); and to check scenery and props are in the right places, lights are on and curtains closed (if appropriate).
  • Get the performance started as near the correct time as possible.
  • Make sure the performance runs smoothly e.g. giving cues and instructions to technicians (as per 'The Book'), and checking cast are on stage in good time for their entrances.
  • Handle any problems and emergencies.
  • Report any accidents and health & safety issues.
  • Lock up and put out the lights.
  • At the end of the run, ensure all scenery etc. is removed, and that the theatre is ready to receive the next show.  On the last night, it is usual for the Stage Manager to request that all cast and crew be at the theatre on the Sunday morning to clear everything away and clean up, by 1pm.
  • It is important that all items being returned understage be put back in the correct places to maintain the tidiness and accessibility of storage.
  • Sunday handover (usually 1pm): please sign the sheet with the incoming Stage Manager.  If you know you are going to complete before 1pm, then please liaise with incoming Stage Manager and Theatre Handover Representative.
  • The SM is to ring/inform the Box Office on the morning of the opening night, to give the times of interval and show end.

Liaise with:

  • The Front of House Manager.
  • Everybody involved with the performance.
  • Assistant Stage Manager, if required.


  • The opening and closing of the theatre can be handled by anyone with sufficient knowledge of the theatre. 
  • The running of the show requires knowledge of the particular play (or musical).  Absolute minimum input to gain this knowledge is attendance at rehearsals of the complete play and use of ‘The Book’, which is a copy of the script in which is written all essential cues and other instructions you need.
  • Stage Managers will sometimes be willing to assist with set building.
  • You will need to organise a backstage crew to assist with any scene changes etc.