What’s it like… Stage Managing?

Published on:
12th June 2024

I’m Iona and I’m about to graduate from the BA Production Arts course! I have been the Stage Manager for Scenes with Girls and The Nobodies, which were part of the Summer Festival at The Wardrobe Theatre (23 May – 22 Jun 2024).

For the third year of the Production Arts course, we are given the option to specialise in a range of offstage disciplines, including lighting, prop making, sound and even screen production. I couldn’t decide between construction or stage management initially, but I’m very pleased with my decision. The role of a stage manager is so varied, and it’s been particularly enjoyable to be a part of the student-led Summer Festival.

A typical day for me is being the first one in and last one out! I arrive at the School, and check that the rehearsal rooms are tidy and the Deputy Stage Managers have everything they need for the day. We’ll have a chat and any important updates from the day before will be relayed. I enjoy sitting in on rehearsals for the first part of the day to ensure everything is running smoothly and that no problems arise!

In the afternoon, I’ll continue working with the fantastic and dynamic first year Assistant Stage Managers who are busy in the world of props; finding, sourcing and buying the props for our shows. I love a good brainstorming session: How do we source the most niche props for the least amount of money?!

A highlight of working on these shows was leading tech rehearsals at the venue. The timeline was incredibly tight, but we managed to get through everything that was required for both productions. The size of our team decreased, which meant that additional responsibilities were taken on by everyone. Thanks to the power of communication and teamwork, we rocked the situation!

Training at BOVTS has been an absolutely fantastic experience, and I feel so privileged to have worked on a huge variety of productions with wonderful people. I felt supported and challenged at all the right moments and am so excited to go out into the industry with the confidence I’ve developed here. Besides, now I know where to source some of the most random objects!

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Students drinking coffee in Clifton Village
The training provided by the MFA programme is superb. The depth with which we explore, paired with unyielding curiosity that is met with the most knowledgeable, passionate, expert tutors is what makes BOVTS programme one of the finest around. I feel honoured to call BOVTS my grad school. Rachel McVay, MA Professional Acting Student