“Perhaps, therefore, ideal stage managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds.” Peter Hall
The first to arrive and the last to leave, Stage Managers are responsible for the seamless execution of a production. While working to keep up morale; ensuring that everyone arrives on time; and keeping a steady and endless supply of pencils, highlighters, pain killers, cough drops and coffee, they are in charge of a whole host of things too enumerable to list here. The D.C. Theatre Community has the great fortune of being home to a number of smart, talented, and hard-working Stage Managers.
Over time, as theatre grew more and more sophisticated, individual tasks became more specialized. Prior to the 17th century, not only were actors and playwrights responsible for writing, directing and appearing in the play, but also for managing all aspects of everything else. Many theatre historians tell us that the term, Stage Manager, first appeared in use in the 18th Century and that the duties were formalized in the 19th century. If you’re interested in becoming a stage manager, Daniel Ionazzi’s The Stage Management Handbook is an excellent resource. It covers every step of the Stage Management process including pre-production, rehearsal, and performance as well as organizational structure and the delicate and highly nuanced skill of managing people.
I’m honored to present the Women Stage Managers of D.C. Series to you. Several months ago, I reached out to about 30 women in the D.C. area to see if they would like to take part. As can be expected, many of them had too much on their plates, but they were excited to hear from and support their colleagues. In my next post, I'll introduce you to the women being featured and share their stories with you over the course of the next few days. I hope you'll enjoy learning about their lives, careers and experiences as much as I have.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!