TOP 9 TRANSFERABLE STAGE MANAGER SKILLS

September 23, 2020
By Out of the Arts

Let's be honest: Stage Managers and Production Management are the glue for any production. They keep everything in line, they keep everyone informed, and they act as the bridge between cast, production staff, and front of house. They know every line, every lyric, all the blocking and choreography, and each tech cue by heart, as well as the locations of all the emergency exits, the production schedule, the rehearsal and performance space parameters, and the exact location of the creak in the floor (but don't worry, they already glow taped that ish!) Stage Managers are there before rehearsal begins, and after rehearsal ends. They're there before the show is even cast, and they're still there when directors and designers have moved on. They attend (and run) all production meetings and rehearsals alike. In short, the show would not go on without them.


It's clearly not for lack of skills that stage management can prove difficult to translate to the non-arts world. Actually, it's because Stage Managers do so much that it can be tricky to summarize for a hiring manager who may not be familiar with the role of Stage Managers within the performing arts community. So to help, we put together this list of non-arts resume ready stage management skills!


Project Management

If a Stage Manager is looking for work outside of the arts, they will typically fall into some kind of project management/organizational management position because the skill parallels are incredible. A Project Manager maintains schedules, organizes documentation, enforces processes, and keeps teams running collaboratively and efficiently. Sound familiar? We thought so.


Need some resume examples?

  • Documented progress and communicated changes with stakeholders, management and clients alike

  • Created and managed schedules for various staff including 12 actors, 3 vendors, and 6 designers for a period of six months


Documentation Creation

All stage managers have a “book” of documentation that is made throughout the production process containing notes, reports, schedules, communications, and so much more. Employers are always looking for people familiar with Microsoft Office, particularly PowerPoint and Excel. More specifically, they may be looking for someone who is skilled with outlining, reporting and formatting. Either way, Stage Managers typically have all of these abilities and it is worth noting on a resume.


Need some resume examples?

  • Generated daily reports based on team needs and distributed to management and stakeholders alike

  • Managed agile project documentation by recording what changed in regard to [which item] and why over a period of [four months]


Collaboration (Relationship Management)

Stage Managers are the go-betweens among cast, crew, production team, front of house staff, and vendors. While they are also good at calling cues and memorizing lines, the crux of what they do lies in relationships. Stage Managers are capable of regulating volatile relationships, translating difficult-to-grasp ideas in many directions, and solving problems on the spot. If collaboration were an Olympic sport, Stage Managers (and most performing arts professionals) would have a room full of gold medals. As a matter of fact, there should be platinum medals just for Stage Managers' collaborative skills.


Need some resume examples?

  • Facilitated communications between staff, management, and stakeholders via the leadership of all planning meetings and workshops over a [six month] period

  • Cultivated a strong team by offering guidance and direction for assistant managers and staff members


Lead and Supervise Teams

Speaking of cultivating strong teams...it's the Stage Manager's job to lead and supervise all the different teams needed to put a production together. Producers, direction and design, cast, crew...these are only some of the different teams a Stage Manager must supervise or manage. The ability to govern such a diverse set of workers is something acquired only through practice, and it is an experience very few other professionals get, even those in management careers.


Need some resume examples?

  • Lead and supervised a collaborative team of [23] actors, [six] designers, and [13] stage hands through [five] months of production development and [two] months of presentation

  • Lead and supervised a direct team of [two] assistants while supporting the larger team of [39] collaborators over [20 weeks] of production, from planning, to management, to completion


Organizational Skills

Stage Managers, sometimes also called Production Managers, are the key to keeping all the pieces together for running a show successfully. Prior to the show going up on stage, it is the Stage Manager’s job to keep production notes and prepare rehearsal schedules, be aware of attendance and scheduling conflicts, collaborate with the venue, and so much more. When designers/directors step away and performers step up on stage, it is the Stage Manager who keeps track of all of the moving parts from lighting and sound, to props and costumes, through the Prompt Book (a/k/a "THE BIBLE!"), and sometimes even to audience management.


Need some resume examples?

  • Maintained detailed notes for [five] designers and [two] directors to ensure ease of collaboration through planning and execution over a period of [six months]

  • Managed schedules for [27] performers, [five] designers, [two] directors, [11] stage hands and [two] venues, as well as designed and distributed rehearsal schedules for [three months] of project development

Independent Worker

We don’t need to tell you, a Stage Manager, the amount of work you do when no one else is in the room. But this is about designing language for a resume that matches what the non-arts industry is familiar with, right? Stage Managers arrive early to production meetings and rehearsals in order to prepare the space, and leave late after creating and distributing reports and schedules at the end of the day. Everything that goes wrong in rehearsal gets fixed outside of rehearsal, and it's not unusual for Stage Managers to burn the midnight ghost light (okay, terrible pun...we'll own it).


Need some resume examples?

  • Independently created and distributed communications and documentation for [15] stakeholders

  • Created the project schedule for [technical] needs over a [three month] period, to be verified by the technical team


Policy Implementation

As the staff member who is always looking out for the safety of others and protecting the organization, you know the policies that are required and how to help uphold them. This is true when you are supporting a theatre company and keeping up with their HR policies, or if you are working with union members and keeping up with their hours and requirements.


Need some resume examples?

  • Managed attendance policies for a collaborative team of [20] staff and [10] volunteers

  • Sustained the safety of [15] staff and [18] volunteers according to policies and standards set by organizational leadership

Flexibility (also: Quick Thinking or Adaptability)

Stage Managers have an amazing ability to think on their feet. When everything is burning or moving quickly, it takes lightning-fast thinking to prioritize, run through all the possible solutions, and pick the best one. Think of a time you had to put out a fire or two (maybe literally, maybe not...), and bring them to life on your resume. The examples below are options, but we recommend making them specific to the situations you have encountered to add some humanity and personality to the resume.


Need some resume examples?

  • Supported collaborators when executing a production to create work arounds when last minute issues arose

  • Created new processes quickly to produce an excellent project on short notice with minimal compromises


Customer Service (Staff and Client Relations)

Because Stage Managers have a hand in all the different buckets, they have the wonderful skills of both processing a lot of information, and translating it all for many different people. As a result, they are very good at communicating, problem solving and managing expectations - all key skills needed in good customer service.


Need some resume examples?

  • Developed close working relationship with rehearsal venue to allow for consistent scheduling and ease of use

  • Attended weekly production meetings to represent actor and crew concerns, and relay information back to them during rehearsals


So there we have it - Stage Managers keep things organized, keep everyone informed and happy, and make sure problems get solved. With all of these skills, plus countless others, who wouldn't want to hire a Stage Manager? No one, that's who.


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