Stage Managers Rule. Do we tell them that enough?

The Importance of “A Job Well Done”

Everyone likes to be recognized in some form, and there is a strong correlation between recognition for a job well done and increased job satisfaction.

Earlier this week, we ran across an interesting dissertation by Rebecca N. Bialopotocki from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln about the correlation between recognition and job satisfaction. This got us thinking about managers in theatre and live events and the recognition they receive.

The live event industry presents an interesting situation in that actors, directors, and designers are consistently recognized by audiences, reviewers, and media while other roles like Stage Managers, Production Managers, and support staff remain in the shadows. This is not an accident. Part of their job is to stay out of sight, preserving the magic of our trade.

A Stage Manager’s time to be recognized is not in during the performance. However, for the long term health of their jobs and this industry, it is important that they are sufficiently recognized for their value and contributions. In a 2011 survey of 614 U.S. Stage Managers conducted by the University of Iowa, approximately 24 left their professional career as a Stage Manager because they had hit retirement age. Everyone else stopped stage managing for a variety of other reasons including long hours, high stress, and lack of fulfillment.

If job recognition increases job satisfaction and we work in an industry where managers are purposefully kept in the shadows, how do we make sure these folks are still recognized for the incredible jobs that they do?

Recognition in Live Events

What are the various ways that live event managers are recognized?

Here are some awards for stage managers that we found:

Are there others we missed?

The show program, Playbill, is a common standard for crediting theatre professionals on a show by show basis, but there is little standardized recognition in the digital world. The internet provides us a great platform to publicly recognize those that can’t be recognized during the performance. However, out of 19 Off-broadway show websites that we looked at only 6 of them listed the Stage Manager.

As we move farther into a digital world is this recognition adequate or necessary?

Many stage managers feel that the validation and recognition they get from their casts and crews is enough.

Regardless, live event managers are vital to the success of our industry, and in the end, everyone needs recognition.

Check out #stagemanager #shoutout on Twitter and please join in. We’ve been posting openings and closings of shows along with the stage managers involved.

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