Stage Manager

Job Description:

Stage managers make sure the sets, equipment and props are ready for the opening of a performance.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • make sure crew and performers are in the right place at the right time
  • organise rehearsals
  • work with staff to plan wardrobe, set design, scene changes, sound and lighting
  • manage props and dress the set
  • liaise with theatre managers and front-of-house staff
  • supervise the ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ – the times when sets and equipment are set up and taken down
  • give cues for the performers to go on stage
  • cue sound and lighting effects


You’ll need:

  • business management skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • leadership skills
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition/drive)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a stage manager, you don’t necessarily need specific subjects, but you should focus on developing relevant skills and gaining experience. However, having a well-rounded education is important for this role. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Drama or Performing Arts: Courses related to drama and performing arts can provide you with a foundational understanding of theatre and performance.
  2. English: Good communication and writing skills are essential for stage managers to create clear reports, notes, and instructions.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for budgeting and scheduling tasks in theater productions.
  4. Art or Design and Technology: These subjects can be useful for understanding set design, props, and costume design, which are aspects of stage management.
  5. Business Studies: Knowledge of business and organizational skills can be valuable for coordinating and managing the logistical aspects of productions.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in stage management, or a related subject like:

  • performing arts production
  • theatre practice
  • technical theatre

You’ll often need practical backstage experience to apply for a course. You can get relevant experience from:

  • student, amateur or community theatre
  • working as a casual stagehand in local theatre venues


You could do a college course. In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Diploma in Production Arts
  • Diploma in Technical and Production Practice for the Creative Industries

The skills you’ll learn on these courses could help when you look for a trainee assistant manager job with a stage or production company.


You may be able to do a creative industries production management degree apprenticeship.

You’ll usually need experience in production management or production accounting to do this.


You may be able to move into stage management after training as an actor. You could also work your way up if you have several years’ experience as a backstage theatre technician.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 39-41 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays away from home.

You could work in a theatre, at a TV studio or at a film studio. Your working environment may be noisy, physically demanding and you’ll travel often.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could manage a theatre company, become a theatre producer, or move into TV or film production.

You could run your own business providing services to theatres like props or lighting design, or become a theatre consultant.