Stage Management Degree: What to expect?

A Stage Manager controls everything surrounding a stage production. Getting a degree in stage management will set you up for a career in entertainment — behind the camera. Your biggest job will be to plan the rehearsals, and when it’s show time, you’ll send Actors out from behind the curtain on cue.

You’ll create a safe working environment for your Actors and stage crew, and coordinate the efforts of the Designers, Technicians, Choreographer, and Director. In short, you’ll make sure it all comes together flawlessly during performance time.


Get a bachelor’s degree in stage management from a school with a strong drama program. Stage management programs at schools with solid performing arts courses will usually allow, if not require, students to work on student productions. This will give you real experience, and like the Actors’ performances, it’s also a great resume builder.

Getting an online stage management degree isn’t as desirable because so much of what you do as a Stage Manager involves interacting with other people and functioning in real performance situations. But it’s still an option.

Next Step

Once you have your degree, try to land an internship at a theater, working as an Office Assistant, a Stage Hand, or a Production Assistant. Getting your foot in the door will be the hardest part, but once you’re in, show your worth to management by making their job easier. Show off everything you learned with your degree by assisting with sound, lighting, set, and costume changes.

Once you become a Stage Manager, you’ll also keep track of the Actors’ blocking, and just about every other technical aspect of production. On the road, you’ll take all of your experience as a Stage Manager to each new stage you encounter. You’ll work with other theaters and production companies, ensuring that the materials and people needed for the show are in place. Even after rehearsal and performance hours, you’ll be behind the scenes, handling prop expenses, going over technical notes, and even enforcing the performers’ curfews.

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