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How competitive is the job market among Stage Managers?

I want to go to school to be a stage manager, but I'm wanting to know how hard it is to get a job after graduating #theatre #musical-theatre #stage-management #performing-arts #acting

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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Raegan,

How Competitive is the Job Market Among Stage Managers?

Becoming a stage manager in the performing arts industry can be a rewarding career path for those passionate about theater and live productions. However, like many creative professions, the job market for stage managers can be competitive. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the competitiveness of the job market for stage managers:

1. Demand for Stage Managers: The demand for stage managers can vary depending on various factors such as the size of the theater industry in a particular region, the number of productions being staged, and the overall economic conditions affecting the performing arts sector. Larger cities with vibrant theater scenes may offer more opportunities for stage managers compared to smaller towns or regions with limited theatrical activities.

2. Education and Experience: Having a solid educational background in theater production, stage management, or related fields can enhance your chances of securing a job as a stage manager. Many employers prefer candidates with formal training and relevant experience in managing theatrical productions. Internships, apprenticeships, and hands-on experience working on various productions can also make you more competitive in the job market.

3. Networking and Industry Connections: Building a strong network within the theater community can be crucial for finding job opportunities as a stage manager. Attending industry events, connecting with professionals in the field, and actively participating in theatrical productions can help you establish valuable contacts that may lead to job openings.

4. Flexibility and Versatility: Stage managers who are versatile, adaptable, and willing to work on different types of productions (e.g., plays, musicals, operas) may have an edge in a competitive job market. Being able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, work under pressure, and collaborate effectively with diverse teams are essential skills for success in this role.

5. Geographic Location: The competitiveness of the job market for stage managers can also vary based on where you are located. Urban areas with thriving arts scenes tend to have more opportunities for employment in theater production compared to rural areas or regions with limited cultural resources.

In conclusion, while the job market for stage managers can be competitive due to factors such as demand fluctuations, educational requirements, networking importance, versatility needs, and geographic considerations; individuals who are dedicated, well-prepared, and proactive in seeking out opportunities can increase their chances of success in this dynamic field.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

The Stage Jobs & Opportunities Section: The Stage is a reputable source that provides comprehensive information on jobs and opportunities within the performing arts industry, including listings for stage management positions.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook: The BLS OOH offers valuable insights into the job outlook and employment trends for various occupations, including information on theater production roles like stage managers.

Professional Organizations like The Stage Management Association (SMA): Professional organizations such as SMA often provide resources, networking opportunities, and industry insights that can help aspiring stage managers navigate the competitive job market effectively.

These sources were instrumental in providing accurate and up-to-date information on the competitiveness of the job market among stage managers.

GOD BLESS YOU!
JC.
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Carolyn’s Answer

HI Raegan -

Abigail has added some great tips and concrete next steps, and I definitely agree with her points.

However I wanted to add some additional color on things to look at and think about as you consider a career in theater production and stage management. I was a musical theater actress myself - but eventually decided to leave the theater for a career in business.

You specifically asked about how hard it is to find a job after graduating. While I would agree that its definitely easier to find a job backstage than on stage -- I'd recommend that you give some thought to the location and lifestyle required by a career in any aspect of the theater. Your job prospects will naturally be greater in metropolitan areas where there are multiple theater companies and venues - are you interested in relocating for work? In addition - some job opportunities are with touring companies which require you to be on the road 3-6 months at a time. How comfortable are you with this type of travel? Lastly - while experienced and professional stage managers are always in demand, your work may be gig based - eg, you'd be employed on a short term contract for a specific show or tour, and you won't necessarily have visibility into your next job. This can make it more challenging (though of course not impossible!) to plan your life long term - things like having a family, buying a house, etc.

Working in the theater can be professionally and creatively rewarding -- and great fun too -- but its valuable to think realistically about what this career choice means for you in the future!

Lastly -- stage managers in Broadway theaters and many large touring companies are represented by the Actors Equity Association (also called AEA or Equity). There's also a dedicated union for stage managers called the Stage Managers Association (https://www.stagemanagers.org/). Both the AEA and SMA websites provide information on job postings, career advice, and other relevant information. I'd recommend checking them out if you haven't done so already.

Hope that helps and best of luck!

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Abigail’s Answer

Because everyone wants to be ON stage, technical jobs in theatre (especially if you have any experience or a degree) is a whole lot easier to find. It's even better once you have built a reputation for excellence- then people will find you rather you having to look for jobs. Word of mouth about your work is your best asset here.


Prior to going to school, find ways to get involved with community theatre. Try to do everything, from onstage to off, so you can build skills and know what the other person's shoes feel like. This will also help you to be sure you actually want to be a professional stage manager. Once you're in school, make sure to take your summers and intern with professional companies. The people you meet and the recommendations they write for you are what will turn into the jobs down the road. Good luck!


https://getacceptd.com/advice-road-five-tips-professional-stage-manager/

Abigail recommends the following next steps:

Volunteer with community theatre before you go away to college
Do internships with professional theatres during your summers while at school (these will turn into job offers afterwards)
Do your best no matter what job you're given, even if you don't think it IS your job to do it.
Be willing to learn and never burn a bridge with your fellow actors or production team. They will be your recommendations and your first alert that a great job is coming available.
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