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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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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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