In the world of theater, a stage manager is almost more important than a director. Stage managers provide support to directors, designers, stage crews, technicians and actors as they all collaborate to put on a theatrical production. Being a stage manager allows you to be completely involved in each phase of a production without necessarily being in charge. If you are considering a career in stage management, there are many schools that can help you on your way.
The College of Fine Arts at Boston University offers a stage management program with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree The first two years of the stage management program include study of basic design work, performance and production. Students can choose coursework in areas such as principles of design, acting and theater history. In the last two years of the program, students are involved in advanced classes in design, performance, and production, as well as given opportunities to take courses in directing and general arts management. Prospective stage management students at Boston University must complete a core curriculum in design and production before being admitted to the program.
Students can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in stage management through the Theatre School at DePaul University. This four-year program provides training in management, design and technical skills while teaching students how to collaborate with other key players in production such as directors, actors and designers. Along with theater training courses, stage management students at DePaul are required to complete 52 credit hours in the school's liberal studies program, taking courses in writing, technological literacy, scientific inquiry and history. Upon completion, students participate in a graduate showcase which allows them to exhibit their skill portfolio to directors, alumni, and members of the film, theater, and television industries in Chicago.
University of North Carolina School of the Arts
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts offers an undergraduate program in stage management through its School of Design and Production. Students in this program are engaged in a comprehensive curriculum that includes instruction in technical and constructional elements of lighting, scenery and costuming, as well as in choreography, directing and musical score reading. UNCSA's stage management program specifically addresses the role of the stage manager as an artist who is responsible for upholiding the standards of the director and choreographer throughout the production process. During the program, students are given opportunities to schedule, cue and run rehearsals and performances put on by the college.
Students interested in earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in stage management should consider attending the School of the Arts at Columbia University. This program takes a contemporary approach to stage management, using a curriculum based on the concepts of stage managers being essential to all parts of production. Students are required to take classes in dramatic literature and all aspects of theater practice such as lighting, design and costuming. There is a major focus on training students in leadership and management techniques. Students in the MFA program are given hands-on learning opportunities as they are required to participate in department productions and complete a minimum of two internships in professional theater.