It’s no secret that stage managers quite literally run the show in the theatre world—and behind every great stage manager is an amazing assistant stage manager. However, whether you’re a rookie or veteran assistant stage manager, it can be tough to take on this job. Here are a few tips that can make it easier for you and everyone else in the cast and crew:
1. Always Get to Rehearsal Early
This can be difficult when you have a crazy schedule, but it’s very important to show up early to rehearsals. You need time to get everything set up and ready so that you’re not in a rush when everyone else gets there. If you forget something or feel unprepared, you’ll feel stressed, and that will put more stress on your stage manager run crew and cast.
2. Teach Your Crew to Work Together
While you may not be able to get your crew to love each other, you can get them to work well together by arming them with all the knowledge they need to get through the show successfully. Before each show, go to each crew member and make sure they know their cues, scene changes and all other duties. Ensure everyone has their cue sheets and always have an extra one on hand, to be safe—someone will inevitably forget theirs.
You should also have everyone run their scene changes before the show starts and keep a checklist for yourself so you know you’ve accomplished all your tasks. Your stage manager can also weigh in on whether there’s anything else that needs to be taken care of.
3. Stay Organized
It’s very important to stay organized and keep up with all rehearsal and show reports. You don’t have to print them out the way that a stage manager does, but it’s a good practice to keep them in a file on your computer in case your stage manager forgets one and you need to help him or her out. You should also keep an eye on the stage manager kit to make sure everything is fully stocked and in its place. It’s a nice way to stay organized and keep from running out of anything you might need.
4. Bring Snacks
You don’t have to do this all the time, but it can help the cast and crew’s morale if you bring in snacks such as fruit, cookies or candy every once in a while. Technicians especially tend to skip meals during tech week, so it helps to bring in something small for them. And even if you don’t bring enough for everyone, be sure to always have a snack in your bag in case of an emergency.
Being on a show crow can be stressful, but if you do these small things, it will help take some of the stress off of you and the rest of your crew.