Positions in Stage Management: Secure a Role in Theater With a 30-Hour Work Week!

In theater, stage managers are key to a successful show. 

This article explores securing a stage management role with a 30-hour work week, offering a balanced career in the arts. 


Join us as we uncover opportunities, salary insights, and valuable tips for aspiring stage managers seeking this rewarding balance.

The Role of a Stage Manager

The role of a stage manager is pivotal in theater, ensuring seamless productions and maintaining order behind the scenes. Key responsibilities include:

  • Production Coordination: Overseeing logistics, ensuring everyone's in place.
  • Rehearsal Management: Organizing and running rehearsals, syncing actors and tech.
  • Cue Calling: Calling cues for lighting, sound, and scene changes.
  • Communication Hub: Relaying info between the director, designers, and the team.
  • Problem Solving: Quick thinking to resolve issues during shows.
  • Documentation: Maintaining production records and scripts.
  • Safety: Ensuring cast and crew safety by managing emergencies.
  • Schedule Adherence: Keeping the production on time.
  • Post-Show Responsibilities: Handling strike and archiving materials.
  • Adaptability: Strong leadership and organizational skills are essential.

Positions in Stage Management

Stage management encompasses various roles vital to the success of any theatrical production. 


Here's an overview of critical positions within the stage management team:

  • Production Stage Manager (PSM): The head stage manager is responsible for the overall coordination and execution of the production.
  • Assistant Stage Manager (ASM): Supports the PSM, assists with rehearsals, and manages specific aspects of the production.
  • Stage Manager (SM): Manages and coordinates backstage during performances, focusing on cues and timing.
  • Deputy Stage Manager (DSM): Assists the PSM, especially during technical rehearsals, ensuring all cues are executed accurately.
  • Production Assistant (PA): Provides general assistance to the stage management team and helps with various tasks as needed.
  • Props Master: Manages and maintains all props used in the production, working closely with the stage management team.
  • Wardrobe Supervisor: Oversees costume changes, ensuring actors are ready for their cues.
  • Sound Engineer: Manages sound cues and ensures the proper functioning of audio equipment during performances.
  • Lighting Operator: Operates lighting cues during the show, following the cues provided by the stage manager.
  • Run Crew: Consists of various backstage roles, such as stagehands, responsible for scene changes and set adjustments during performances.

Positions in Stage Management: Secure a Role in Theater With a 30-Hour Work Week!

The 30-Hour Work Week in Theater

In the theater industry, a 30-hour work week provides a more balanced work-life dynamic for professionals. It offers:

  • Balance: A 30-hour week lets theater practitioners enjoy their personal lives while pursuing their passion.
  • Burnout: It mitigates the risk of burnout, improving mental and physical well-being.
  • Flexibility: It adapts to project-based schedules, allowing focused work during intense periods.
  • Productivity: Shorter hours boost productivity and creativity, resulting in better performance.
  • Recruitment: Attracts and retains talent by offering a better work-life balance.
  • Challenges: Implementing it requires careful planning and efficient use of available hours.
  • Variation: Feasibility depends on the specific theater role and production timeline.
  • Negotiation: It may involve discussions with theater companies, unions, and contracts for clear agreements.

A 30-hour work week is a positive step toward creating a sustainable and fulfilling environment for theater professionals.

Salary Range for Stage Management Positions

Understanding stage management salaries is crucial for aspiring theater professionals. Here's an overview:

  • Production Stage Manager (PSM): Salaries range from $40,000 to $80,000 yearly, based on experience, location, and production scale.
  • Assistant Stage Manager (ASM): Typically earns $30,000 to $60,000 annually, influenced by production type and location.
  • Stage Manager (SM): Expect $35,000 to $70,000 yearly, dependent on experience, location, and production complexity.
  • Deputy Stage Manager (DSM): Earns around $40,000 to $75,000 annually, with variations based on production size and location.
  • Production Assistant (PA): Generally makes $25,000 to $45,000 annually, varying by theater company and region.
  • Props Master: Typically ranges from $35,000 to $60,000 yearly, based on experience and production scale.
  • Wardrobe Supervisor: Salaries range from $30,000 to $55,000 annually, depending on the theater company and location.
  • Sound Engineer: Expect about $35,000 to $65,000 yearly, influenced by experience, location, and production type.
  • Lighting Operator: Typically earns $30,000 to $50,000 annually, varying with experience and production size.
  • Run Crew: Generally makes $25,000 to $45,000 yearly, influenced by the theater company and specific role.

How to Secure a Role with a 30-hour Work Week

To secure a 30-hour work week in theater, follow these steps:

  • Skill Development: Improve your stage management skills, focusing on organization, communication, and problem-solving.
  • Networking: Connect with theater professionals by attending events and joining industry groups.
  • Resume Enhancement: Craft a resume emphasizing relevant experience, certifications, and skills.
  • Portfolio Building: Create a portfolio showcasing successful projects.
  • Research Theater Companies: Target companies that offer flexible schedules.
  • Online Platforms: Use job boards and social media to find relevant listings.
  • Customized Applications: Tailor your applications and interviews for reduced-hour positions.
  • Flexibility: Consider part-time or contract roles to start.
  • Negotiation: Express your preference for a 30-hour work week during job discussions.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay updated on industry trends to remain competitive.

Negotiating a 30-hour Work Week

Negotiating reduced hours with your employer for a better work-life balance requires careful consideration. Here are some concise tips to guide you:

  • Highlight Your Value: Emphasize your contributions and how reduced hours won't affect productivity.
  • Know Company Policies: Understand your workplace's flexible work policies and find examples of successful arrangements.
  • Timing Matters: Choose the right moment during reviews or discussions about your future role.
  • Build a Strong Case: Explain the benefits of reduced hours for you and the company.
  • Be Flexible: Offer compromises, like a trial period or adjusted responsibilities.
  • Prepare for Questions: Anticipate concerns and have answers ready.
  • Seek Support: Involve HR or a supportive manager if needed.
  • Trial Period: Suggest a temporary trial with reduced hours.
  • Professional Approach: Maintain professionalism throughout the negotiation.
  • Follow-up: Afterward, ensure the arrangement works well and promptly addresses issues.

Where to Apply for Positions in Stage Management

To help you find the right opportunities, we've compiled seven effective avenues for job hunting.

  • Online Job Boards: Explore sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and SimplyHired to find stage management positions, filtering by location and job type.
  • Theater Company Websites: Check theater sites for job openings, often listed in their careers or opportunities sections.
  • Theater-Specific Job Portals: Visit specialized theater job sites like Playbill, Backstage, and Theatre Communications Group (TCG).
  • Industry Associations: Join theater associations like SMA or USITT for job listings and networking.
  • Networking: Attend theater events, workshops, and conferences to connect with professionals for job referrals.
  • University Job Boards: Look for positions on your school's job boards.
  • Local Arts Councils and Organizations: Check with arts councils and theater groups for job listings and local connections.

Summing It Up

In conclusion, finding a stage management role in theater can be fulfilling. 

Utilize online job boards, theater websites, specialized portals, industry associations, networking, university job boards, and local arts councils to navigate your path. 

Tailor your approach to your goals, emphasizing networking and persistence in pursuing a theater career.

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