Sarah Stewart stage manager

Paperwork

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The production paperwork provided below will provide insight into my stage management process from auditions to performances, and illustrate the various templates I use depending on specific requirements of a production. Included are samples of Scene Breakdowns, Audition Forms, Prop Lists, Rehearsal Schedules, Rehearsal Reports, Scene Changes, Line Notes, Checklists, and Performance Reports.

Scene Breakdowns

When first assigned a production, the first thing I do is read through the script, followed by a second read with a fine tooth comb and do a scene breakdown. I have developed an Excel spreadsheet with one page as a French scene breakdown designated by letters, then another sheet with character/actor names and X in the box under each letter.

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Audition Forms

I have a standard audition form that I like to use, and make any changes based on the nature or type of show it is (musical, touring, selection of one acts). Prior to auditions I email it out to all the actors asking them to make sure to bring it with them on the audition date.

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Prop Lists

One of the steps that I take as part of pre-production is compiling a preliminary props list. I circle all the props that are mentioned throughout the text in the lines and stage directions. Once completed, I make an excel spreadsheet and identify scene, actor/character that uses it, prop, and any notes with it. I  also include columns for whether the prop could be pulled based on what I know I've seen, can be made, or bought.

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Rehearsal Schedules

As the stage manager, when it comes to rehearsal schedules, it has been my job to wait for the director to send me the preliminary rehearsal schedule which is usually just the days and times, and usually tentative, and then I re-format it either into list or calendar form, then email it to all the actors and designers involved. If the schedule changes, I email out a revised weekly schedule.

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Rehearsal Reports

In rehearsals, my primary jobs are to keep track of the time so that we stay on track, as well as take down the blocking notes. However, there are always moments that the director will ask me to make a note for him with something that needs to be addressed or answered by designers. I print out my rehearsal report templates on lined paper at the beginning of a rehearsal week so things are organized, or I fill in the template on my iPad so that I can email it out at the end of rehearsal directly from my iPad as a PDF file to everyone on the production and design staff.

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Scene Changes

When doing a scene change form, I usually wait until the time in the rehearsal process when we begin to incorporate transitions into the rehearsal process. For most of the shows I have done in college, the actors have been moving the scenery instead of the assistant stage managers. It is key to always include when the shift is, what it is (including directional notes), and who is doing the change. These are posted backstage during the run of the show and given to everyone involved in making the transitions happen

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Line Notes

As all stage managers know, doing line notes for actors once they are off-book is one of the most gueling parts of the job. When I first started as an Assistant Stage Manager, I started using a template I was given, and from there I developed some of my own for furture stage managers to make things easier. One can either make markings in their scripts and then transcribe it on the sheets or type them up later, or just fill out the forms as one goes along.

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Checklists

Once Dry Tech and Q2Q are completed and dress rehearsals have begun, I take it upon myself to start making a list of all the things that need to be completed as part of pre show and intermission. These duties include sound/light checks, prop setting, scenery, and anything else that has to happen for the show to run smoothly. The more complicated a show is, the more extensive the checklists need to be.

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Performance Reports

Once a production has opened, in addition to calling the show, it is important for a stage manager to document start and end times and intermission, and anything that happens during the show such as missed cues, broken props, or injuries. This way the rest of the production team is aware of anything that needs to be done in preparation for the next performance.

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