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Performing arts

Stage manager

Stage managers make sure the sets, equipment and props are ready for the opening of a performance.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £48,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Stage manager jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • make sure crew and performers are in the right place at the right time
  • organise rehearsals
  • work with staff to plan wardrobe, set design, scene changes, sound and lighting
  • manage props and dress the set
  • liaise with theatre managers and front-of-house staff
  • supervise the 'get in' and ‘get out’ – the times when sets and equipment are set up and taken down
  • give cues for the performers to go on stage
  • cue sound and lighting effects

Working environment

You could work in a theatre, at a TV studio or at a film studio.

Your working environment may be noisy, physically demanding and you'll travel often.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in stage management, or a related subject like:

  • performing arts production
  • theatre practice
  • technical theatre

You can search for approved courses through the Stage Management Association and the Federation of Drama Schools.

You'll often need practical backstage experience to apply for a course. You can get relevant experience from:student, amateur or community theatre; working as a casual stagehand in local theatre venues

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could do a college course, for example:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Production Arts
  • Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical and Production Practice for the Creative Industries

The skills you'll learn on these courses could help when you look for a trainee assistant manager job with a stage or production company.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course
For more information

You may be able to do a creative industries production management degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need experience in production management or production accounting to do this.

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information

You may be able to move into stage management after training as an actor. You could also work your way up if you have several years' experience as a backstage theatre technician.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Stage Management Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a stage manager from the Stage Management Association.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Get Into Theatre and Discover Creative Careers.

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With experience, you could manage a theatre company, become a theatre producer, or move into TV or film production.

You could run your own business providing services to theatres like props or lighting design, or become a theatre consultant.

You can find out more about becoming a stage manager from the Stage Management Association and Creative Choices.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • business management skills
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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