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Meet Your Crew: Stage Manager

on July 26, 2017

Just off stage is that person with a headset, clipboard and a calm, confident look. Their gestures to the speakers are relaxed and presenters seem to heed their direction, being gently guided to the correct place.  This is your Stage Manager.The value of a seasoned stage manager is incalculable, and having one on your team for a live event production often makes the difference between a memorable and forgettable series of presentations. Here are just a few reasons having a live event manager can help your event really shine.

When to Hire a Seasoned Stage Manager & What They Do

Put simply, you may need a stage manager if your event features more than one presenter or requires a stage change – such as including a panel discussion. As the number of people entering and exiting the stage increases, the greater the chance something could go wrong.

Stage managers are marked by their ability to juggle chaos while maintaining a sense of personal calm. They are highly detail-oriented, and they will be a second set of eyes—and ears—only a few steps offstage to ensure your show runs smoothly.

However, finding the right one isn’t always easy. You have to know where to look for reliable live event support. Your live event support team will have many moving parts, but your stage manager has the task of monitoring the action feeding into the performance—while staying just steps offstage.

That’s the most essential job of a stage manager: to make sure that your “moving parts”, your presenters flow smoothly and capture every audience member’s attention. Your stage manager will spend time rehearsing every presentation with the speakers and the event producer, learning names and titles and roles to ensure a level of familiarity once the event starts. They will review the AV technology and explain not just how it works, but how it will look to the audience when they are using it correctly… little bits of coaching to ease even unspoken anxiety. 

The stage manager is also ready for the unscripted presenter, that expert on the topic at hand that might be called upon seemingly ad-hoc to answer a question or add information to the dialog.  

Constant Crew Contact

Another role that the stage manager does is similar to that of an air traffic controller for everyone involved in the live production. They can maintain the contact and control of the stage flow from the technical side with the flow of show in mind. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, the stage manager can make sure that the presenter can adapt to the problem and the presentation can go on as planned.

They also will be able to delegate necessary stage tasks to assistants via headset, and that contact ensures that there are always eyes and ears on the stage and that people, props, and cues are in place. Put simply, experienced stage managers are more like master jugglers, maintaining awareness of every independent system that catalyzes show stopping presentations and folding that into their management of the action on stage. 

Let a Professional Stage Manager Take Away Your Stress

You’ve already got plenty on your mind when you’re responsible for pulling off a great live event, and there is often a great deal riding on the success of your live presentations. You need these moments to shine, and the upfront investment makes sense, especially if you’re preparing to launch a product in front of customers and sales representatives. Put simply, you can’t afford not hiring an experienced live event production team, and a stage manager should be a central part of the on-site team.


Photo Credit: briberry Flickr via Compfight cc