Many theater-goers come to the theater to watch a dazzling, cathartic performance. What they don’t realize is that it takes painstaking efforts from the backstage staff to make everything onstage look perfect. Do keep these things in mind so the backstage staff can also go home happy.
Keep Meetings Brief – Enough time is spent on rehearsals and preparation. If you’re tasked with post-rehearsal meetings and one-on-ones, please don’t stretch your speeches too long. Not only does this use up time that can be used for more productive endeavors, it also gives people fewer chances of getting a full night’s rest. Remember, nobody benefits from tired staff and actors.
Tackle Issues Immediately – If there’s a real problem that needs solving then deal with it before it gets worse. Absenteeism, prop or stage damage, schedule workarounds, and ticket sales can ruin a good production if left unsolved. Don’t put off upgrading your theatrical supply in Denver, meeting with latecomers, and solving every issue as soon as possible no matter how busy you all are.
Don’t Single People Out – If a problem does come from a specific person’s errors or neglect, there are appropriate responses if you want to make an example of them. To outright pick a single person to humiliate for no reason can be unethical and criminal, especially when they’re innocent. Suspension from work, demotion and firing your problem staff would be a better option as long as the cause is justifiable.
Ranting is Dangerous – Several nights of bad rehearsals, poor lighting, and sound or an overall sense of mediocrity can put everyone on edge. As a manager, it’s tempting to be in complete “god mode” as you point out every error and add your own opinions to them. Sure be angry but you don’t need to extend it into a “meeting.”
These are simple but effective suggestions that can keep the peace backstage. It doesn’t matter if you’re the assistant stage manager, producer or director; it’s best to be simple, concise, and sincere. Rule of thumb: Keep the drama onstage unless you’re presenting a comedy.