Theatres around the UK will come together to honour backstage staff next week as part of the industry’s first ever Stage Management Day.
The day, on October 10, has been organised by the Stage Management Association to recognise and celebrate the work stage managers do. It is hoped the day will become an annual event in the theatre industry’s calendar.
For this year’s Stage Management Day, theatres are planning their own events – including inviting stage managers to join a show’s curtain call, putting slips into programmes to highlight crew working behind the scenes and allowing stage managers to take control of a show’s social media site for the day.
Cast members are also being encouraged to bake cakes for stage managers or help with the set up of a show “to get an idea of what they do”.
SMA executive director Andy Rowley explained: “We have felt for a while that there ought to be some way of recognising the work backstage people do, and particularly what stage managers do.”
He added: “We felt that at a time when the My Theatre Matters! campaign is going strong, and theatre to some extent is feeling the pinch, it was great in some way to promote everything theatres do, and in the process recognise the work that stage managers do.”
Rowley explained that October 10 had been chosen to reflect the fact the association regards stage managers as “the tops – 10 out of 10”.
As part of this year’s day, the cast of West End musical Once will serenade the production’s stage managers, while Spamalot will include slips in its programmes. The musical will also be using a “Spam cam” to film stage managers as they shop for props.
Meanwhile, the Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School are taking part by inviting people to meet stage managers from the south west, as well as arranging backstage tours of the theatre.