Assist with the nuts and bolts of putting on a stage production.
What does an Assistant Stage Manager do?
An Assistant Stage Manager works backstage, communicating with the cast and crew of a stage production in order to make the show better. In “The Phantom of the Opera,” a masked man lives in the cellars beneath the stage in the opera house, where he teaches a young girl to sing. In a manner of speaking, that’s you when you’re an Assistant Stage Manager—without the deformed face, of course.
Like Stage Managers, whom you assist, you’re basically a mouthpiece for Theater Directors: You sit beside them during rehearsals and keep track of the directions they give Actors and crewmembers about everything from blocking to costumes to lighting to sound to scenery. Then, you help the Stage Manager communicate those notes and make sure they’re executed upon during subsequent rehearsals and performances.
Like other assistants, such as Executive Assistants, a lot of your duties as an Assistant Stage Manager are administrative in nature. You take messages, for example, run errands and keep track of schedules. Ultimately, though, the reason an Assistant Stage Manager exists is to fill in for the Stage Manager in her absence, and to act as a sort of apprentice, learning the role of Stage Manager with the goal of eventually becoming one.
So, your days aren’t just spent “assisting.” They’re also spent learning as you shadow the Stage Manager and help her perform her duties, which might range from giving sound and lighting cues to assisting backstage with costume and scenery changes. The Stage Manager’s right-hand man, you do whatever needs doing. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about making sure the performance goes smoothly.