I am a volunteer with Spot On Productions, an amateur dramatics company based in Eastleigh UK.
I am currently the Stage Manager for Spot On, which means running the stage crew, and ensuring all props and stage set is in place where and when it should be. This requires knowing the show as well as the cast, to know the cues to move set, props, lights and backdrops in and out.
Generally Spot On produce 2 full shows per year, which each run for a week. And for the stage crew this means Get In on the Sunday, where we will move all the items from the scenery supplier to the theatre and set up the back drop cloths, stage blocks, and lay out the props ready for use. The Get In starts at 9am with loading the trucks, and generally wont finish until every item is in the theatre and we have as much constructed as possible, which can mean a midnight finish.
On the Monday during the day will be finishing any construction, and perfecting the layout of props and set with a couple of run-throughs of stage changes, taking photos as we get the look the Director is wanting. Normally around 6pm the cast will start to arrive and warm up ready for a full technical rehearsal at 7.30pm.
The Tuesday is generally full dress rehearsal, which means any set issues discovered in tech rehearsal are ironed out during the day, and cue polished prior to the cast arriving ready for a warm up and run through.
Wednesday is Opening night, and the 1st public show, this is normally when we have reviewers watching, and taking note of our every mistake.
Thursday and Friday evenings also see 1 show each, with Saturday seeing 2 or 3 shows depending on demand for tickets.
Saturday is also Get Out day. after the last show, we have to get all of the set, lighting, props and backdrop cloths taken down, and back on a truck. Generally we don’t get to start this until around 10pm, and wont stop until we get everything out. This can make for a very long day starting warm ups at 9am, and there have been occasions where we don’t finish the Get Out until 2am.
My first experience of this world was helping with the Get Out on Jesus Christ Superstar, and was asked if I would help on the stage crew for the next show, which I agreed to.
Bugsy Malone was the next show, and I fell in love with stage work. I spent a lot of time during this show on the fly gallery, running cloths in and out, as well as running set and props in and out in between. This show allowed me to learn the ropes, and get to grips with timings and problem solving required for a smooth show.
Dick Whittington was the next show, a full blown pantomime, with more scene and set changes than I thought possible for a show. I was asked to step up as Assistant Stage Manager on this show, having worked closely and learned from the stage manager during Bugsy, and during the rehearsals for this show. The end result was me acting as Stage Manager for several nights of this shows run, as the Stage Manager had work commitments.
Oliver is the first show where I stepped up again to Stage Manager. Due to run from the 13th- 16th of May 2020 with Get In on the 10th May. This show was put on ice due to closure of the theatre due to the COVID-19 lockdown. This show will now run in November 2020, with the cast continuing to rehearse via Zoom.