Advertising & Arts

Stage Manager

Stage managers coordinate all aspects of the staging of a live performance, to ensure the performance is a success.

  • Entry-level education

    VET qualification

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Stage Manager do?

Stage managers coordinate all aspects of the staging of a live performance, to ensure the performance is a success.


Work activities

As a stage manager, you would:

  • schedule and organise rehearsals
  • work with the director, lighting personnel and other team members to plan set design, sound and lighting, and set and wardrobe changes
  • manage the dressing of sets and and placement of props
  • give cues to performers and special effects crew
  • run the backstage and onstage areas during performances
  • manage the schedule to allow time for putting up and taking down sets
  • control the props and set budget.

Key skills and interests

To become a stage manager, you would need:

  • to enjoy live performance
  • excellent organisation and time management skills
  • good problem solving abilities
  • physical stamina
  • an ability to manage people from actors through to stagehands
  • patience.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a stage manager you would work long hours. You would be there for rehearsals, performances and any meetings required. You would work late nights, weekends and holidays. Experienced stage managers often work on a freelance or contract basis.


You may tour with a show or work as the manager at one venue. Conditions backstage can be hot or dark. You may also work outdoors, setting up and managing stages for live open-air performances.


How to become an Stage Manager?

Entry Level Education

A VET qualification in theatre arts, live production and technical services or live production and management services is generally required to work as a stage manager.

Otherwise you may complete a degree in stage management, theatre, drama, technical production or performance, in addition to having extensive industry experience. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) conduct interviews each year, in most states and territories for their courses. Contact NIDA ( or WAAPA ( for further information.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of stage managers is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.

In particular, stage managers who work in small- and medium-sized theatres may see even slower job growth because many of those theatres have difficulty finding funding.


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