04 Apr 2018

How to go from a Good Stage Manager to a GREAT Stage Manager

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of person you want to be as a stage manager? What characteristics you have that could make you stand out, be successful and respected by the entire production team. In other words - how can you be the whole package and become GREAT?

At AFTT, you learn the skills that need to be mastered to be a good stage manager; exceptional organisation skills, technical knowledge, a keen eye for detail and insane problem solving skills.

However, there are a number of traits that combine with your learned knowledge that can turn a budding stage manager into an industry legend. As all your lecturers will tell you, the best stage managers will be more than book smart; they will be in touch with the crew and the undercover hero in any production.

Here are the top 5 soft-skills that can also be mastered at AFTT to go from a good stage manager to a GREAT stage manager:


All the lecturers at AFTT have worked with some of the best industry figures out there. If you ask any of them who the best people were to work with, you can almost guarantee their favourites will be the ones who have been generous. Be generous with your time with others, be generous with your smile, be generous with your laugh and most importantly, be generous with your patience. In what can be a chaotic environment, generosity is golden, particularly from the stage manager. This will not only make life in the theatre much easier, but it will see people gravitate towards you and as we learn at AFTT, networking is a vital key to success!!


Obviously working in the industry that you love on a production that you love, breeds passion into your blood. The great stage managers can find passion in their work; passion for the show itself; passion in the craft of production; putting your trained skills to work and be passionate about your contribution in building somebody else’s dream., that becomes your own. Great stage managers drive projects through passion and make sure that the fire burns within everyone else in the production.


When something doesn’t work, what does a great stage manager do? Try something else. If that doesn’t work? Try something else. As you will realise during your course, persistence is different to problem solving. It is a ‘never say die’ attitude. The best stage managers will never stop trying until eventually they find a way to make it work. Great stage managers will not be the ones to throw in the towel or get frustrated when something doesn’t go as planned. They will find the logical next step and try again.


Integrity can be split into two separate traits: Doing what you say you’re going to do and doing what you think is right. A stage manager is one of the busiest people on a live production, from start to finish. However, the best ones will always find time to do what they said they will do. At AFTT, we teach our students valuable time management skills throughout the course. However, integrity comes from both managing your time and actually completing the tasks that you said you would complete, regardless how big or insignificant that task seems. And as for doing what you think is right, it is your job as a stage manager to stand up when something doesn’t feel right, not only to protect the production, but to protect the entire cast and crew that look up to you.

Care and Respect

Care and respect can take form in the simplest of ways; it can be putting your phone away while someone is talking to you, it can be taking two minutes to sweep the rehearsal floor, it can be maintaining eye contact while a crew member comes to you with a problem. Care and respect to yourself and the people around you is the most effective way of making everyone’s day (including your own) much more enjoyable and gives the project the biggest chance of success.

To learn more about studying towards a career in Stage Management, click here.