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Stage Manager

Stage managers document, monitor and oversee everything that happens throughout the rehearsal process and during a stage performance: actors' movements and lines, props, scenery movements, lighting effects and sound effects. During rehearsals, stage managers also co-ordinate schedules for the artistic and technical operation of the production.

  • Avg. Salary $45,100.00
  • Avg. Wage $23.32
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Theatre Stage Manager

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Stage Manager is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Settings Shop Foremen/women
NOC code: 5226.7

Interest in supervising stage and set construction in production studio, on stage and on location; in planning construction schedules and distribution of work; and in ensuring a safe working environment


Interest in co-ordinating information to assess construction time requirements, estimate costs of building materials and to prepare construction drawings and instructions for assembling of sets


Interest in ensuring that equipment and tools are in proper working condition and in maintaining a hazard-free workplace

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Oct 21, 2014

From the beginning to the end of a theatre production, stage managers co-ordinate much of what the audience sees on stage. In general, they:

  • do script analyses that outline scenes, numbers of characters and who plays them, props required, costume changes, scene changes and technical requirements
  • discuss production needs with directors, production managers and designers before rehearsals start
  • co-ordinate with directors to develop and implement schedules
  • contact actors to tell them when and where to report for rehearsals
  • attend rehearsals to document the artistic process and co-ordinate daily activities
  • communicate daily with technical departments and management regarding rehearsal progress and requirements
  • set up and maintain the callboard (the central means of communication throughout the rehearsal process and performance stages of production)
  • act as a liaison between actors and theatre management together with an Actors' Equity deputy (an elected member of the acting company).

During rehearsals, stage managers:

  • ensure that regulations for breaks and overtime are observed and all safety regulations are strictly enforced
  • prepare prompt books (scripts) or written records of actors' cues, blocking, placement of props, and sound and lighting cues
  • track costumes and sets (both stage and fly pieces)
  • co-ordinate with directors, designers, actors and technicians.

On opening nights, directors hand over shows to stage managers. After that, stage managers are completely responsible for productions and maintaining the artistic and technical intentions of the directors and designers.

During performances, stage managers:

  • ensure the cast and crew and the physical aspects of the production are ready
  • cue light, stage and sound technicians as well as any other special effects personnel
  • keep theatre staff informed about the status of the production
  • may call rehearsals during long performance runs.

In amateur or community theatre groups and some smaller professional theatres, stage managers also may help build and paint sets, operate lighting or audio during performances or be responsible for finding people to help "strike" the set and store lights, sets, costumes and props. In larger theatres, stage managers usually have assistants.

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Stage managers work long, irregular hours and must be prepared to work through weekends and holidays. Most productions are held during the evenings with rehearsals during the day. If a stage production is touring, the stage manager is expected to travel with the show.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Stage managers must be able to:

  • work under pressure (which builds toward opening night) and meet deadlines
  • support and sometimes push others to keep to the production schedule
  • adapt to the needs and sometimes difficult temperaments of actors
  • remain calm, focused, efficient and diplomatic at all times
  • communicate clearly, orally and in writing
  • work on several projects simultaneously
  • organize their own work and that of others.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, taking charge and controlling situations and negotiating with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Stage management requires people skills and technical skills. The technical aspects can be learned by working in the theatre or through formal training. Many stage managers take a related post-secondary education program then participate in an apprenticeship program administered by Actors' Equity."

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grant MacEwan University

Rosebud School of The Arts - Rosebud

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

During the summer months, the Banff Centre for the Arts offers Work Study programs for people who have post-secondary education in Theatre Production. The Centre also offers Theatre Production Residencies in stage management. Applicants must submit a resumé of related training and experience, a statement of learning objectives and two references and complete an interview.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Stage managers work for:

  • theatre companies
  • dance and opera companies
  • touring music events (concerts) and special events
  • symphony orchestras
  • television and radio stations and networks.

They may be hired for the run of one production or a season and often accompany touring companies. Even large theatres may not hire stage managers year round.

Experienced stage managers may move into other positions in film and television production, arts administration, concert production or special event stage management (for example, Olympic events, festivals).

Stage managers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5226: Other Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts. In Alberta, 90% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Since stage managers usually are hired on contract, their annual incomes vary considerably from one person to another and may vary from one year to another.

Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts
NOC code: 5226

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $14.42 $31.19 $20.52 $18.70
Overall $17.00 $33.78 $23.32 $21.63
Top $18.50 $39.63 $27.82 $27.54

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


2015 Vacancy Rate

Related High School Subjects
  • Fine Arts
    • Drama
  • English Language Arts
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Canadian Actors' Equity Association (CAEA) website:

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE) District 12 website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jan 14, 2013. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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