Skip to the main content
Career Information Hotline

Toll Free 1-800-661-3753

Edmonton 780-422-4266

Guest Account Sign In Sign Up

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 $40,141.00
  • Avg. Wage $23.32
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Theatre Stage Manager

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Settings Shop Foremen/women (5226.7) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Technical and Coordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts (F126) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts (5226) 
Interest Codes
The Stage Manager is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Settings Shop Foremen/women

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.

Certification Requirements
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

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.

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.

According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts occupational group earned on average from $20.42 to $27.24 an hour. The overall average was $23.32 an hour. For more information, see the Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts wage profile.

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.

Was this page useful?