Q&A – With Kirsten Marr, Stage Manager at Chicago Sydney.
Backstage News had the opportunity to invite Kirsten Marr, the stage manager at Chicago Sydney at the Capitol Theatre to our Q&A Session.
1. Your education background to do this job
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Production from the University of Ballarat. The rest of my education in the role of Stage Manager has been through the jobs I have had as ASM, Child Chaperone and Stage Manager.
2. What is the best part of being part of the Chicago Technical team
The Chicago crew is made up of a smaller amount of people than the usual crew teams of other musicals. I have been enjoying the team spirit of all the different departments combined.
Another great thing about the Technical Team is it is made up of people who
are extremely skilled at their expertise and are really good people to work with.
3. If our readers are keen to do what you do, what would be your advice?
Communication problem solving and information are key elements to Stage Management as well as the coordination and scheduling the days in the rehearsal room and the theatre. The calling of a show is apart of this communication and coordination of each show to assist in bringing all the technical and creative elements together in the cueing of the show.
With Chicago, we have 17 members of the band, 23 cast members and 26 people backstage, including creative team, management and the crew. Each department and group of people require different things and coordination from the stage management team, including scheduling information, the show calls needs and health and safety requirements.
4. How long does it take to bump in the show at the Capitol Theatre?
The Stage Management/props bump in takes about a day and a half before the cast come into the theatre.
On Chicago, the Stage Management team also manage the props. We needed to set the props backstage ready for the first technical rehearsal with the cast onstage.
Stage Management also places signage around the theatre to help people find where things are. The dressing room doors get name cards on them and the major noticeboards are set up with any information we have for the full company about the days and week ahead.
The warmup space for the cast – be it in a rehearsal room, on stage or in the backstage area – is set up with keyboard and amp, and equipment for stretching.
Once the cast is in the theatre and onstage Stage Management coordinates the backstage area to make sure pathways are clear for travel and that both backstage and onstage are safe.
This includes negotiating and problem-solving some of the backstage traffic, the calling of the show, the setting of props and also the use of the space backstage for things like wardrobe quick changes, placement of furniture.
Stage Management also sets up the call of the show in conjunction with the creative and design team for placement of lighting cures, scenery movements, cast cues and anything else that needs to be timed during the performance.
5. More about you and your background
I have been in Stage Management in Musical Theatre for nearly 20 years. I have been lucky to have toured to capital cities across Australia and have toured overseas a couple of times, although I do always enjoy getting home to Melbourne.
I also have been lucky to have been apart of some great show company’s and have worked with a lot a great people both on and off the stage.
One of the things I enjoy about Stage Management is being apart of the show from the first day of rehearsal through to the end of the tour. I enjoy watching and being apart of the development of the show, characters and also the development of people in their craft across all departments and roles people play in a company.
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