Stage Manager

Stage managers are responsible for ensuring that theatre productions run according to plan. They ensure that performers are prepared and waiting in the wings on time for their scheduled appearances, and that set changes, sound and lighting run according to plan.

The position of stage manager is an extremely responsible one, with actors and technicians reporting to this person. Stage managers are assisted by assistant stage managers, props masters / mistresses, stagehands, wardrobe masters / mistresses and dressers. They work closely with directors, producers, sound and lighting technicians and technical managers.

Personal Requirements

  • in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the theatre
  • assertive and responsible
  • able to deal effectively and calmly with temperamental people who could be nervous and tense
  • excellent organisational ability and communication skills
  • passionate love of the theatre
  • dedicated to re-creating every performance as if it were a work of art
  • willing to go a long way towards achieving success in this highly competitive field

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: Various relevant degrees including courses such as Drama, Theatre Arts, Performance Studies, are offered at eg: RU, UFS, Wits, UCT, US, UP, UKZN

Diploma: City Varsity (Cape Town), DUT, TUT, Waterfront T S

Many stage managers learn their skills on the job and with experience.


  • privately owned theatres
  • television and film industry
  • Performing Arts Councils

Further Information

National Arts Council
P O Box 500
Newtown, 2113
Tel: (011) 838-1383

National Television and Video Association of South Africa (NTVA)
P O Box 16140
Vlaeberg, 8018
Tel: (021) 424-7575

46 & 48 Dunbar Street
Yeoville, 2198
Tel: 082 230 2255

Getting Started

  • try to obtain theatre experience by assisting the producers of school and community plays
  • arrange to speak to stage managers about this type of career and ask permission to watch them work
  • attend professional productions to observe successful stage management in action

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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