Stage managers are the unsung heroes of every production. With responsibilities ranging from maintaining show continuity, giving actors notes during the run, managing rehearsals, and calling show cues, there’s never a dull moment in the world of stage management. Often the most prepared and multi-talented theatre professionals, a stage manager comes to every rehearsal and performance with a kit full of organizational tools and show-saving tools. Here are ten of the best SM kit goodies.
- Spike Tape. A thin, colored fabric tape, spike tape is essential for taping out spike marks on the floor.The more colors you have, the more options you’ll have to present to the director and actors. Plus, it’s a perfect fix for broken props, torn shoelaces, or any other emergency. It’s easy to tear, removes without residue, and can be written on, making it incredibly useful.
- Pencil Sharpener. Pencils are usually a plenty at rehearsal, but pencil sharpeners can be hard to find. Be prepared and travel with a few small hand sharpeners, or impress people with your own electric sharpener.
- Hair Ties. Hair ties are one of those consumables that disappear from every nook and cranny of the theatre just when you need them.
- Measuring Tapes. Measuring tapes are essential for rehearsal, giving you the ability to tape out the stage and check measurements on props. If you have a cloth tape, you can even help out the costume department.
- Multi-tool. Multi-tools are the perfect accessory for anyproblem a stage manager may face.Equipped with pliers, tiny scissors, screw drivers, and knives, a multi-tool is the best way to have a ton of tools without taking up valuable kit space.
- Headlamp. The only thing better than a flashlight is one you can use hands-free like a headlamp. Theaters are often dark, so Stage Managers, there’s nothing better than being prepared for visits backstage, emergency blackouts, and loaning a flashlight to crew.
- Safety Pins. Not only perfect for costume emergencies, safety pins are great for pinning up set dressing, and marking soft goods. One of the hard to find tools, a collection of multisized safety pins is always a perfect kit component.
- Band Aids. The bare minimum in first aid, band aids are a necessity, but it’s good to bolster your kit with aspirin, tampons, Kleenex, and alcohol wipes as well.
- Kleenex and Paper Towels. Accidents happen, actors cry, and colds get passed around the theatre faster than you can say “sneeze”, so being well equipped with these paper goods is essential.
- Zip Ties. An easily forgotten tool, zip ties are the industrial cousin of the safety pin. Used to quickly and sturdily put two things together, they’re great for fixing props, securing cables, and almost anything imaginable. Like so many great theatre tools, their best trait is their easy, mark free removal. Yet another great reason to keep your multi-tool handy!
These are just a few essentials every kit should house. Some stage managers travel with a rolling case, while others use tackle or tool boxes to store their goods. The longer you work, the more your kit will grow, and the more tools you’ll realize could save the show, or at least make everyone’s life a little easier.