17th May 2021
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#SMLOVE: A Valentine to Stage Managers

A Valentine to Stage Managers
By Broadway Stage Management Symposium

A Valentine to Stage Managers: Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. It makes me think of the love we stage managers have.  

What? Love and Stage Management, yes I say! Love is at the root of what we do. That is why I use the hashtag #smlove in many social media posts. Love is the engine that drives us to go the extra mile. We arrive early, stay late, take our trash, order lunches, make coffee, always taking care of everyone in the rehearsal room and the theatre.

It’s like being a parent. And as any parent will tell you, love is the thing motivating the million things you do for your kids every day.

It seems easy to accept that love is part of actors, directors and designers pursuing their craft. They love what they do, performing, designing, creating a show. But stage managers??

Steve Farber, a top leadership consultant, describes his approach to leadership this way:

“Four words that describe leadership,” he counted them off on his fingers. “Love. Energy. Audacity. Proof.” ― Steve Farber, The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do

Notice what the first one is? Love. A leader needs to love what they do. That love is the drive, the engine that gets you through each day. Steve Farber has written a few books exploring this topic, the most recent of which is titled “Love Is Just Damn Good Business.” Seems like Steve has some important things to say about the importance of love in leadership.

As a stage manager, we are the leaders of our company, we lead during rehearsals, laying out plans, making schedules, and communicating info to achieve the director’s vision. Then in tech, we are charged with implementing and executing based on the plans. Finally, after opening, we are the one in charge, making decisions to keep our company on task, morale high, and maintain the show.

Without the love in stage management, you are going to fall flat. The process is going to be very difficult or painful and you won’t enjoy it. Frankly, you risk not succeeding. The skill set we stage managers have is very valuable. So valuable in face, that good managers in many other industries make much more than a Broadway stage manager. However, if you love theatre, if you love stage managing, then that is worth much, much more than a high salary. That joy and happiness cannot be measured in dollars and it’s the #smlove that is behind this success.

Just because we love our job, doesn’t mean we don’t have hard days and difficult times. It is, however, the thing that gets us back up when we are knocked down!

So on Valentine’s Day and every day, I say spread the #smlove, embrace it, flaunt it even. You are a vital part of the process of making theatre happen. In good times and bad, let your love flow.

Think about the song, “What I Did For Love.” It’s an homage to all the things we sacrifice for a life in the theatre. For the love of being a part of the theatre. We make many sacrifices and do many difficult (sometimes wacky and weird) things, because we love the theatre. This is true for stage managers, and all of us in show biz, just like those in A Chorus Line. We accept the challenges and sacrifices because we love what we do.

Give yourself and your fellow stage managers a big hug (and flowers if you are inclined)!

Celebrate your work, the amazing job you do, and the great joy you get from it.

Anywhere you are stage managing, you are helping to create theatre, and it’s the #smlove is the powerful force that makes it all happen! Happy Valentine’s Day Stage Managers, thanks for the love you pour in to your work every day.

Also by Broadway Stage Management Symposium:

Top 10 Broadway Stage Management Symposium Panels

The Misconceptions & Myths of Stage Management

Published in cooperation with the Broadway Stage Management Symposium
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