My recent interviews with candidates for the ASM positions at my theatre yielded so many bits of wisdom, reminders of what not to do, what energies not to let in; the power that theatre has to transform & set us down a new path.  Often these conversations felt like mini-Master Classes & I wanted to share some of what my younger colleagues had to say. ~Margie Price (Lansdowne, PA)


You don’t need a Philosophy Degree to cultivate a degree in thinking.

Take the work seriously but don’t take yourself seriously.

Take your own advice.

It can be hard to motivate someone if they don’t understand the task.

Be a collaborative leader.

Create a United Front within the Stage Management team.

Being five minutes early is ON TIME; being “on time” is late.

Be firm but also listen.

Bake cookies!

Practice Tough Love: show respect and don’t sugar coat.

Care about the Work, the People & the Production.

The work is not easy but it should be fun.

Remember that you are working with People.  Build personal bonds.

In your script, document any character notes that you hear between Director & Actor during rehearsal.

Find creative solutions.

Seek to understand how much hands-on guidance an assistant or crew member actually needs.

When you witness negative energy in the workplace find a way to confront the people involved and help to improve the workplace environment

“Never yell” ~ Tom Kelly

Always have paper & pencil handy.  Post blank paper & pencil in wings of rehearsal hall & stage for actors to write down notes during run-throughs that they need to address.

Ask questions.

Be a strategic planner.

Know the strengths of the individuals you are working with.

Understand when a situation is out of your control and ride it out until the situation can be reassessed.

Remember that you are in control of your senses.  Remember to breathe.

Do the job to the best of your ability.

Don’t try to do everything.

Remember to take your day off.  Go for a hike.


To Emulate:

  • Mediator – able to discuss delicate situation, remain neutral & seek compromise that is best for production
  • Poise during tech
  • Having confidence in knowing the goals and the path to those goals
  • Trouble shooting calmly
  • Being able to connect with each person you work with
  • Having a knack for remembering details without having to look back in notes
  • Foresight


To Avoid:

  • Being easy to panic
  • Not finding a way to balance a laid-back director’s style & time management of the room
  • Being forgetful
  • Not sending out schedules in a timely manner
  • Talking to adults like they were children
  • Meanness; Drama; Controlling & Bossy
  • Letting issues pile up until circumstances come crashing down & burn out sets in
  • Micro-managing
  • Being two-faced
  • Coming across as scattered or frayed