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Theatre Production Manager: Duties, Outlook and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a theatre production manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and theatre experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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Theatre production managers coordinate with other theatre personnel to ensure the efficiency of the production process. This often includes participation in casting, lighting, and many other aspects of production. Typically, no formal education is required.

Essential Information

Theatre production managers keep a production running smoothly by working as a liaison between the cast, crew, and director. They verify theater purchases, organize meetings, and schedule rehearsal times. Theatre production managers also take extensive notes concerning the director's vision, technical issues, and cast blocking to verify continuity. Some theatres require prospective production managers have acting experience, and many require backstage experience. Most theatres don't require any specific formal education, but look for applicants who have multi-faceted experience in theatre as well as experience managing or organizing staff.

Required Education High school diploma
Other Requirements Field experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% for producers and directors*
Median Salary (2015) $49,112**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

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Duties of a Theatre Production Manager

Theatre production managers, sometimes called stage production managers, have a long list of responsibilities during every stage of the production process, from auditions and rehearsals to opening night and post-production. They work closely with directors and other department heads to make important decisions regarding casting, costuming, lighting, and other aspects of theater productions.

Theatre production managers often take care of the actors. This involves setting up auditions and maintaining a green room as a relaxing place for cast members. Production managers keep accurate blocking notes regarding the position of the actors and props throughout every scene. These notes are disbursed to the director, technical director, and cast. Theatre production managers also create rehearsal schedules for actors and crew, maintain all contact information, and set up any additional meetings for the cast and production staff.

Keeping the stage and backstage areas organized is an essential task of theatre production managers. Not only must these areas be swept clear prior to rehearsal, they must be cleaned after each day's work. Some theaters provide production managers with a cleaning crew, but this varies based on the theater's size and budget. Delegating cleaning responsibilities typically is necessary for larger productions.

Theatre Production Manager Job Outlook

Pinpointing an exact outlook for theatre production managers proves difficult, but records from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that the number of positions for producers and directors would grow by 9% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Although most statistics referred to recorded cinematic productions, the BLS specified that larger theatre productions should provide more job opportunities than smaller, more transient theatre companies.

Theatre production managers earned a median salary of $49,112 as of 2015, according to PayScale.com.

Requirements for Theatre Production Managers

Since theatre production managers work as liaisons to actors, many theaters require that they possess acting experience. Having worked in different production departments, such as lighting, prop building, or marketing, also might provide the behind-the-scenes experience that directors often require. Applicants for theatre production management positions also should have keen organizational skills and a positive attitude and be able to treat people with respect at all times.

Theatre production managers work closely with directors to ensure all activities of theatre productions run smoothly. They delegate and supervise responsibilities during large productions. Though typically no formal education is required, many theatre production managers have acting experience and prior production experience.

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