As we enjoy the sights and sounds of the 2023 Senior School production of Around the World in 80 Days on campus, we would like to highlight the hard work and dedication of the students whose tireless work behind the scenes has made it all possible.
Camille D (Year 11) and Youyou Y (Year 10) hold the ultra-important roles of Co-Stage Managers.
What Does a Stage Manager do?
Stage Manager is one of the most critical roles in any large-scale theatre production. It is the linchpin which ties everything together ensuring that actors, set and props get on stage at the correct time and respond to the correct cues.
The Stage Manager has to interface with and coordinate nearly every department involved in the production. In the course of a day the Stage Manager might go from inspecting set to cataloguing props to herding actors to coordinating sound effects. The best Stage Managers have to be part engineer, part accountant, and part life coach.
It's no understatement to say that if the Stage Manager is not at the top of their game, the entire production can devolve into chaos.
Youyou shares, "As a stage manager, you have to manage actors, props and set as they move on and off the stage. While actors perform, we provide the objects they need to fully act out their role." She adds that the most challenging part is working with the actors and getting them to respond to cues.
Around the World in 80 Days is a big production. There are over 130 students involved including actors, stage managers, costume designers, technicians, and set designers all working to make this production come to life.
Learning from Doing
The role of Stage Manager requires a great deal of commitment. The two students are putting in a lot of time to make sure the show reaches its full potential. Says Camille, "At the start it was 4 hours a week but now that the show date is closer, it is 10 hours a week because of weekend rehearsals as well as lunch time rehearsals for certain scenes."
She adds, "You need to stay motivated once you get home to do your schoolwork otherwise you won’t be able to balance both."
But the time put in has definitely been worth it.
"The closer we get to the show and seeing the full play with the props and costumes come together is really rewarding, because what felt like bits and pieces at the start is now a whole production and that’s very cool," Camille shares.
Youyou also cites the valuable learning opportunities, "I’ve learnt a lot about the way a production is actually set up. As an assistant stage manager last year, I built on a lot of the skills I had already learnt."
Being co-Stage Managers has required both Camille and Youyou to find a high level of communication and partnership. "I think we both trust that we’ll both manage our sides of the stage so that the show runs smoothly but we also trust that we know what the other is doing in case we need help," Camille shares.
Highlights of the Show
Our Senior School has a well-deserved reputation for putting on amazing productions. What should we expect from Around the World in 80 Days?
"The costuming this year is amazing," Youyou reveals, "and I think the overall atmosphere on stage is the highlight of the show for me. The audience should expect humour and a little love story in this year’s performance."
With international quarantine dropped and China's doors back open after the long COVID hiatus, we can't wait to head off with Phileas Fogg on his trip around the world!