Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts by Research (Performing Arts)

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Helen Rusak

Second Advisor

Dr Jonathan W Marsall

Third Advisor

Leisa Landre-Ord

Abstract

As a vocation that has been around for at least 150 years, stage management has gone through years of evolution in its scope of practice. From existing as a purely mechanical part of the theatre process to becoming vital co-creators in collaboration with Directors, Designers, and Playwrights, the roles and skills of a Stage Manager has expanded beyond the theatre into the events and entertainment industry that includes large sporting events, rock concerts, and corporate productions.

Academic research into Stage Management is presently in its infancy, with a dearth of published literature. This research contributes a timely and critical reflection of what it is to be a Stage Manager in Australia in the 21st century through presenting the findings of an online survey conducted from March to May 2020 by industry professionals. The survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic developed, and therefore the impact of this event is not reflected in the working lives of the participants. However, the research does include a presentation of several approaches to blended learning in Stage Management in response to how the pandemic has affected the teaching of Stage Management during COVID-19.

This research showed that although the industry is dynamic and offers secure and consistent employment, there are areas of possible development in education and the management of work-life balance. The survey revealed that industry professionals on reflection would have liked more industry connections and opportunities for internships at an undergraduate level; whilst for mid-career workers, the development of a professional master's degree would be appropriate to cover areas of business management, new technologies, and intensive courses in a second language to further career progression and to open opportunities for the industry to internationalise within the region. 1

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