Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Stage Management
Learn stage management, and specialist knowledge and skills in all aspects of theatre production. Through close working with students and practitioners of other theatre disciplines, students on this course develop an overall understanding of how each contributes to live performance, making them highly employable upon graduation.
About the course
This course aims to produce stage managers who are able to adapt to any production setting ranging from West End theatre to large-scale outdoor events. Stage managers are a conduit between the director and the production team throughout the rehearsal process and the management of the performance itself, including the acquisition of furniture and props.
Stage Managers must have excellent people, communication and negotiation skills to ensure they properly communicate developments through rehearsals and find solutions to production challenges. Students develop practical management skills through working in production teams on a number of realised productions, collaborating with other students and visiting professionals.
Students develop the basic skills necessary for creating live performance, through a series of workshops and realised projects. They undertake classes and workshops, including managing rehearsals and performance, blocking and working with the cast and director, marking-up, show calling, props sourcing and adapting, costume supervision and sewing, lighting, sound, and staging technology. There are workshops focusing on text analysis, group dynamics, communication and current legislation, including health and safety. Students undertake the role of Assistant Stage Manager on a realised production, working with students from the undergraduate Acting and other courses.
Taught sessions including score-reading, company management, pyrotechnics, firearms, blood effects and event management. Students take on the roles of Assistant and Deputy Stage Managers on a range of realised production projects from main-house, proscenium theatre shows to site responsive fringe work, or on projects outside Central, including community theatre, immersive theatre and event management. Students may also be required to operate sound and lighting on small-scale productions. Students are assigned a professional mentor who will advise and guide them through their second and final years.
Students undertake at least one role with significant management responsibilities and/or a role on a larger-scale or more challenging production. They will research and organise a suitable placement with a professional company of their choosing in order to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the areas of work they wish to enter upon graduation.
Students are actively encouraged to build on contacts made during the course in order to set up professional placements for their final year.
Stage Management students regularly undertake placements with a range of companies, which have included the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Donmar Warehouse, Almeida Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Bush Theatre, Complicite, Young Vic, Walk the Plank and Hampstead Theatre, and a range of West End productions.
Central has extensive links with the live performance industry on all scales in London and beyond, including the National Theatre, English National Opera (via an annual graduate internship), Donmar Warehouse and the Royal Court Theatre.
Through project work, formal visits to theatres and regular close contact with professionals – including recent graduates – students are well prepared to enter the live performance industry. They will work with professional Stage Managers, undertaking their role within Central, or as project supervisors and team mentors. All students are assigned a personal graduate mentor.
The course works with companies such as dreamthinkspeak, Shunt, Goat and Monkey and the Old Vic Tunnels on more unconventional immersive work and in non-traditional theatre making areas, such as with Block 9 at Glastonbury Festival and Secret Cinema. It also provides links with street arts and outdoor theatre, working with festivals, such as The London Pleasure Gardens, as well as highly acclaimed companies, for example Walk the Plank, The World Famous, Emergency Exit Arts and Kinetika, providing a range of potential opportunities for students.
Recent Visiting Staff
Stage Managers: Charlotte Padgham, Joanna MacDonnell, Ian Hawkins, Libby Spencer, Angela Riddell, Jo Miles; Just FX, Rc-Annie, Sophie Acreman (Orange Tree Theatre), Andrew Killian (Company Management) and Jo Holmes (Royal Opera House).
Professionals from Other Disciplines: Simon Byford (Event Management), Lisa Westerhout (Score Reading) and John Blunden (Prop Making).
Entry Requirements and Admissions
Minimum Entry Requirements
3 A Levels at BBC, BTEC ND: DDM.
Offers may vary from this, depending upon expected grades and performance at interview. Exceptional applicants who do not meet this requirement but demonstrate appropriate potential at interview and via their portfolio may be accepted. All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio.
Admission with Academic Credit
For information on alternative entry requirements please see our website.
See How to Apply section for Undergraduate courses.
Interviews in London
Find out more about the interview process for this course.
Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.
Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.
Graduated 2012, Assistant Stage Manager on The Hard Problem, Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre.
“I came to Central with little Stage Management experience, but with a real passion for theatre. A combination of the course’s career driven focus, and the encouragement of my tutors inspired me to pursue the companies I’d always admired. Since graduating, I’ve toured with the RSC and I now work for the National Theatre. I’ve worked on productions which have been broadcast live to cinemas worldwide. My time at Central gave me so many contacts and a huge step towards the job I love.”