Interviewers: Hi, I'm Martin and I'm Megan and we're here with...
Kat: Kat, I'm the DSM Deputy Stage Manager on Holes. The production in the Royal & Derngate.
Interviewer: So would you describe your job in one sentence for me Kat?
Kat: It's quite a long sentence. So during rehearsals I document everything that's happening and where everything is and where everybody is meant to be on and offstage. I remind the Actors of their lines and then during shows I tell the light, sound, flies, stage crew, anybody else when to do their cues.
Interviewer: What path did you take to working in stage management?
Kat: So I was really interested in theatre growing up and joined youth theatres and things. Then I went to university and studied performance studies and then I ended up working here at the Royal & Derngate while I was at university in front of house and on box office and I heard they needed someone to chaperone children on shows. So I said 'okay I'll give that a go' and I was interested in backstage stuff a little bit but I didn't know a huge amount of it and I'd actually never heard of stage management. So while I was doing that I spoke to the Stage Manager and she kind of said 'what are you interested in?' and I said 'I'm not really sure', she said 'do some work experience with us' and I did and I loved it. So then I went to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and did an MA master's in stage management.
Interviewer: Is there a best thing or a favourite thing that you love or a favourite aspect of your job?
Kat: I guess the variety. There's no two productions that are the same, no two groups of people the same. Even within the show, no two days are the same and so I really love that. Because I work freelance so I work all over the country. I really like that variety and also just constantly learning new things and about new things, yeah the variety.
So, this is my prompt copy which is the show's Bible, which is a script of the show. Then it has all cues in it, which at the moment because we're in technical rehearsals and they will move they're all on post-it notes, so that I can move them around. We also write down the blocking, so write down what everyone's doing at every point in the show.
So I will wear a headset in the show so I can speak to everybody, but also sometimes use cue lights. So for this, I have one for the Flies in case their headsets go down. So I would do that to tell them to stand by and then that to tell them to do their cue. I've got a microphone here to do announcements to back of house or to tell Actors to come to the stage or what we're up to.
Then up here I have a couple of screens because I can't always from where I'm sitting see everything that I need to do to cue. So I've got the monitor to get more of a front on view. Then this one is infrared. So if we go to blackout and I need to for instance wait for the Actors to be clear to bring the lights back up again. I can see when that is because I can see them on the infrared.
On this show, I'm actually operating the sound. This is my go button. So when I want a sound cue to start I press the Go button. This is the list of the sound cues. So that will be a list so I can see which sound cues are coming up so I can make sure I'm ready for the right one.
Published: 27 March 2020
Image: Alex Brenner