Broadway Stage Management Symposium experience


Couple of weeks ago, in May, we had the opportunity to attend the annual Broadway Stage Management Symposium. This is the second year the conference has been organized online, due to the global pandemic.

"The Symposium is the professional development and networking conference featuring Broadway's stage managers and professionals. They share their experience and expertise on numerous panels on a wide variety of topics specific to the art and craft of stage management. Attendees of all ages and experience levels come from around the world to attend this premiere conference made by stage managers for stage managers." (Source: www.broadwaysymposium.com)

This year, we have been able to experience the great community that gathers in this 4-day conference. Hats down to the work Matt Stern, founder of the BSMS, does for the stage managers. Despite the pandemic, he has kept providing educational content for this sector. This year, so much important content got shared and discussed in the convention. Amongst other things:

- Stage managers from productions such as “Hamilton”, “Diana” and “Come From Away” were guests in the first panel and discussed how they have managed live capture recording, as well as how they were able to work while in a pandemic (e.g. they mentioned how tightly the Covid-19 protocols had to be followed and how they had to make things happen while working in “bubbles”).

- Racism was also a topic discussed. The aim of this panel was to support anti-racist stage management and introduce methods that can be put in practice by everybody in the work environment. Some of the useful tips: don’t be afraid of speaking up about the inequalities, those have to be acknowledged and not hidden away. The key to do so when not being confident enough could be to start by speaking to those who listen, people that will support those who suffer from inequalities. The concluding note was simple: “if you see something, say something”.

- The influence of social media in the life of stage managers was another subject that got addressed, with the main focus set on TikTok. The general opinion of the guest panelists was that social media has brought healthy and funny promotion means to showcase what stage managers really do, as well as being a great way of introducing the stage management tasks to younger audiences. Panelists also shared how it has affected their mental health and tips to avoid serious problems, but overall, for them the benefits overweigh the disadvantages.

- Other discussion topics such as Global stage management perspectives, Collaborating on Covid, Sustainability for Stage Managers, etc. were also discussed.

In sum, if you are a stage manager looking to find international educational content on your profession, this event is definitely worth it!

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