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Otterbein University Department of Theatre & Dance

Stage Management

Student stage managers are vital to the success of productions at Otterbein University. Each production is embraced as a hands-on learning experience through which student stage managers will become prepared for careers in stage, production or event management in the professional theatrical world.

In the Classroom

Stage management students are encouraged to take the “Stage Management” course in their freshman year.  This class is designed to give foundational information on each stage management production assignment – Production Assistant, Assistant Stage Manager, and Stage Manager.  “Stage Management (SM) Seminar” is a repeatable class held once a week for those interested and/or those assigned to stage management production assignments.  “SM Seminar” is a space for stage managers to learn from one another’s experiences on production assignments. 

Beyond these classes, the BFA Design & Technology curriculum offers stage management students a variety of educational opportunities in all technical theatre areas.  By taking classes in scenery, props, scenic painting, costumes, lighting, and sound, a stage management student walks away with foundational knowledge regarding each different discipline of theatre. The BFA Design & Technology sets our stage management students up for professional success.

In Production Work

Students will typically begin their stage management careers at Otterbein as a Production Assistant.  This position allows stage management students to be immersed in the rehearsal process, learn professional stage management practices, and absorb information from their fellow students. Stage management students then progress to the role of an Assistant Stage Manager on a mainstage production.  As an Assistant Stage Manager you are charged with running the backstage during a show, creating paperwork necessary for running the show, serving as the liaison to different production areas, teaching and instructing backstage crews, and so much more. 

Samantha Fremer, BFA Design & Technology '12
Samantha Fremer Assistant Stage Manager, "Trip of Love", Stage 42, Off-Broadway Class of ‘12
Sam spent her final semester of school working as a stage management intern for The Public Theater on GATZ and the world premiere of February House. Since then Samantha has been freelancing in the city, including many additional Public Theater productions. Selected credits: King Lear starring John Lithgow, Fun HomeHere Lies Love, and The Fortress of Solitude. Samantha earned AEA (Actors' Equity Association) membership as an Assistant Stage Manager for The Library at The Public Theater, a poignant play written by Scott Z. Burns and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Once a stage management student has demonstrated proficiency in the role of an Assistant Stage Manager, he or she will be eligible to become the Stage Manager of a mainstage production.  As the lead facilitator and communicator for the stage management team, the Stage Manager will keep the rehearsal process moving forward smoothly, communicate amongst the production team members, execute the show’s artistic vision by calling each performance, and so much more.

In addition to structured production assignments, many opportunities are available for student stage managers in Classroom Project productions, and student produced Cabarets, Drag Shows, and the student produced Festival included within the mainstage season. 

Faculty and Staff

Production Manager, Kristen Cooperkline holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree (the highest degree in the field) in Stage Management.  Kristen is a dedicated advisor who is invested in providing individualized attention and personal mentoring for each of her students.  Student stage managers are entrusted partners in the realization and execution of Otterbein’s main stage productions.