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PASE Live | on and off the Stage: Troupe and Stage Management

The Third Module of the PASE (Sino-UK Performing Arts Skills Exchange) Britain 2019 was successfully completed at the Shanghai Grand Theatre between 11 and 14 June 2019. Gill Allen, the Director of Stage and Apparel Management of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Simon Catchpole, the Senior Stage Manager of the Royal Opera House, made a thorough presentation to the participants, with the theme of "Troupe and Stage Management, about how a perfect performance is delivered from the perspective of the whole process spanning the backstage and onstage. The 9-day Britain Module came to a successful conclusion.

 

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With many years of experience in stage management and technical theatre instruction, Gill Allen worked with many well-known theatres, including the Royal Theatre of York and the Sheffield Theatre, and has gained rich experience in art education over the past decade.

 

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Simon Catchpole joined the Royal Opera House in 1989 in the posts of Stage Supervisor and Stage Manager. He now acts as Senior Stage Manager responsible mainly for coordinating production of 25 operas for the 11-month performance season of the Royal Opera House. He has rich stage management experience.

 

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Once the creative stage comes to an end in the production, what steps would be required before an opera goes to a formal performance? The two lecturers emphasized that no matter what type of production is involved, both troupe manager and stage manager play key roles in the delivery of a final performance.

 

STEP 1: Fully prepared prior to the rehearsal

Before a rehearsal is to commence, both troupe manager and stage manager first need to have a very clear definition of their respective roles and divisions. The troupe manager is a communicator connecting the production team with the creative team, while the stage manager is responsible for coordinating all parties involved for the performance and all technical work. In the exchange course, the two lecturers took two operas, "Tosca" and "Unexpected Visitors," as examples to analyze how they worked together to conduct script analysis, scene decomposition, and stage risk assessment and how they prepared for the rehearsal.

 

STEP 2: Rehearsal management in the rehearsal room

When a production comes to the rehearsal stage, the troupe manager and the stage manager immediately coordinate with all departments involved in a comprehensive manner, and the duties division and cooperation among the departments are commenced thereafter, including streamlined management of space preparation for the rehearsal room, rehearsal scheduling, stage plan mapping, setting outline marking, rehearsal room management, props record, and other related work.

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The lecturer guides the participants to practice the stage plan mapping

 

STEP 3: Communication between the rehearsal room and the stage

In this phase, efficient communication and teamwork play key roles in moving the production forward from the rehearsal room to the stage. The troupe manager is responsible for scheduling actors, rehearsal recording, information on costumes and production meetings, while the stage manager maintains technical plotting and staff drawing and performs stage rehearsal and technical arrangement.

 

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Simulated rehearsal of the drama "Unexpected Visitors"

 

STEP 4: Process management on the performance day

After the four stages of concept, design, production, and technology, how can we continue to maintain lean process management in the final performance stage? The two lecturers pointed out that this requires not only the troupe manager and the stage manager to perform well in communication, organization, initiative, and insight, but it may also rely on performance checklists, tour schedules, tour brochures, and other tools to make reasonable arrangements and orderly management to finally deliver a perfect performance.

 

To be expected

June 15 -21, 2019

After the first phase of the Module came to a successful end, the participants of the PASE 2019 headed for a 7-day study tour to the performing arts institutions based in the Yangtze River Delta. They visited the Suzhou Museum, Suzhou Pingtan Museum, Suzhou Kunqu Theater, and Damai of the Alibaba, Songcheng Performing Arts, Yue Opera Town, Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Theater, and the Hangzhou Grand Theatre for study and research purposes.