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Hi everyone


Just a quick one - I'm starting a TiE & theatre job on Monday (based in London and touring England) as the Production/Company Manager, and just wondered if anyone had any tips on things to look out for/info to ask for at the start or in the next few days. I've only had one touring CSM job before (again TiE & some theatre) and thought I'd see if anyone had anything to advise me on. I'm the only crew on the show (just me, the director and cast during the rehearsal period and me and the cast during the run), so any pointers (positive or negative!) would be fantastic.





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My advice would be to make sure that everyone realises that it is just you. I know someone who, when in a similar position, had a cast and director who thought that they were working at the National so she constantly had;


'Can some one get a...'


'Could they alter this prop'


'I aked for this yesterday and nobody has done it yet'


and perhaps most galling of all given the other comments


'I really need you in rehearsals all the time'

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Following on from w/robe's post - make sure you are open and upfront about your capabilities. If someone asks you to do something and you haven't got a clue what they are on about, then don't be afraid to say so.


But otherwise - Good Luck and have fun!

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Without wishing to sound patronizing, good for you for asking this question here. I suspect many of us working in the industry have taken on new roles slightly beyond our experience to date: asking colleagues for top tips and pointers is logical and thoughtful.


My top tip , for whats its worth is to prepare a technical rider of some description that is informative about your show, and spells out the venue requirements you need. Nothing worse for a house crew to have shows land on them that they know nothing about. Make a point of full and frank discussion with the venue Tec Manager before you arrive, and preferably always get a site visit in, if time and budget allow.


Hope it goes well







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One of the critical things to get sorted out in advance is despite the title, are you the manager or not? Sounds a bit daft, but you need to establish where your power ends. Can you, without asking anyone, spend money, approve purchases, and be able to really get things done. Can you suspend a member of the team, or even fire them. Are you expected to carry out both managment duties and technical duties - if so, in what timescale. What you might find is that you end up working double the hours of your cast, for less money. You can only do so many things in a day, and if driving is part of the deal, your physical well-being is paramount!


You need to be able to function at whatever level your employers want. The cast will not respect you if every query has to be resolved by the office. If somebody comes up to you and says their wages are wrong, and you check and they are - will you give them a sub from your petty cash to buy food, secure in the knowledge you will get it back? That kind of thing.



I've always stated very clearly when overloaded, which part of the job would you like me not to do when I don't have time? The look is often curiosity. When expected to do far too much on one show - I was told by the producer that if I wanted to swan about front of house, then I could - no point with people like this even trying to explain you can't be everywhere all the time - the only cure is more work (and get more money) or don't work for them again. I once worked out my pay by dividing by the hours worked. Very, very bad news and took days to recover from the shock. Even your day off doesn't count once you are Company Manager. That is the day the silly calls arrive, giving you things to do you never even dreamed about.


You may find what is expected is a bit much. If so - you must say so early on. Once your are doing it - it is too late!

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