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Stage Management Courses

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Anyone had experience with Stage Management Courses ?


I know of several around the country.

Royal Scottish Acadamy of Music and Drama

Royal Welsh College

Greenwich University

Central School Speech and Drama

Rose Bruford College


Just would like opinions on the courses, where is best to start, and other information for example how easy it is to get into

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Hi Rob


Don't forget LAMDA, Guildford, Bristol Old Vic, ALRA, East 15 and RADA!


Of the ones you have listed I know most about the RSAMD course, which is predominantly practically based with minimal written work and no dissertation (a 3000 word graduation project about anything you like - not necessarily technical or even theatre!) You will be 'streamed' into your relevant discipline from day one although everyone gets the same degree at the end of three years. In Scotland it is 3 years for an ordinary degree, 4 for honours


Their applications are very low compared to many other courses (about 50 a year for 30ish places) so you have a good chance of getting in, statistically anyway. Unfortunately the SM lecturer is only a part time, term time only post so support may be an issue.


Your first stop should be the NCDT which accredits Drama School courses National Council For Drama Training


Next try SCUDD which shows pretty much all the Uni drama courses. You may have to wade through a lot of stuff as not all offer tech courses. Standing Conference of University Drama Departments You'll see several courses listed in both.


In any case get hold of all the prospectuses and see what you like. if you can, go to open days and talk to staff and students. Look at not only the technical course details but the performing courses. What kind of performance are you interested in. Some colleges offer a wide range of shows apart from 'straight' drama. Are you interested in Opera? Musicals? Devised work? etc etc. I'm sure some current students will be along to sing the praises of their courses!


Some courses are more academic. This doesn't necessarily mean that you don't do any practical work, it just means that you are expected to reflect and learn from the experience. Others are very vocational and you may feel like you are just there to put on the shows for the performing courses. Unfortunately the degree status of courses is more about HE funding than anything else so is no way of comparing courses



Anyway good luck and I hope all this helps



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  • 4 weeks later...

I trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and would highly recommend the course, you will be trained in lighting, sound, carpentry, prop making as well as stage management. You can then specialise in 2nd/3rd years.


However the best thing you can do is go to as many open days or visit places as you can, a course or place that is right for someone may not be right for you, get out there look around and see where inspires you.


Good luck

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dont forget LIPA!! (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts)

There Theatre and Performance Technology Degree at the beginning of the first year covers all areas to get everyone to the same level of knowledge, and it's quite good to have at least a basic knowledge of all areas rather than just knowing about the one.

Not long into the course you do speciailise in an area, and stage management is one of these.

So worth a look!!

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Thanks guys.

Well to keep those interested updated. I have visited Rose Bruford and was impressed, although mabye on the small side. Also visited Glamorgan, however there LIve events and Technology is a BSc so expect alot of theory.

I will be visiting RWCMD, and Central school soon. Unfortunatly BOV, and East 15 do not hold open days so I will not be able to visit them. Guildhall was booked up extremely fast unfortunatly.

LIPA was an option originally, but I did not have the funds to visit on there open day.

I'm interested when choosing to pick one that allows oppertunities to get contacts and real industry experience. Ofcourse london has the West End and more, what is avaliable in Liverpool ?

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Liverpool has so many theatres around to get involved in as well as events. There are ongoing shows every week at LIPA and industry professionals that visit quite often which is always good.

All the lecturers are very keen on what they are teaching, they all still work within the industry outside of their LIPA hours at different venues around the country like the National Theatre etc.

I visited Guildhall, LIPA and CSSD before setting myself on LIPA. People seem to think that being in Liverpool is a disadvantage because there is no West End, whereas the fact is (as I found out at CSSD) if you end up working in the West End on shows its genrally going to be a stewarding job, or a very boring technical job because so much of it is automated and the same every single night for many years.

Liverpool is the Capital of Culture as from last year and there are so many new developments going on which brings so many new shows and productions to Liverpool.

Also don't forget out of all the Uni's you have mentioned LIPA is the only one to bring all the art forms together as if in an industry environment, so theres plenty of experience just in that. Shows at LIPA are also toured to the likes of the fringe festival. There are events such as the national youth theatre event in Scarborough that LIPA takes part in. Trips to PLASA and many many others go on and LIPA loves to hear of people doing there own independant things or is more than willing to help support people with their own idea for an event or show. To top it all off LIPA has one of the largest theatres of all the uni's you have mentioned and plenty of kit!!!! Which is always a good thing :) LIPA also covers all types of shows, musicals, dance shows, gigs, plays etc rather than just one or two types like Guildhall since they only off the Drama and Music course.

Final thing, be aware of some uni courses. You will be paying about £3225 a year for your course so make sure you get some good contact time with your lecturers. Being in only 6 hours a week will not be fun (which is what put me off CSSD). We definately get our moneys worth at LIPA with about 4 days out of the 5 in a week (don't worry that time isn't boring theoretical stuff) and then theres the shows your involved with on top of that. So be aware or else your £3225 a year just doesnt seem worth it!!

Basically what I am saying is, do not cross out LIPA before you've been and seen it. Just because LIPA isn't in London with the West End doesnt cancel out your oppertunities for contacts and real industry experience.




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I am currently studying at CSSD and although I doing production lighting we do alot of work with the stage management. Personally I think you need to visit the places and make your own opinion. Personally I find being in london very good as yes we do have the west end where there are lots of well known theatres but there is also a lot of other theatres all around london. The staff here as you will find out on the open day have a lot of industry contacts and all of the ones I know have worked extensively in the real world and still do. I also have to point out that Tom-robbo is wrong about the time spent learning as we are in almost everyday and any time which isn't specifically taught is usually for research or to get on with a production and you can still find a lecturer to talk to if you get stuck. Also having looked at several places before deciding on central I felt that they had the best equipped spaces and more of them. Another thing which I prefered about central is that you pick what you want to do but you still learn the basics of other disciplines as this week I am doing a sound course with the stage management as opposed to LIPA or Glamorgan where the courses are more general...jack of all trades master of none! another thing which I liked about central is that there is only theatre students here, which includes musicals, devised theatre... unlike glamorgan which is a more traditional university and has courses on business and loads of other subjects aswell. CSSD is definately theatre based and if you don't want to go into theatre specifically then you might want to look more at other courses, although obviously alot of the skills are transferable and I know one of the 3rd year SM are doing a placement with barclays events team, doing event management.


if you have any questions then just ask and im sure you'll find out a lot more on the open day!


A concurrent post has been automatically merged from this point on.


and by the way im currnently researching :)

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I must agree and also disagree with lite_lad there.

I most certainly agree that the places should be visited by yourself and make your own opinion on them, everyone takes to the places in a different way. I was much more of a fan of the whole atmosphere and working at LIPA than I was at the likes of Guildhall, but this was just me and others had their own opinions. So only you can make that judgement.


However I must apologise for stating that the contact time was less at CSSD. I know 3 people who graduated from CSSD last year 2 from Production Lighting and one from Stage Management and this is where I got this idea from, this was also the sense that I got from the open day, maybe I just got the wrong impression or the course details have been changed. I did find the content of the course very good though and I did still apply to CSSD, I got a place and made the grades etc but LIPA was just the place for me.


Where I must disagree though is where you mention "jack of all trades master of none" Sure enough you do come out with the same degree title but does not mean you cover all grounds equally. What we do at LIPA sounds much like what you have said, we learn the basics of all areas, but from then on you specialise in an area that you choose. Stage management, LX, Construction, Sound etc. I mean I am definately going to come out as more of a master of LX than stage management, simply because that is where my interest lies.


I do also agree though that I much prefer the small university scale, like at LIPA and CSSD the only people there are theatre and performing arts students. So everyone there has a link in their interest which is great. Rather than the more mainstream uni's which offer everything course possible. You will genrally find the universitys that are more specialised in a certain areas are extremely good at what they do. So like LIPA and CSSD as well as those on the Conference of Drama Schools List they are fantastic Performing Arts universitys. So check them out and visit them! Everyone has their own opinion. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

if you are looking for a 6thform/college course the BRIT school do 2 year btech course on technical theatre arts, which includes stage management as well as lighting sound costume make-up AV set design and construction.

if you go to:

www.brit.croydon.sch.uk then you can download the applicaton form, but hurry as the deadline is in 2 weeks

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The trouble with doing a 2 year typically 16-18 year course in some parts of the country is expense. Especially if you then need another 3 years of student loans! Living away from home is expensive anywhere, and in London sometimes prohibitively so. Somewhere local until uni time can save a LOT of money - and to be honest, although Brit school is no doubt better than bog standard college - you get the same piece of paper!
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The trouble with doing a 2 year typically 16-18 year course in some parts of the country is expense. Especially if you then need another 3 years of student loans! Living away from home is expensive anywhere, and in London sometimes prohibitively so. Somewhere local until uni time can save a LOT of money - and to be honest, although Brit school is no doubt better than bog standard college - you get the same piece of paper!



the brit school is FREE and they help you with living expenses and finding places to live cheap, and yes you do come out with the same piece of paper but you come away with a hell of a lot more knowledge then you would from a bog standard college

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I am doing a levels currently so would be looking to university level.

Went to CSSD today, it wasnt half bad. Unfortunatly it took 6hrs travelling for only 2 hrs there, but some of the help and advice was useful, and the course descriptions.


Just to make my choices and hit the send button on UCAS now .

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