Coronavirus Update: Our team is here to help our clients and readers navigate these difficult times. Visit our Resources page now »

Skip to Main Content

Home Explore Careers

Stage Managers

History

In general, playwrights and actors handled the work of the stage manager until the Elizabethan era. The job appeared in the 17th century when professional theaters and acting troupes became more common. The Globe Theater produced William Shakespeare's plays in that era, and established theaters appeared in other parts of Europe too. As theaters became more professional, the need for better management emerged. At first, actors, playwrights, and others still undertook these new management tasks. But the work eventually became sufficient to justify a dedicated worker.

The term “stage manager” was coined in England in the 18th century coinciding with the practice of hiring someone other than an actor or playwright as the stage manager. The growth of interest in theater, increasingly technical aspects of stage production, and more sophisticated presentations drove the expansion of the profession. Today, stage manager is a common job in theaters. Many theatrical pros such as playwrights, directors, and even actors began work in theater assistant stage managers to learn their craft.