Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interviewing a Pro

Kim Lavelle. Stage Manager.

1.How long have you been a professional in the theatre?

I’ve been a member of the AEA Union for stage managers since 1998, so 13 years.

2.At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to study stage management?

I found out during college that I wanted to study specifically in stage management. I was in a college program for theatre studies, but the whole production side of things has always been much more appealing to me than performance.

3. Can you talk a little about your educational experiences for theatre before you became a professional?

I went to Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and got my BA in theatre studies with a strong focus on stage management. But more of my actual education comes from interning and working in theatres, just really doing it. I learned a lot about stage managing from Bill Sanders- the artistic director at Civic [Civic Theatre of Allentown], and really I made my way from there. The key I think is to never stop learning.

4. What sort of advise might you give someone who is currently attending school for theatre?

Learn as much as you can about every aspect of theatre. The most successful theatre professionals are the ones who know a little bit of everything. And don’t party too much!

5. What are some important qualities you possess that are necessary to the success of a stage manager?

Well, organization is a really big one and maybe even more than that- quick responses. No matter what happens, you’ve got to be on top of it with 3 different solutions so that the director still has a choice, or whipping out the medical information if an actor falls over- just being able to respond quickly. The job of a stage manager really is very demanding.

6. What are the most challenging aspects of this career?

Usually the actors.

7. The most rewarding?

The most rewarding part is when the director hands the show over- it’s an all new sort of responsibility that you know you’ve earned.

8. It seems vital that a stage manager must have leadership skills. Have you always been a leader, or has stage managing taught you how to be one?

I think I’ve always possessed leadership skills but had never really put them into use until stage managing.

9. Looking back as a professional in a leadership position, do you believe leadership courses are important to educational institutions? Why/ why not?

Yes, I think these classes are extremely important and a great opportunity for students to discover their leadership voices and hone their skills. I do regret having never really used my leadership in any effective way during school. I think these programs are great.

10. Has/ how has your leadership experience in stage management shaped you into a more knowledgeable person?

Stage managing was sort of my leadership course. This is where I found my voice and learned to use my leadership skills in a great and effective way. And through that, I’ve earned an appreciation for other leaders and learned to follow their example as well as what my own voice was telling me. I think stage managing definitely taught me a lot more than just how to manage a show. Life lessons too.

1 comment:

  1. Rae, thank you for your interview. Kim Lavelle commented that "I think [leadership courses] are extremely important and a great opportunity to discover their leadership voices and hone thieir skills..." From your interview it seems like she was able to hone her skills stage management. Do you think that working in stage management helps one develop those skills or is it that she is in a field that she is passionate about?