What I Do Series: Abi Smith – Assistant Stage Manager

What I Do Series: Abi Smith – Assistant Stage Manager

Have you ever considered a career in theatre but asked, what can I do? or what roles are available? Find out in our new What I Do series!

The theatre is a very exciting and creative place to work with an extensive array of possible career choices open to you.

Here at the Octagon there are lots of team members that work behind the scenes and we will be highlighting some of their roles in our new blog series What I Do

Each week we speak to a different member of our Octagon team who will give you a fascinating insight in to their position here at the Octagon and what they enjoy most about their role.

This week we speak to Abi Smith who is a Assistant Stage Manager here at the Octagon.

What does your role entail?

I work closely with the Company Stage Manager and Set Designer to source, make and maintain the props and furniture for our shows.  These all need to be within budget and aesthetically pleasing to both the designer and director!

I support the needs of the rehearsal room, from helping with the mark up of the stage to bringing in the rehearsal props.

I work backstage on shows executing cues and quick changes to ensure the show runs smoothly.

Pre-show I make sure all props and furniture are set, and liaise with FOH to open the house. I would also be looking after the welfare of the actors and crew whilst in show mode!

How long have you been in this role?

I studied Stage Management for three years, have worked in the industry for five years and been at the Octagon for four of those.

Did you undertake any specific training/get any specific qualifications to help you in this role?

I completed a BA Hons in Stage Management, minoring in lighting and sound at East 15 Acting School.

What’s a highlight of your job?

Making or sourcing challenging props!

Do you have a favourite production you’ve seen/been involved with at the Octagon?

Summer holiday!


Do you have a favourite production you’ve seen/been involved with at another venue?

I fell absoloutley in love with Everybody's Talking about Jamie. But I'm always seeing new things, so my favourites change all the time!

Can you tell us about something funny/bizarre/particularly memorable that has happened to you at the Octagon?

I once got asked by Ian McKellen to look after his post whilst he did a talk onstage. That was particularly memorable. And the time a piano fell over and broke my foot during a 10am performance of Christmas Carol, not sure that's memorable in a good way though!

If you are interested in a career in Stage Management, we have included links below to some external sites to find out more:

UCAS - Job Profile: Stage Manager

National Careers - Job Profile: Stage Manager

The Stage - How to become a Stage Manager