On 10th October 2021, a date recognised as International Stage Management Day, a group of professional theatre practitioners across Australia will launch the Stage Managers Association Australia Ltd (SMA AU).
The vision of the association is to create a connected, open and inclusive community of stage management practitioners that actively engage in, and have access to: programs and initiatives for talent development; wellbeing and support; and to advocate best practice in all sectors and genres of our work across Australia. An association for stage managers, by stage managers.
COVID-19, and the consequential lockdowns left the live entertainment industry struggling. During the height of the 2020 nationwide lockdowns, a working group of 13 stage managers, across 6 Australian states and territories, who work professionally across a range of genres, came together to assess the viability of creating a national stage management association.After a year of industry research and input, the working group, headed by Kate Middleton-Olliver, successfully incorporated the Stage Managers Association Australia Ltd (SMA AU).
During the 2020 shutdown, stage management organisations overseas offered support and engaging content to their newly unemployed members. I sat wondering what we were doing here to support our community.
This launch isn’t our opening night. It’s more like day one of a workshop. We have a great vision for what this organisation can be in the future, but we’ve got to start small. We’re ready to test some concepts, find new ideas and bring the vision to life.she continued.
With the focus now being to recruit members, SMA AU aim to continuously include members in the development of support, resource and advocacy programs. Objectives include promoting diversity and accessibility for all people interested or engaged in the practice of stage management.
The organisation is a not-for-profit and is run by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Directors are Kate Middleton-Olliver (Chair – NSW), Adam J Lowe (Secretary & Public Officer – VIC), Ingrid Rahlén (Treasurer – TAS), Erin Coubrough (WA), Will Lewis (VIC), Carly O’Neill (QLD), Melanie Selwood (SA) and Lillian Hannah U (NSW, currently overseas).
Membership applications can be made through the Stage Managers Association Australia Ltd website at stagemanagers.org.au
Photo Credit: Cindy Xu / Claire Mayers