Stage Management: The First Kit

Being the stage manager for a production will require you to become “the mom” of the show — if anything bad happens, they look at you to fix it. The earlier that you start prepping your stage manager kit the easier the production process will turn out. A lot of what you will need mainly revolves around what the actors will be needing for the most part – as the people running props, set, and costumes will already have their needed items well stocked.

When in doubt, talk to each designer on a one-on-one basis to see if they will want you to add items to your kit. For example: the costumer might not be able to come back after the show opens so you will need to figure out how to fix the tear in an extravagant ball gown on your own.

What I would do is sort everything out into two main piles: what will be going into the green room with the actors and what will be going up into the booth with you. It is important to make this distinction since once tech week starts, you are cut off from your actors. And you should still be the “show mom” during the last sections of the production.

Starting with your first kit, I have made a list of general items that are able to be used starting out and my opinions regarding them. Feel free to change your bag as you see fit — you are the stage manager for this show, not me.

The first table is in regards to what your actors will be wanting and the second table is in regards to what I would recommend for you starting out.

Item Rating [out of 5] Reasoning
Batteries 3 Also depends on how much equipment runs on batteries, just get some of the common sizes if you are unsure — it’s never a bad thing to have too many batteries.
Tide to-go pen 3 Debated categorizing as costume pieces — but I would recommend leaving this one in the green room for the actors to use as needed.
Mini lint roller 3.5
Eye glass repair kit 2 Don’t go out of your way for this unless someone has glasses as the frames do break on occasion — and please be a dear and fix their glasses for them, it’s a pain in the ass to get those tiny screws in when you have to hold it two inches away from your face.
Cough drops 4 Extremely useful during any part of the production — from coughing actors during rehearsals to coughing stage hands during shows!
Bandaids 4 Having bandaids is almost a necessity, actors and techies are known to bruise very easily.
Over the counter medicine 4 If you don’t have enough medication to run a small CVS out of your backpack then you’re low on medicine. Good SM’s should have enough variety in medication that they are able to treat mostly anything.
Staple remover 1 Necessary to have at home but not at rehearsal, you’re usually able to live without considering that papers are usually not handed out.
Stapler 1
Staples 1
Dental floss 2.5 Not really needed, only useful to have if a rehearsal/show is immediately following dinner.
(Mechanical) pencils 4 Only needed for early rehearsals — can be left at home once all directions for the actors are finalized. If bringing real pencils (not mechanical pencils) I will be giving a pencil sharpener a 2 rating.
Various phone chargers 2.5 Phones should always remain off during rehearsals! However, there are always exceptions to this rule.
Nail clippers 2 Place in the green room for the actors to use as needed.
Ice pack 2.5
Hand sanitizer 3
Chapstick 3
Hair elastics 1.25 Primarily needed for rehearsals, only really used by the stage hands during production. Don’t get the heavily expensive kind as those are able to easily wander off.
Flashlight 2.75 Useful only when the power goes out — so keep it on hand in order to be the handy SM.
Pads/Tampons 3.5 Will depend on how many females are working on the show and how long the production will last. It will never hurt to have a few generic brands on hand.
Item Rating [out of 5] Reasoning
Binder clips 2 Really useful for clipping together scenes during the rehearsal period, being able to jump between scenes as needed.
Paper clips 2
Post-it flags 4 Recommended for sorting items in your copy of the script, highly recommended that you get different colors for different types of items.
Post-it notes 2 Useful for longer texts of information in your copy of the script. Not usefull enough to go out of your way for it.
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