Behind The Scenes: Jessica Emmanus, Stage Manager

October 19, 2017

A series that features Theatre Makers from the other side of the stage.

Jessica Emmanus '19 was born in New York and raised in Missouri. From as far back as she can remember, she has loved theatre and the impact it can have on an audience. She started stage managing in college, at Truman State University in Missouri, and soon fell in love with the job. After graduating, she was passionate about wanting to learn more about the job at a professional level and decided to attend Columbia University. Past shows include: HairCamino RealMurder Ballad, and The Drowsy Chaperone.

Why did you decide to become a Stage Manager?

I decided to become a stage manager because I love theatre as a whole. I think theatre is essential, whether it’s watching it or working it, it’s essential to being a well-rounded person. When I started in theatre, I was an actor, but didn’t like some of the aspects that came with the job. I still wanted to have that creative outlet, and I tried stage management, which was exactly what I was looking for.

Why does a theatre production need a Stage Manager?

A creative team already has a lot of people thinking about a lot of things. So, for example, a director has to think about if what he wants or what he dreamed about is landing? Is the audience going to get what they were coming for? Designers are worrying about everything meshing with each other. Stage managers can take the worry of scheduling, conflicts, fittings, etc. off the plate of the other creative team members. We are also story tellers. When tech rehearsals are done and we are in the throes of previews or performances, we have to take everything we learned in the rehearsal and tell a story by calling a set of light, sound, and automation cues.

Could you define the role of a Stage Manager in one word?


What would you like to be doing in 10 years?

I would like to be working on Broadway on a stage management team or touring with a show.