Did you hear what the Stage Manager just said?

How do you acknowledge a stage manager? Have you heard people say other things? Join the conversation!

“Five minutes to curtain everyone!”
“Thanks 5!”

In the time period before the lights rise on a theatrical performance, a stage manager makes a series of announcements to let the company know how close they are to curtain time. She will “call” half hour (30 minutes to curtain), followed by 10 minutes, 5 minutes, and finally, “Places!”

Because time is tight and she has to deliver the message to a large number of people in different spaces, it’s a good idea to let her know quickly and cheerfully that you have heard the announcement and are ready to go on.

“Thanks 5” is a polite, professional reply to the 5-minute call. Then the stage manager knows everyone is on the same track and the show can “go up” (get started) with all the performers and crew in place. That way, it’s less likely that someone will make a mistake, like showing up late for an entrance (see “missed cue”).

In some larger theatres the stage manager calls time over the PA system. Actors hear the announcement in their dressing rooms, the stage crew at their stations. In that case, it may not be necessary to respond.

But if a stage manager knocks on your dressing room door to say you have 5 minutes to curtain, it’s a mark of backstage professionalism to reply with a clear, friendly “Thanks 5.”

–Ben Pesner

This video was made by Theatre Development Fund, and it was filmed on location at Soho Rep.

Here’s the team:

  • Writer/director: Mark Blankenship, TDF’s online content editor
  • Cinematographer/editor: Chris Bryan
  • Starring: Sarah Aziz, Sarah Bunting, Ginger Meagher, and Tijuana Ricks