MFA in Stage Management | Introduction

  • Stage Management at UCI Drama

The stage management program at the University of California, Irvine is dedicated to the professional training of advanced students interested in developing their skills, knowledge, and abilities in stage management.

Graduate stage managers at UCI work with directors, choreographers, musical directors, and designers in various genres including drama, musical theatre, dance, opera, concerts and special events. Through the course of the program, production assignments grow in complexity. Each graduate student will stage manage or assistant stage manage seven productions. Additionally, students gain exposure to industry professionals who are invited to the campus or who are visited on field trips throughout the Southern California area.

Students organize and participate in a series of collaboration and production meetings for each production assignment. These meetings assure communication between all production team members. In addition to the supervision of performers, they interview and select assistants for each production as well as supervise running crews, which can number up to 60 students. In turn, professional faculty and staff mentor graduate stage management students throughout every phase of production.

In the classroom, students pursue the art and science of stage management via a theme for each quarter. These include: Entertainment Law, Directing for Stage Managers, The Science and Art of Cue Calling, about Equity, Self Marketing, Psychology for Stage Managers, Production Management, Special Event Management, and Music and Dance Production. Training is provided not only in the specialized area of stage management but also in dramatic literature, the development of theatre, concepts and collaboration, and script analysis. These courses help stage management students to communicate effectively with all members of the production team on a professional level.

The professional credentials of the faculty and staff includes work in theatre, dance, music, themed entertainment, and special events. In addition, instruction is augmented by a long list of professionals from every area of the live entertainment industry, television, and film. These ties, along with UCI’s alumni network, provide graduate stage management students with multiple opportunities for internships and future employment.

Students graduate with a strong knowledge of professional stage management practices, which may be applied to virtually any area of the entertainment industry.

As the head of the graduate Stage Management program, senior lecturer Don Hill with a 30 year professional career, provides mentoring, academic advisement and professional counseling.

Admission into the Graduate Stage Management program is competitive. Only nine students are admitted to the program (three per year) allowing for individualized attention and support.