Stage Management graduate wins award for production

The Stage Management Team, including Joshua (back row, third from left)

A Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) graduate has won an award at the 2024 Stage Management Association Awards for his role in The King and I musical.

Joshua Howes, who graduated from his course in Stage Management in 2023, was Technical Assistant Stage Manager on the musical in the West End.

The awards, held on Wednesday 5 June during the Association of British Theatre Technicians Theatre Show at the Alexandra Palace, saw the Stage Management Team on The King and I win the Clear-Com Stage Management Team Award for West End and Commercial touring. The team of seven also included Lindsay Innes, who graduated from the same course at RBC in 2015.

Joshua felt ‘honoured’ to win the award, adding: “It gave the entire team a sense of pride knowing that people appreciated the amount of work we all put in to make the production a success and that everyone remained safe and happy during the run.”

Joshua started working on The King and I while studying at RBC and has worked on both the UK tour and the West End production.

He said: “I worked on The King and I for four months in my final year, touring the UK before one month in the West End. When I graduated, I was able to get a job straight away with the team. They liked the work I’d done for them, so they invited me back once they had an opening.”

For Joshua, the best part of working on the production was working with and getting to know his team.

He said: “The team I was working with was the greatest part of the job. On tour, we really became close friends and would often do activities outside of the workplace and they genuinely made every working day fun and enjoyable.”

After that, he did a few venues of a small tour of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with Wise Owl Theatre, before going back to the West End with his latest role.

Now, Joshua is working on Kiss Me Kate at the Barbican Centre in the West End, where he’s taken on a six-month contract as a Technical Assistant Stage Manager, working with two other members of the Stage Management Team that he’d worked with on The King and I.

While currently running understudy rehearsals alongside the regular performance schedule, a typical workday for Joshua includes supervising and helping run the rehearsals and resetting the stage and backstage for the evening performance. During the performance, he’ll be moving props, keeping an eye on the actors’ safety and being on standby for first aid.

The Stage Management course at RBC gave Joshua invaluable skills which set him up for the career he has now.

He said: “One of the main focuses of the course is to create an environment that is as close to working in the industry as possible. This meant that most of the work I was doing in the University was almost exactly what I do now, working out on productions around the country.

“The course is split into three years which cover the three main job roles in our industry area. This means that students are not only trained for the job they will be working in immediately after leaving university but also for the roles they will be working in later down their careers.”

Joshua found studying at RBC “rewarding and fulfilling.”

He said: “When I first joined, I had a very basic understanding of the industry I wanted to pursue a career in, and the course allowed me to build on existing knowledge and get my work up to industry-standard.

“The support from the staff in the whole department became invaluable. No matter if it was a problem with my physical work or communication with other members of the Production Team I was working with, the lecturers always had a solution or a way through what happened. They helped me develop a range of of my skills that have become extremely valuable in my career so far.”

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