A year in the life of a stage management graduate

Within just a year of graduating, stage management alumna Afua Nuamah worked on West End shows like Hamilton and been headhunted for some of the best theatre companies in the UK. She shares her incredible experience and her advice for future students in this blog.

My career so far

"Since completing my degree, I have been able to work with prestigious shows and companies in the West End and beyond. Other than Hamilton, I have worked on the shows Dear Evan Hansen, Run it Back and Small Island.

During my time working on Hamilton, I assist in the facilitating of rehearsals, managing props, liaised with cast and crew, changed set scenes, updated show related paperwork and was also the designated COVID monitor for the entire company.

Shortly after my time with Hamilton, I moved onto another production called Run it Back ran by the Talawa Theatre Company in Croydon, this time working as an assistant stage manager (ASM). I did much of the same tasks as my previous role, whilst this time also completing pre-show checks and helping to run the theatre wings, ensuring the show would run without a hitch.

After this, I was head hunted by John Manning from the Ambassador Theatre Group, who personally asked me to join his stage management team working on the West End production of Dear Evan Hansen. This was a completely unbelievable opportunity for me, and something I am very proud of! I joined the company during cast change and was thrown straight into rehearsals. I ran the understudy rehearsals and had to learn two show plots, just in case COVID cases were to rise again.

Whilst I was working on Dear Evan Hansen I ended up getting head hunted again, this time by Janice Hayes who is the company manager for The National Theatre. That’s how I ended up where I am now, which is working as an assistant stage manager for the re-mounted production of Small Island.

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An industry-ready degree

My degree definitely helped me in my current role because it mirrored what the industry was going to be like. For example, how fast paced and technical different teams can be, but also the joy of working on a variety of different shows which has its unique quirks. I learnt to be adaptable, and have good organisational and problem solving skills – which I’ve used throughout my career so far.

The course involved understanding all aspects of a stage management role including working within a production team, and learning about the technical and design elements through hands-on practical experience in a realistic environment.

During my Professional Studies module in the summer term, I took part in mock interviews which gave me a better understanding of what to expect when working in the industry and aided me in practicing my interview techniques too. I was unaware at the time, but one of the panel members interviewing us had a vacancy available to work on the West End show, Hamilton. I ended up doing really well in my interview and getting offered the role! Within days of graduating, I was working as part of the Hamilton stage management team, which was surreal.

Career highlights

So far, my career highlight was working on the Olivier Stage at the Royal National Theatre. It is such a beautiful theatre space, and the team were a joy to work with.

My top tip for future stage management students

Take every chance and opportunity you get, but most of all don’t be scared to ask questions!"

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