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A series of online stage management courses has been launched with the aim of making training more accessible.
The programmes are being launched by the Bamboo Manager Project, which is an organisation run by stage manager and educator Antonia Collins.
Launching this month, the first course to be made available is Stage Management 101, which costs £800 and is an in-depth programme that bills itself as being at the same level as a first-year drama school course.
For students wishing to pursue stage management as a career, a second advanced course will be launched further down the line.
After completing both of these courses, Collins says she will help students to find a work placement in a professional theatre company.
Other courses include What is Stage Management?, which is a short taster course costing £20 for those considering a career in stage management, and Introduction to the Production Process, which is a four-session course about how to put on a show.
There will also be a course for people who are already working in the role and want to develop their skills, called Management 101 – Being the Manager you want to be.
The courses are all online, with the option of group Skype calls to support students.
Collins said: “The launch of these courses is the result of five years of planning and dreaming about how this type of education could be transformed by online technologies.
“These courses offer a real alternative to the traditional teaching model and as long as you have access to a computer and the internet you are ready to go.
“I have been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years as a stage manager working on professional productions across the world from musicals to opera to dance to large scale events, but my real passion now is teaching the next generation of stage managers in a way that is accessible to all.”
She added: “For too long there have been too many barriers to this kind of education but I am thrilled to say at last things are changing.”
Collins told The Stage that the courses are designed for anyone who is interested in stage management, which could include people who have responsibilities that mean they are unable to go to drama school.
She added: “I have had interest from people looking to change careers and those who have already completed a degree so can’t afford to go and do a masters course.
“Finally I have a lot of interest from people who live in countries where there are no courses currently available, such as India and Zimbabwe.”
Executive director at the Stage Management Association, Andy Rowley, said: “Stage Management Association welcomes this new initiative which makes stage management training available by a new online route which will interest anyone looking for a less expensive and more flexible training model.
“We continue to support students using all routes into SM training, and hope that this project will make a stage management career more accessible to people who are not able to train through the traditional full time pathways.”