Stage Manager Erin Joy Swank sits near an overhead projector in front of a group of students
Creative Careers Festival (2015)

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"Erin Joy Swank’s enthusiasm for stage management is infectious in the classroom. Her diverse experiences broadened my students’ awareness of the opportunities in the current field. Erin’s presentation on cueing was a great masterclass on what to expect in a professional venue. Erin presents a practical approach to whether joining the union is right for you and your stage management aspirations. She presents herself as a positive and professional role model for future stage managers. Erin was a pleasure to host and I would like her to be a regular industry liaison for my students." - Kevin Wolfgang, University of Northern Colorado

Whether it's with a group of young stage managers, other technicians or actors, or to an audience of patrons, Erin loves to to share ideas about professional stage management. There is no one way to do stage management. Bring another person into the room to discuss a variety of techniques, as a supplement to your own curriculum.

Fees are negotiable, based on your budget, and speaking engagements can range from a half hour to a full-day or longer. Contact Erin for availability. She was also communicating to stage managers and students over video chat BEFORE the pandemic, and has a strong track record for being engaging over the digital distance. Erin has experience hosting more than a dozen national webinars with both the Stage Managers' Association and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and has several PowerPoint presentations ready to go, or can adapt new ones to your needs.

Central City Opera's Opera Inside Out (2015)
Central City Opera's Opera Inside Out (2015)

Topics can be tailored to your needs and include:

Screenshot from a Stage Managers' Association webinar on Opera Stage Management, hosted by Erin Joy Swank. This page discusses paperwork and responsibilities that are different including score timings, a who/what/where, first entrances, duties of Assistant Stage Managers, and various versions of scheduling/schedules.
Screenshot from a Stage Managers' Association webinar on Opera Stage Management

  • Stage managing across multiple genres - musicals, opera, dance, plays, cirque, gala events and more; Erin has a popular "Opera SM 101" discussion that has been requested at multiple educational institutions
  • Setting up prompt scripts and scores for blocking notation (recording where the performers move when) and calling cues
  • Working with union performers, musicians, and crew
  • Sample cue calling, including following along one of her scripts with a video of the call
  • "Frankenscripts, Frankenscores, or Scorpts" - creating a call script to include dialogue, lyrics, music and/or dance counts as needed for a production
  • Taping out a set via multiple methods - "up and over," two-tape triangulation, and taping circles
  • Resumes, job interview skills, and what to put in a portfolio (IF you are requested to make one...)
  • Freelance life, 1099 vs W2 contracts, and navigating unemployment (benefit compensation and the time between gigs)
  • Prepping for the next step after college
  • Discussing the factors that go into choosing when and if one should join a union
  • The relationship of the stage manager to all others in the production
  • Working with animals onstage (particularly camels and sheep!)
  • Paperwork form and function
  • How to be an assistant stage manager (yes, there's another job besides calling SM!)
  • Soft skills for dealing with a variety of personalities
  • What it's like to coordinate a scene shift - sample interactive activity has engaged past participants from kindergarten to adult
  • Translating theatre words and acronyms into laymen's terms, as well as the general process (Introduction to Stage Management and/or Technical Theatre for non-stage managers, including audience members)
  • Question and answer, of course, including Round Tables based on current burning topics

"Erin Joy Swank has held guest seminars for my stage management class on two separate occasions.  Both times she presented herself as the smart and personable stage manager I train my students to become. She is encouraging but honest, and my students come away with the sense that their hard work and experience will pay off for them as professionals. Erin's Skype visits are now a regular part of my syllabus, and she is a welcome addition to my curriculum." - Joseph Millett, University of Arkansas

Experience

Workshop Presenter on Stage Management and/or Technical Theatre:

Erin (right) with recipients of Stage Management awards at KCACTF, Region IV, along with fellow SM Respondent Ruth E. Kramer.

  • Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region IV Festival (2017, 2020); also Stage Manager Respondent
  • Colorado Creative Careers Festival (2015, 2019)
  • Central City Opera's Opera Education & Community Engagement (various, 2006-2015)
  • United States Institute for Theatre Technology national conference session panelist (2011, 2014, 2019, 2020; also mentor for Gateway diversity initiative & Stage Management Mentor Project)
  • "Cultivating a Positive Relationship in All Productions: A Panel Discussion between Stage Managers and Actors" (2010) - presented by the Stage Managers' Association with the Denver Actors’ Equity Association Liaison Committee
  • Opera Colorado's Backstage Workshop (2008)

Webinar Host/Panelist:

  • Stage Managers' Association - Webinars Chair (Below, Host = organized and planned the session, Panelist = spoke of her experience with the subject/topic, Moderator = handled the logistics of audience participation and Zoom controls)
    • The Role of the Assistant Director in Opera (host)
    • Safer in Theatre Listening Sessions (3 2-hour discussions - moderator)
      Trains & Sleighs - The Journey to Santa (moderator)
    • Fairytales & Fun - Pulling Off Pantos (host)
    • Remounting Christmas Carol (moderator)
    • Stage Managing Drag Performance: The Holiday Episode (moderator)
    • Toy Soldiers & Sugar Plum Fairies – Stage Managing Dancers in the Snow (host/panelist)
    • Discussing the Colorado Theatre Standards Document (host)
    • Let's Talk Props: The relationship between a props master and a stage manager (host/panelist)
    • Google Slides with Sing Street (moderator)
    • Dance Stage Management (host/panelist)
    • Get-ins, Load-ins and Cue Lights: Comparing UK & USA Stage Management Practices (host)
    • The Secrets of Agents (moderator)
    • Stage Manager Survey 2019 Results (panelist)
    • Adapting Stage Management Resumes to Other Industries (host)
    • Excel for Stage Managers (host/moderator)
    • Open Forum on Stage Management (moderator)
    • Calling to Music (host/panelist)
    • Theatrical Ghost Stories (host/panelist)
    • What is Stage Management? (host/panelist)
    • The Stage Manager Survey (host, announcing the survey start in 2019)
    • The History of Stage Management (host)
    • Opera Stage Management (host/panelist)
    • Best Practices for Job Applications (host/panelist)
    • Denver SM GO [Stage Managers Go Online] (host, ongoing)
    • Milwaukee SM GO Paperwork Showcase (moderator)
    • Ohio SM GO (moderator)
    • Kentucky/Tennessee SM GO (moderator)
    • Madison (WI) Morning Meetup (moderator)
    • Wisconsin College Grad Spotlight (moderator)
    • SM GO Chicago - Happy Hour at Home (moderator)
  • United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)
    • Stage Management Paperwork through the Centuries: A Virtual Exhibition (curator/panelist, a sneak peek was given as a webinar)
    • How to be an Assistant Stage Manager (panelist)
    • Resumes, Portfolios, and Networking (panelist)
  • Erin is most familiar with Zoom, including moderating breakout rooms of up to 100 people, handling Q&A, polls, chats and "raised hands," but has also been a panelist in GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Webinarjam discussions

Skype with Kent State University (2017)

Guest Lecturer/Artist for Stage Management and/or Theatre Classes:

  • Akron School for the Arts
  • Boston University
  • Fresno State College
  • Ithaca College
  • Kent State University
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Ohio University
  • Penn State (upcoming November 2020)
  • Shorewood (WI) High School
  • St. Edward's University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Cincinnati – Conservatory of Music
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Indiana
  • University of Iowa – Iowa City
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Southern Indiana
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Vanderbilt University
  • West Texas A & M University
  • Wright State University

Mentor

  • United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s Stage Management Mentor Project (2017, 2020) and Gateway Program diversity initiative (2014)
  • Stage Managers' Association (also on Education and Forums/Webinar committees)

Coordinator (now Vice Commissioner) of the USITT national conference's Portfolio Reviews & Interview Materials Prep (2014 to present; moved online during COVID-19, using Zoom breakout rooms, which Erin hosted/assigned)

URTA Stage Manager/Teacher (Spring & Fall 2017) with the University of Southern Indiana/New Harmony Theatre

Stage Management Consultant – Opera Theatre of the Rockies

"I asked Erin to speak to my Theatre Management course in order to help students understand what the job entails at the professional level. She was fantastic at answering my students’ questions and providing them with a look at her working methods!" - Phillip Franck, Vanderbilt University