Happy International Stage Management Day…or Stage Managers’ Day

It’s our day! But what the heck is the name of it?

I have to say, in this time of being sure we acknowledge people the way they prefer (correct gender pronouns, and learning to use they/them as a singular entity), and adding in Land Acknowledgements for those who lived here before us…I like to go back to the “original.”

This day was started by the Stage Management Association of the United Kingdom back in 2013. The date October 10 was picked, “…because we think all stage managers deserve 10/10!” according to stagemanagementday.wordpress.com. There’s also a false thought over here in the US that it was picked because it had something to do with their version of “10 out of 12.” [10 out of 12 is a “standard” tech day…though may of us are working to change away from that culture. As I mentioned briefly in yesterday’s blog post, there’s about to be a new website all about that.]

To add to the confusion about Stage Management vs Stage Managers Day, the UK SMA “official hashtag” every year is a variation of Stage Managers, and this year’s is #StageMgrs20.

Of course, over here in the US, our organization is called the Stage Managers’ Association (with a crucial “S apostrophe” that often gets mistyped, similar to Actors’ Equity Association, of which I’m also a member). And so many like to use Happy Stage Manager(s’) Day.

Screenshot stating Happy Stage Managers' Day from the National Collaborator's Conference
Screenshot from today’s National Collaborator’s Conference

Some also call it Stage Managers/Management Appreciation Day.

I was involved this morning with a spirited Facebook conversation between two good friends, one from the US and one from the UK. Each uses the words that fit with the name of their SMA organization, naturally. It’s definitely a culture thing too, if you focus on the words. The US friend brought up that “Stage Management!” can often be yelled at us as almost a non-entity. A thing, versus a person. (I’m paraphrasing the conversation here.) It would be nice to acknowledge the PEOPLE of stage management. Meanwhile, the UK person thinks of “Stage Management” as the whole team, and is fine with it….though she does have an ongoing joke with a designer friend. When he yells out “Stage Management!,” she yells out “Designer!” (The US friend pointed out she should yell, “Design!” instead.)

So, what have we learned here? Names are important. In general, I would actually prefer you call me Erin (or Erin Joy…and please, NOT just Swank). If you do want someone from the team, how about, “Could a stage manager come out?”

And if you wanna be safe and inclusive, use Happy International SM Day! #StageMgrs20 We’re on #standby for our #viable profession to return!

(#Standby for US and #viable for UK!)

Oh, and coincidentally, it’s also World Mental Health Day, as my mother even noticed. Perhaps it’s another wink from my father. [See the end of my blog post about Suicide Prevention Day, for a further explanation.]