USITT Exhibit: Stage Management Paperwork Through the Centuries

It’s finally happening! Dr. Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier and I (Erin Joy Swank) can finally see our work come to physical life at the USITT National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, March 3-5, 2022, on the Expo Floor at Booth 831 in March 3-5, 2022. We were prepping a physical exhibit for the 2020 conference, prior to the pandemic upending our industry, then showed it twice virtually for both USITT and the Stage Managers’ Association. We’re so excited to show it in person!

Dr. Jennifer will be giving a booth chat on Friday at 11:30am and Saturday at 10:00am, if you want to learn more about the bookbinding processes of early prompt scripts. (They are also displayed on the exhibit table.)

Meanwhile, we know many people may not be able to see it, so we’re offering a few things available here online. More may be added, but in the meantime…

Here is a PDF of all the QR Codes used in the exhibit. If we are showcasing anything we know is available online, the link can be found here.

Jennifer has been posting some sneak peeks at the prompt script facsimiles she’s recreating for several time periods. I got involved on some of the later ones, but her hand-binding efforts are truly amazing. Check them out here:

1580s and 1930s sneak peek

1740s sneak peek

Here is the 10’x20′ (by 10′!) booth, nearly completed the night before the Expo opened:

The spike tape timeline at the bottom of our exhibit walls shows the labor shift between prompters, stage managers, technical directors, directors, etc., over the years, as referenced in Stage Management Handbooks. That information is included in Dr. Jennifer’s PhD Dissertation, The Quest for Professionalization: A Twentieth Century Cautionary Tale for United States Stage Managers.

There is also a recording of the webinar version available to peruse. It’s free for USITT Members, and $15 for Non-members. Student membership is as low as $7/month or $70 annually, FYI.

Erin and Jennifer have done two presentations for the Stage Managers’ Association. Check out a pre-pandemic Zoom recording on the History of Stage Management if you are a Stage Manager’s Association member (login required). We’re also working to get the recording online from the virtual exhibition presented at the SMA’s Collaborator Conference.

Enjoy diving in like we did!

A compilation image of several stage management paperwork samples over multiple centuries