A year ago, the lovely Nick Keenan wrote a blog post about the lack of awards for stage management. He asked:
How in the WORLD can we structure an award for best stage management?
Sure, it’s a tricky award to evaluate – there are enough pitfalls in evaluating design (which still can be flashy, brash and loud enough to draw attention to itself), let alone a role that is quieter if not more central to the functioning of theatrical performance. The very definition of good stage management is when it just works, seamlessly, brilliantly, and without leaving any trace of emotional, procedural or intellectual tint on the designs, direction or performances. That is a no-mistake tough job.
And as he searched for places that do award stage management, I commented that there wasn’t really a place within the current structure of Vancouver’s Jessie Richardson Awards for the recognition of stage management. Once more, I have been proved wrong.
This year in the large theatre category, the Jury saw fit to use one of their five Significant Artistic Achievement nominations to recognize the “Outstanding Stage Management Team” behind the Arts Club Theatre‘s production of Les Miserables. Who knows whether the stage managers will be able to beat out the projection design from Beyond Eden, the musical direction of Les Miserables, the visual art of Beyond Eden or the ensemble cast of the Alter Boyz, but I’d say that this is one situation where the nomination itself is a very big deal. This sets the bar for the possibility of future years’ juries doing the same thing and using the “Significant Artistic Achievement” category to recognize the work of outstanding stage managers & stage management teams.