Stage Management - Which schools do you recommend?

We are working on a list of schools to consider for a stage management degree. Preference is for a larger school with a successful program (graduates are working in SM). We would love feedback on the current list and if there are any schools that you’d recommend adding/removing-

Current list:
Boston U
Carnegie Mellon
Ithica College
Cal State Fullerton
Long Island Post
Penn State
UCC (Cincinnati)
Oklahoma City U
SUNY Fredonia


Is there preference for just a BA or a BFA or possibly MFA?
I might be nervous about Ithaca College in general with the cuts in education and gerontology programs.
Have you considered BU Summer Theater Institute or similar?

Or NYU summer intensive, virtual, rolling admissions Looking for Shakespeare | NYU Steinhardt

Or contact

I am guessing UNCSA is not on the list as you prefer a larger program.

UNCSA is a great choice.

What about SUNY Purchase?

Re: your current list? In my opinion, it’s way too long.

@happymomof1 care to weigh in?


I agree the list is way too long. We are hoping for some feedback that will help us narrow it down a bit.

Happykid is a lighting designer. Her classmates from Towson University in MD who focused on Stage Management are all working in the field, so frankly I think the most important thing is to find a place that isn’t overrun with MFA candidates so that the undergrads get more opportunities. It really, truly, is OK to ask how many shows each will get to manage during their four years there, and how early on they can get to do that. Please remember that Stage Management isn’t going to pay a lot, so unless your family has the cash on hand to pay for every place on your list, go through it for affordability. Theater gigs and connections are regional. If your kid is Broadway-or-Bust, you want a place that has connections there. If the Minneapolis theater scene is where your kid wants to start, then U Minn needs to be on the list.

Where do you live now? What options do you have in your state? Check the community colleges too, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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UNC School of the Arts - a branch of UNC in Winston Salem. It’s not as hard as Chapel Hill to get in.

Yes…that’s UNCSA…recommended upstream.

This school should be considered. The technical theater training is excellent with lots of opportunities to work on productions. It’s a school of the arts and there are productions happening all the time in theater, dance, music. Techies are needed for all of these. They have good connections and many grads find good employment.

Winston Salem is a very nice town.

I think this should be explored.


Ahhhh. I missed it. Sorry bout that

I agree with all of the above! I’d either use the presence of an MFA program in SM to eliminate a school from your list or be skeptical and ask a lot of questions about opportunities for undergrad SM students. And definitely run the NPC for all of the schools – there are some super-expensive ones on your list that don’t typically offer merit – if they’re not in the range of affordability for your family, that’s a reasonable criterion for elimination.

Connections, connections, connections for sure!


Which state are you in? From my experience this year, many out-of-state publics were unaffordable, so it may be useful to run net price calculators for those. UCF has a BFA stage management program and is a good option for Florida residents. Other public universities with large merit scholarships include University of Alabama, Missouri State University, and Texas Tech, all of which have strong theatre programs and a large student body.

We are in Texas. SAT scores are strong, so merit would definitely be an option at some schools (like Alabama).

@Loganator Do you have any insight on which schools you feel the presence of MFA program should eliminate? Also, do you know of any schools with other degree programs that would allow for a more diverse learning experience (business, management, etc) but still get the SM experience as well?

Check out Ball State as well.

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I sent you a PM. :smiley:

In my opinion, it is extremely important to know the numbers of productions at the college. Every production needs stage managers, assistant stage managers, and other behind the scenes folks like props, sound and lighting, costumes, sets, etc. Good stage managers are familiar with and have worked many different behind the scenes jobs. My DH was a master electrician and did lights and sound. He segued into being a production stage manager (he was an assistant before that).

Experience is key.

Upstream, I suggested University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Their technical program is excellent, but it’s a performing arts school. There are plays, musicals, dance, art shows, concerts, chamber concerts, recitals…all the time. Lots of opportunities to learn the trade so to speak.

There are also multiple performance venues for this school….small and big. That’s important too.

If a school provides great instruction but has little opportunity to actually DO these things, it’s just not enough. Experience doing matters.

@happymomof1 what did I miss?


I think that @thumper1 has pretty much covered it. What matters is experience. That and really, really good social skills so that the SM can manage all of the various people on the team. The number of productions and events, and who works on them and in what capacity, is more important than a specific SM major.


Disclaimer, my kids are/were theater kids in high school, but not pursuing it in college, so I don’t know as much as many other folks here, but UNC-Greensboro and VCU both have very strong theater programs and might be worth checking out.

Does anyone have experience with Baldwin Wallace or Ohio University and their SM or tech programs?

If you don’t mind… I would like to know as well. My D is really thinking about Stage Management.

I sent you a PM.

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