Q&A WITH KAREEN THOMAS - ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER | KING HEDLEY II
What is your role?
My role as an Assistant Stage Manager at Stratford East is to help the stage manager with researching and sourcing props to the designers’ standards during the rehearsal period. I am also backstage support for the production during the run of the play, which can be helping with scene changes, handing props to actors etc.
How does someone become an ASM?
My journey started at 16 when I attended the Brit School and studied Technical Theatre. This coursed consisted of many backstage role roles such as Stage Management, Costume, Lighting, sound, Set Design and many more. I then continued on to further education doing Technical Theatre, which consisted of the same roles but at a higher level.
What are some of the challenges that ASMs face?
A challenge that I personally can find hard sometimes is when I have to source a prop that is difficult to find. I would sometimes have to come up with a solution/alternative that the designer is happy with.
What do you love about your job?
I love that its different from job to job. It has a lot of variety. I like seeing a show from the beginning to the end. I also like to tell non-theatre people the bizarre things I get up to in the day.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into stage management?
I would say you could do a course, can be long or short in stage management or even technical theatre. I think it’s also good to get work experience at theatres. I did a work experience with Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2015 and this is my 4th time back working here. I do believe work experience is the best way to get work in the theatre industry in general.
What’s your earliest theatre memory?
I don’t remember the first thing I ever watched at the theatre I just remember that I joined my local youth club from the age of 10 - 16 and we always went on trips to the West End to see plays. From that I knew I wanted to be involved somehow, just didn’t know what at the time.
If you didn’t work in theatre, what would you be doing?
I think if I wasn’t in theatre I would be in film because I feel as I would only work in the entertainment industry in some form or other. Although saying that, film is my next venture…