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Dorian Gray R&D: 5 Questions for the Stage Manager

We chatted to CPT Stage Manager Carys Davies about working on an R&D - during a global pandemic!


1. As a Stage Manager, how do you go about preparing for an R+D?

Typically our Research and Development periods are an opportunity to outline rehearsal logistics and gather the materials we might need in the rehearsal room. Before hand, myself and the production team will put our heads together and decide how best to utilise our time. Therefore we can dive straight into the R&D with a cohesive plan in place. For me, I’ll need to have designed a formal risk assessment to ensure everyone is working safely and keep on top of timings to ensure we’re using our time efficiently.


2. What's your favourite bit about being in a room with the cast?


It’s usually my first opportunity to introduce myself to the cast and let them know my purpose within the production. Stage management can be a largely pastoral role, so it’s important that they feel comfortable approaching me if they have any problems. Building a production can be an intense experience, often we end up spending a lot of time together so it’s important to make sure we work well together and enjoy each others company. As I also handle technical design, having the cast present allows myself and the director to visualise how things will come together in a venue.


3. In what ways has your role changed because of COVID?


As a stage manager health and safety is paramount to ensure we conduct our performances safely. However, COVID has meant we have to be more creative and adaptive with our solutions. As a company we all must be more responsible and proactive in how we take care of our own health and wellbeing. This ranges from being conscientious about how we travel to and from rehearsals, how much we interact with one another and how frequently touch points are being sanitised.


For more insights into how we managed an R+D during a pandemic, click here!


4. What excites you most about this version of Dorian Gray?


Our ethos at CPT is all about creating innovative work. To transport our audiences to an unconventional setting we plan to explore the use of different technical aspects to what we have done before. With that, I look forward to hopefully collaborating with friends in the industry who can use their technical expertise to help us achieve this. Alongside this Troy Chessman, a member of the production team, has created an original script for our cast to work from which is a huge step for our company.


5. Do you have any advice for Stage Managers - both those who might be out of work and those working on shows/projects - during this strange time?


My advice would be overwhelmingly, stay positive! As theatre professionals it’s our job to keep this industry alive. Pay it forward - support your friends’ work, stream their shows, pay full price if you can afford to instead of accepting comps. These small choices could be a lifeline for many organisations and in turn will keep the work coming in for us. To those of you working we’re all proud, mainly for adapting so quickly, you’re leading by example.

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