Student Focus: Stage Management

A brief Q&A with Lily VanderLinden, a senior who has stage managed many City High productions

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Director Lauren Darby discusses the script with Lily VanderLinden ’21.

Sophia Wagner, Arts & Entertainment Editor

How did you first get involved in theater? 

I first got involved in theater in 7th grade as a member of the shift crew so that I could spend more time with my friend, Thomazin Jury. 

What was your role in the City High drama department? 

As a freshman, I worked construction and shift crew. After that, I became co-stage manager with Kate Murray during the show, “An Evening of Comedy”. Later that year, I served as ASM (assistant stage manager) during our “Les Miserables” production. During the strike of that production I was knighted as stage manager of Opstad Auditorium by Kate Murray and Lindy Rublaitus. After that my first time stage managing by myself was for Lauren Darby’s production of “A Christmas Carol” during my junior year (2019). That spring, I started working on “Matilda” before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the show. As a senior, I stage managed a student produced show of “Little Women” (that unfortunately, was never performed). Finally, I got to lead our school’s show of “Matilda” in April 2021. Then it was my honor to pass the torch to Eva Stadtlander. She is now knighted as stage manager of Opstad Auditorium. 

What’s the most difficult part of being a stage manager? 

For me, the most difficult part of being stage manager is time management. For my role, I contribute by connecting actors with crew with directors with parents. This means I spend time in a lot of different roles. For example, like an actor, I attend every rehearsal and help my director answer actors’ questions and assist the cast in their endeavors. As a crew member, I also participate in every set building day, light design meeting and lead my crew heads in their respective roles. Additionally, I spend time at home emailing and texting cast members with rehearsal reports and reminders, coordinating communication between cast directors, and making sure that every aspect of the production is ready to go by show night (ie. ensuring my sound crew has a microphone for every cast member who needs one, reviewing my lighting and shifting cues, and checking in with cast members to make sure they are healthy and doing well in school).

What’s the best part of being a stage manager? 

The best part of being stage manager is definitely the feeling of accomplishment. Because I participate in many aspects of the show, I can appreciate how much work all my cast and crew mates put into it. 

In three words, how would you describe the drama department? 

Hectic, fun, and lovely.

What advice would you give to someone interested in getting involved into City High drama? 

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to audition because if you don’t get cast, you can participate in the crew. Don’t be afraid to be a crew member because you can always ask for help. Don’t be afraid of the people because everyone is part of a loving, accepting community. Don’t be afraid that you won’t be supported because your stage manager can coordinate tutoring, transportation, or connect you with someone who can.