STAGE MANAGEMENT PRACTICE IN THE AKWA IBOM STATE COUNCIL FOR ARTS AND CULTURE

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.0   GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Stage management has been a long existing concept since the advent of theatre practice. It exists for the good of the product, the production or performance before an audience. It contributes in all its activities, decisions and procedures toward the artistic success of a theatrical production in the greatest possible manner.

As a branch of theatre practice, Nwamuo defines management as, “…the art and science of planning, staffing, organizing and motivating, directly and controlling human and material resources in the art of the theatre” (2), Fazio Posit that stage management is:

… the practice of organizing and co-ordinating a theatrical production. It encompasses a variety of activities, including organizing the production and coordinating communications between various personnel-between director and backstage crew, or actors and production management (5).

Thus, attacking the term “management”, an essential activity which involves the co-ordination of individual effort towards achieving group goals on the stage, stage management seeks to establish “an environment” in which the actors can achieve group goals.

Approaching this study from Umukoro analysis of Jerzy Grotowski’s notion of the poor theatre where he concludes that all we need to create theatre is the actor and the audience” (202) theatre, as a unique form of entertainment happens once there is an actor-audience relationship, a possible interaction between the actors and the audience. This is the whole essence of managing the stage-ensuring that the performance contract between the actors and the audience is not violated or broken.

Contextually, “stage” here doesn’t denote a raised platform-above the level of the auditorium floor as people conventionally conceive, but as a place where a performance takes place; a place suitable for locating the drama considering the relevance of a well managed stage to the success of production. It can be suggested that there is no compromise or short cut to a successful production other than ensuring a proper management of the stage.

There is, especially, in the contemporary theatre practice, an extraordinary interest in management and its consequent effect on the theatre practice. Based on this, Thomas posit that stage management is:

…responsible for every aspect of stage productions, including ensuring that everything, including props scenery, and furniture; and everyone, including actors and technical staff, is in the right place, at the right time(35).

As a matter of fact, stage management goes beyond mere “ordering” of the stage or actor’s world, but involves detailed duties and responsibilities in order to make a production become a success.

Stage management in our modern day is highly technical and advanced in nature. It stands in contrast to that of the Greek and the Elizabethan system or techniques of management with all levels of concern. Stage management must satisfy, encourage, motivate and also stand like a bride in the communication process between the actor’s world and the audiences’ world.

However, for this research, stages management shall be examined from its organizational perspective and also from the aspect of life performances through examining stage management practice in the Akwa Ibom State Council for Arts and Culture.

1.1   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The major challenge of a theatre organization in the course of putting up live performances is stage management. This is because the success of a performance depends on an effective management of the affairs of members of a cast in a production both on stage and back stage towards having a successful performance.

However, as an art of management, different ideologies are applied especially, in the 21st Century theatrical performances. This is a two-edged sword. Its successful application, enhances the stage performance while an unprofessional approach to the practice, can cause the “death” of the performance.

The purpose of this research is to correct the inabilities of the stage managers at (AKS) Council for Arts and Culture for a proper and effective management during performances.

1.2   JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY

Since stage management involves an effective and a proper co-ordination of the affairs of members of cast in a production both on stage and at back stage with a view of ensuring a successful performance, it uses different managerial skills to this effect. The nature of this work aims to analyze the approaches of stage management used in Akwa Ibom State Council for Arts and Culture which emphasis will be centered on the relationship between the stage manager and the cast and crew of each production. This work therefore proposes that art organizations should adopt the approach of management in this project.

1.3   SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This research shall focus on stage management as it applies to both the public and private theatre organizations generally, but, with specific emphasis on the Akwa Ibom State council for Arts and culture. The case study is identified due to its long standing theatre establishment with a management structure which limits the purpose of this research.

1.4   ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK

This study is divided into five (5) chapters.

Chapter one of this work is the general introduction.

Chapter two is the review of relevant literatures.

Chapter three is an insight to Akwa Ibom State Council for Arts and culture.

Chapter five of this study is the summary of the work, recommendations and the conclusion.

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

2.0   MANAGEMENT: A CONTEXTUAL APPRAISAL

The phenomenon called management has been

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