I started the Stage Manager Survey at the University of Iowa in 2006 as a way to identify trends and innovations in stage management. It was very difficult to share new techniques and ideas about our field at the time. There were a few websites and a couple message boards, but connections such as social media as we now know it would not take hold for several more years. Many stage managers communicated with only a handful of colleagues, typically through their university networks. The Stage Manager Survey not only identified trends but it also served as a census for the stage management community.
So why do we need the Stage Manager Survey today?
Social media has allowed us to connect with many more than a handful of colleagues and communicate across borders as well. But social media is designed to amplify voices, so that the first (or sometimes most popular) responses are elevated in any discussion. This survey aims to record everyone's opinions and to make the data available freely. Moreover, anonymity allows people to share their opinions without concern about future employment or popularity among a group of peers.
I would like to thank all participants who volunteered their time to complete these surveys. Many surveys only produce a participation rate of 3-5% among those invited. But approximately 15-25% of American stage managers have participated in these extensive surveys, often forwarding and promoting the survey among friends and colleagues. These surveys could not be possible without your support.
I would also like to thank Elon University as the academic partner for these surveys since 2017, as well as the University of Iowa, which was the partner for the first 5 editions of the survey.
David J. McGraw
David J. McGraw