Stage Manager Erin Joy Swank sits near an overhead projector in front of a group of students
Creative Careers Festival (2015)

"Erin Joy Swank’s enthusiasm for stage management is infectious in the classroom. Her diverse experiences broadened my students’ awareness of the opportunities in the current field. Erin’s presentation on cueing was a great masterclass on what to expect in a professional venue. Erin presents a practical approach to whether joining the union is right for you and your stage management aspirations. She presents herself as a positive and professional role model for future stage managers. Erin was a pleasure to host and I would like her to be a regular industry liaison for my students." - Kevin Wolfgang, University of Northern Colorado

Whether it's with a group of young stage managers, other technicians or actors, or to an audience of patrons, Erin loves to to share ideas about professional stage management. There is no one way to do stage management. Bring another person into the room to discuss a variety of techniques, as a supplement to your own curriculum.

Fees are negotiable, based on your budget, and speaking engagements can range from a half hour to a full-day or longer. Contact Erin for availability. With today's technology, this can be done over the internet via a video chat, too! Erin has experience hosting webinars with both the Stage Managers' Association and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and has several PowerPoint presentations ready to go, and can adapt new ones to your needs.

Central City Opera's Opera Inside Out (2015)
Central City Opera's Opera Inside Out (2015)

Topics can be tailored to your needs and include:

Screenshot from a Stage Managers' Association webinar on Opera Stage Management, hosted by Erin Joy Swank. This page discusses paperwork and responsibilities that are different including score timings, a who/what/where, first entrances, duties of Assistant Stage Managers, and various versions of scheduling/schedules.
Screenshot from a Stage Managers' Association webinar on Opera Stage Management

  • Stage managing across multiple genres - musicals, opera, dance, plays, cirque, gala events and more; Erin has a popular "Opera SM 101" discussion that has been requested at multiple educational institutions
  • Setting up prompt scripts and scores for blocking notation (recording where the performers move when) and calling cues
  • Working with union performers, musicians, and crew
  • Sample cue calling, including following along one of her scripts with a video of the call
  • Following music and dancer counts for calling stage managers
  • Taping out a set via multiple methods
  • Resumes, job interview skills, and what to put in a portfolio (IF you are requested to make one...)
  • Freelance life and navigating unemployment (benefit compensation and the time between gigs)
  • Prepping for the next step after college
  • Discussing the factors that go into choosing when and if one should join a union
  • The relationship of the stage manager to all others in the production
  • Soft skills for dealing with a variety of personalities
  • Working with animals onstage (particularly camels and sheep!)
  • What it's like to coordinate a scene shift - sample interactive activity has engaged past participants from kindergarten to adult
  • Translating theatre words and acronyms into laymen's terms, as well as the general process
  • Paperwork form and function
  • How to be an assistant stage manager (yes, there's another job besides calling SM!)
  • Question and answer, of course, including Round Tables based on current burning topics

"Erin Joy Swank has held guest seminars for my stage management class on two separate occasions.  Both times she presented herself as the smart and personable stage manager I train my students to become. She is encouraging but honest, and my students come away with the sense that their hard work and experience will pay off for them as professionals. Erin's Skype visits are now a regular part of my syllabus, and she is a welcome addition to my curriculum." - Joseph Millett, University of Arkansas

Past Experience

Mentor for United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s Stage Management Mentor Project (2017, 2020) and Gateway Program diversity initiative (2014)

Coordinator (now Vice Commissioner) of the USITT national conference's Portfolio Reviews & Interview Materials Prep

URTA Stage Manager/Teacher (Spring & Fall 2017, 2020) with the University of Southern Indiana/New Harmony TheatreMentor for the Stage Managers’ Association, Webinar Host, and member of the Education Committee

Workshop Presenter on Stage Management and/or Technical Theatre:

    • Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region IV Festival (2017, 2020); also Stage Manager Respondent
    • Colorado Creative Careers Festival (2015, 2019)
    • Central City Opera's Opera Education & Community Engagement (various, 2006-2015)
    • United States Institute for Theatre Technology national conference session panelist (2011, 2014, 2019, 2020)
    • "Cultivating a Positive Relationship in All Productions: A Panel Discussion between Stage Managers and Actors" (2010) - presented by the Stage Managers' Association with the Denver Actors’ Equity Association Liaison Committee
    • Opera Colorado's Backstage Workshop (2008)

Screenshot from a Stage Managers' Association webinar on Best Practices for Job Applications, hosted by Erin Joy Swank. This page previews the topics discussed, including resumes, cover letters, interviews, portfolios, websites, and business cards.
Screenshot from a Stage Managers' Association webinar on Best Practices for Job Applications

Webinar host:

    • Stage Managers' Association
    • United States Institute for Theatre Technology

Skype with Kent State University (2017)

Guest Lecturer/Artist for Stage Management and/or Theatre Classes:

    • Boston University
    • Fresno State College
    • Ithaca College
    • Kent State University
    • Metropolitan State University of Denver
    • Ohio University
    • Shorewood (WI) High School
    • University of Arkansas
    • University of Central Florida
    • University of Cincinnati – Conservatory of Music
    • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Indiana
    • University of Iowa – Iowa City
    • University of Northern Colorado
    • University of Oklahoma
    • University of Wisconsin – Madison
    • Vanderbilt University
    • West Texas A & M University
    • Wright State University

Stage Management Consultant – Opera Theatre of the Rockies

"I asked Erin to speak to my Theatre Management course in order to help students understand what the job entails at the professional level. She was fantastic at answering my students’ questions and providing them with a look at her working methods!" - Phillip Franck, Vanderbilt University