Unknown Origins

Alana Clapp on Stage Management

October 11, 2021 Alana Clapp Season 1 Episode 78
Unknown Origins
Alana Clapp on Stage Management
Show Notes Transcript

Alana Clapp is the General Stage Manager for Mystère at Cirque du Soleil and provides perspective about being a creative leader within high-performing multi-disciplinary teams that invoke the imagination, provoke the senses, and evoke people's emotions by facilitating communication across all creative and technical aspects of the performance.

Alana is a Carnegie Mellon University alum where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in BFA Production Technology & Management. In addition to her work with Cirque, she serves as a lecturer at the College of Southern Nevada, instructor for the USITT Elite Stage Management training program, advisory panel member for the Stage Craft Institute of Las Vegas, a mentor with the USITT Stage Management Mentorship Project. Alana has also worked on multiple events for film, television, and comedy specials.

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Roy Sharples:

Hello, I'm Roy Sharples, and welcome to the unknown origins podcast. Why are you listening to this podcast? Are you an industry expert looking for insights? are you growing your career? Or are you a dear friend, helping to spur your pylon? I created the unknown origins podcast to have the most inspiring conversations with creative industry personalities and experts about entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music, film and fashion. Elina. Klopp is the general stage manager for Mystere at Cirque du Soleil on provides perspective, about being a creative leader within a high performing multidisciplinary team that invoked the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke people's emotions by facilitating communication across all creative and technical aspects of the performance. awana as a Carnegie Mellon University alum, freshly graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in BFA production technology, and management, in addition to her work with Cirque du Soleil, she serves as a lecturer at the College of Southern Nevada instructor for the US I TT elite stage management training program, advisory panel member for the stage craft Institute of Las Vegas, a mentor with the US ITT stage management mentorship project. awana has also worked on multiple events for film, television, and comedy specials. Hello, and welcome, Alanna. So what inspired and attracted you to this domain in the first place?

Alana Clapp:

I am originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, and have been fortunate enough that this started really for me early on in school, and in the particular town that I grew up. Starting in elementary school, we had a new program that was coming into that school called an arts magnet program. And the purpose of that particular program was to allow students to pick sort of a focus in a specific art area during their fourth and fifth grade years of school. And so for me, I had been taking ballet classes, and I was thinking about dance. But I ultimately wanted to go into theater because the teacher that was there at the time, Tim topper, what believe is still there, actually, he was doing face painting, and what fourth, you know, fourth grader doesn't want to have their face painted all the time. And so I kind of got into drama, and we would put on these plays. And it was it was something that was meant, I think from my parent's perspective just to give me something to do and sort of have a creative outlet. And that transitioned into middle school, which had a sort of a sister program with elementary school that provided additional access to theater. And then high school that had a theater program. And this high school, in addition had a technical theater program. And so that's really where I was able to develop and I guess expose myself to the world that is the the offstage portion of what you see in a particular performance. And, and then from there, it went into to my college and university schooling. And I continued to have a lot of different interests. When it came to theater, I wasn't really sure what I knew I wanted to take. And I was fortunate enough in University at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to have the opportunity to experience a lot of different departments. So I was really interested in lighting and lighting designed for a while. And then I was really interested in costume and makeup design. And through all of that exploration, the hub that kept bringing all of these shared experiences back to me was stage management. Because ultimately, within the world of theater, and performance and entertainment, there's sort of a central hub in this stage management role that allows you to have the same interactions with all of these different areas of design and creativity. But not necessarily stay within just one avenue. And so I credit obviously my parents a lot for for letting me explore that path. And then early on, it was the teachers that were of inspiration. And then when you get into school and as a young professional, you're inspired by your peers, by your friends that are following similar creative interests. And ultimately now even in the time that I've been doing this now as a professional pulling inspiration from the people that I surround myself with Daly, just in my my professional work environment,

Roy Sharples:

That's really admirable that you found your passion at a very young age, and then almost the rest of your life was really a preparation for getting to where you are now. And now that you're kind of, like in a creative leadership position, doing stage management, it, you know, the creme de la creme, and we started this away. What's that experience, like in terms of working in that environment every day and why this must be an isolating experience day in day out?

Alana Clapp:

Absolutely. I mean, it's, it's first and foremost, I think, extremely humbling. Because serve display is such a well known international company, not just in the United States, but all over the world. It's several shows that are through our touring shows division, as well as our residentials division. Now, in addition to the ones that we continue to create, and are looking at creating here in the future, so so it is a humbling experience, to be in that company and in the company and presence of so many individuals that I've admired for so long.

Roy Sharples:

I've experienced several Cirque du Soleil shows over the years, and they really have mastered the art and science of infusing cinematic, operatic and theatrical with acrobatics, aerial Bali, puppetry, projections, lighting, costuming, and technology. Mystere is a fascinating production, about the origins of life and the human preoccupation within the universe. The last show I experienced was love. Although the Beatles revolutionized how music was made and listened to, but they were more than that, and acted as a catalyst and soundtrack. For example, for social justice movements. albums, such as Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, provided one of the most potent musical cornerstones to the no legendary Summer of Love. Anyway, I've listened to the Beatles songs since a year dot and after I'd experienced the love it reimagined how I listened to unexperienced those songs, which is such a magical thing to be able to do.

Alana Clapp:

Oh, it is, it's it is truly incredible. You know, it's, it's a different level of visual storytelling that I think is unique to the company, in the sense that you're, you're asked to go back to the company words, evoke, invoke, provoke, you know, you're evoking emotion and invoking these senses and provoking a new way of thinking about what art can be and how it can be represented. And taking something like the Beatles show or Michael Jackson to very established artists, artists, groups, on storytellers in their own right, and making, making them convey a new set of emotions to an audience that's already familiar with the art form. And then to have people such as yourself, come away from that experience with a new perspective on that established art form, I think is is extremely special and and certainly something that I know we as a company and myself pride ourselves on being able to provide as sort of a service in a in a sense in terms of a new way of being contained.

Roy Sharples:

So what is your creative process in terms of how do you make the invisible visible by dreaming up new ideas, then developing those ideas into concepts and then bringing them to actualization?

Alana Clapp:

The creative process from a stage management perspective really varies based on the type of project that you're working on. Should you be starting with a new play, for example, or a new musical or, or a new type of production that has yet to be on stage, you really start from from an absolute Ground Zero, where you are familiarizing yourself with the material meeting with designers, meeting with directors, with performers to try to determine how this project is going to develop and put your own creative stamp on that, in the stage management is uniquely positioned in sort of a constant state of limbo. And by that, I mean, you play this, this sort of delicate dance between the very creative side of the production and the very realistic technical side of what needs to happen in order to bring the creative vision to fruition. And that ultimately is the stage manager's responsibility is bridging being a bridge between those two extremely important departments and trying to translate in various ways. Created languages between those departments to make sure that what is wanting to be communicated is actually being heard by someone who might not speak that same type of vocabulary. So we're sort of in a constant negotiation of what this means versus what that means. And because of that, the process just varies greatly, depending on all of those factors. And when you talk about a company like Cirque du Soleil, we're talking about shows that have been established for many, many years. And Astaire, which is the show that I work on is has been running for over 27 years at this point, it's a long time, much longer than majority of creative endeavors usually, land, you don't usually see a show that will last that long, unless you're talking about some of the greats, you know, like a Phantom of the Opera, a lion king, you know, something like that, a lot of the point of a creative lifecycle is to kind of come full circle, and then you move on to the next project. So you don't often see several years and years and years of runs for a lot of these creative projects. And so that's another reason why the creative process for a company like Cirque du Soleil is so unique because there's so much energy and effort that is put in at the beginning. And then a whole different set of energy and efforts that come into play at once you talk about how do you continue to make a show like mysto, a show like oh, a show like love relevant for audiences, so that we continue to have a fan base that will return to CSU after your best keeping the shows my name for as long as they have. So the process really is, is wildly different. For the existing projects, we are more concerned about maintaining this artistic vision, so that our audiences see a consistent level of quality and of spectacular, spectacular, you know, sort of entertainment night after night. And with that also comes the need every once in a while to bring new fresh ideas to existing projects, which is something that we, for lack of a better term might call a refresh, or a we design of specific elements that might add a new perception to returning audiences so that we're able to continue our fan base. And so that process looks somewhat similar to starting a new show. Um, it's just about trying to fit in that creative energy into something into a machine that's already been running for a really long time. And so with that, you know, you really are in collaboration mode and constant communication mode until you see that sort of life cycle through essentially,

Roy Sharples:

it's almost like you're looking for incremental ways to continually sustain the audience attention, and to keep it current to keep it fresh, but still keeping true to the integrity of the story and its purpose. And that can be that must be really, really challenging, especially with being a creative person and wanting to inject your creative vision and add value to the process, as notably and quickly as possible, and resisting the temptation for that self indulgent by respecting, and understanding the artistry that's already went into place. And then looking for those areas where you can add value to it is certainly

Alana Clapp:

An adaptive environment., andt is entirely that he set it exactly right, the the need, and the mission is always to keep it back to the soul of what it is that that particular show has always had maintained. Because you don't want to lose the integrity or the concept of that particular production. And so yes, it does take a lot of discipline, and it takes a lot of collaboration for people to make decisions that are going to fit within that mold. Because it's a very fine line between giving something a new breath of fresh life versus changing the the integrity of the mission from that production from the get go, I guess I would say.

Roy Sharples:

Where do you typically get your inspiration from, you know, not in a typical day to day basis as you manifest? Things are around you through it through observation on and obviously what's inside you? Or do you intentionally go and look for inspiration and other fields and disciplines that are outside your domain and then when you can get that spark or idea to then infuse that back into your domain in a way that helps move things going forward or to things just ad hoc, we fall over the sky and gravitate toward you. Put simply, what do you get your inspiration from?

Alana Clapp:

I think that it's sort of a combination of all of those points that you I, my favorite way to get inspiration actually is because normally, when I'm when I'm doing the show, I'm sitting behind a glass wall, basically. So when a stage manager is calling a show, they're sitting, sometimes beside of stage, or they're sitting from the very back of the theater. And they have a sort of a barrier between them and the production that's going on, although you see it very clearly, when you're calling queues and things like that. But there is still that, that wall that kind of prevents you from being fully immersed. And so anytime that I feel that I need inspiration, or if I'm feeling a little, you know, relaxed in the sense of, not inspired, or, or just needing a little bit more motivation, that the easiest and the quickest check for me is to go into the house and to sit with the audience, many of whom are experiencing this for the first time. And it's such a gift and a joy and such a recharge to be able to do that, that we make it a point to do that with all of our artists and our technicians as well. Same for them, they, they can get stale or need more inspiration, even though they're the ones that are performing nightly, or they're the ones that are running the machinery nightly and, and, and receive the energy from the audience from a certain perspective. But when you sit in the phaedo, amongst kids that are so excited to be there, or people who haven't been to the theater before, all of a sudden, it really supplies you with this sort of burst of energy and, and excitement, like you are the person that seeing it for the first time. And I've seen this over, you know, 4000 times already. And this trick never fails for me is finding sort of that source of inspiration that that's the fastest, you know, gateway drug into, into getting that to us. And then the rest of it is really, you know, the amount of creative that you're exposed to in this environment that, you know, these are casts of 70 or 80 people that are on stage, plus all of the technicians know 50 to 100 technicians that are that are coming to work as well. In addition to the staff, the artistic directors, the coaches, you know, the P med staff and our company management, and all of that every single one of these individuals have been doing this for a long time and have their own unique stamp and their own unique process. And so just in the conversation of, you know, it could be the smallest little objective or project that we have to get done. Or maybe it's a PR event that we're doing at an airport or you know, a gala performance or something like that. In those conversations, you you find that little sense of inspiration as well. So you get it from all avenues. And it's in that what that's what makes it so you know, well rounded and your your output at that point, be able to kind of get into the audience sit there and just feel the energy and experience the shore through the eyes of your audience.

Roy Sharples:

That's your best piece of research as well, isn't it when you can hear those sound bites get a feel might even sound bass, but you can just feel emotion and excitement. And like you see energy. And it also I guess you're able to kind of pick up on things that perhaps you might not have been able to see yourself because you're you've been not ingrained within it, but you've been in the inside of it. And when you hear an observation, from an outsider's comment on something that makes it may spark something new in yourself where you think, Oh, that's a great idea, I'm, I'm going to go back in and infuse that.

Alana Clapp:

Absolutely, and just such a privilege for those of us that work in entertainment to be in entertainment, because the purpose of working in entertainment is to provide that service to the community. You know, it's to be entertained, and and likewise to be in this industry, it should also be entertaining for us. And that's not to say that you're going to be entertained, and having a great time 100% of the time it like any job I can get still. And that can be difficult days and challenging moments for sure. But on a whole it's it's a true gift to be able to provide this for someone and to be able to make a living in the entertainment industry. And so for that reason, whenever you need a little bit of inspiration for yourself, you come back at the core of it is just the pure joy and excitement of providing someone a little escapism for a few hours for you know, maybe the first time in a really long time. And certainly we see that now more than ever, with the return to work following a global pandemic, where people are in need of some joy and some entertainment and what a special gift that is to be able to have that as your career and your industry.

Roy Sharples:

Being entertained, is a critical necessity for a human and when you're not getting that boredom sinks into crashing can kick in and you know all of those things but being entertained really expands the imagination. It helps you interpretate different experiences and also it inspires you to take action time place, occasion matters. Physical venues like pop concerts, theatrical plays, art installations, situationist moments can affect how art is made and experienced. And they can act as a catalyst for social integration and collaboration, and empowering people with a sense of escapism, freedom, and hope to become self actualized and live a more fulfilled life. music venues like the current club in Liverpool became an epicenter for mercy beat in the 1960s as an example, the troubadour in Los Angeles for folk music and the 1960s and 1970s cbgb and New York City under 100 Club in London for punk, and the 1970s, the Wigan casino for Northern soul in the 1970s. And in Manchester, the Hacienda nightclub, for acid house and rave music and the Manchester scene and the late 1980s and early 90s, these venues became synonymous with the music they hosted and was ultimately a sanctuary where music fashion and culture came together where like minded people could self identify and feel liberated. And as a result, there was a subculture created in some of those epicenters communication is really critical as well, in terms of what humans need to understand themselves to connect with others. I mean, it's what humans do is fundamentally communicate and to express. What are the key skills needed to survive and thrive as a creative leader in stage management?

Alana Clapp:

You know, it goes back to hard skills versus soft skills, right. And that's a term that people will utilize in management land, you know, probably to the end of time. Preferably, however, I would use the term human skills rather than soft skills. Because at the core, that's really what they are. And to me, that is what is the most important area to develop and to nurture, in a stage managers, sort of bag of management styles and tricks, is the importance and the development of having these human skills, the ability to manage people with empathy, the ability to bring out the best parts of the people that you're managing, and that you're working with, because stage management is a leadership position. And very much so is a servant leadership position. It's a servant leadership mindset that goes into the management style of stage managers. in service of the project of the show, you're in service of the people that you're around and are managing, you're in service of the audience. And you're in service of the message that you're trying to convey out there to whoever your audience is going to be. And so you develop in in knowing that it's a service at the core of it, it's a service based management style, you wind up developing these these soft skills, these human skills are so essential to being a successful stage manager, we, you know, we talk a lot about the creative, the creative avenues that stage management can take, but those also have a massive portion that strictly management and it has to be creative management. But you know, at the end of the day, its management. Anybody who's been in a management position knows that management is innately difficult because the management of people is challenging. And why is the management of people challenging, it's because all people are different. And people perceive information differently. They receive information differently, they have different triggers. And they also have outside lives that can contribute to their work environment as well. And so when we talk about the skills needed to make yourself the most successful manager, with those contributing factors, I think the importance of tailoring your delivery, and knowing how to deliver information that is the same to everybody, because we need to maintain our integrity, we need to maintain fairness. But because we know everybody perceives information differently, we want to make sure that we're able to tailor slightly so that we are our most successful selves when we're delivering information, particularly if it's challenging information. And a lot of times you'll see a new stage manager is very focused on the hudsonville stuff on the paperwork on what you can do in Excel and on the script and on the queues and things that that from an organizational mindset are very interesting and exciting as you know stage managers left the paperwork up part of it as well on all of which is very important to make sure that you're successful. But I would argue that the human skills and the human, these that the soft skills in in your delivery and your ability to tailor that delivery will, is what sets apart good stage managers from great stage managers.

Roy Sharples:

When you look at the great creative leaders like Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk, they've just managed to get teams and businesses to achieve extraordinary results because they've created that creative atmosphere. And they've led teams in a way that they lead with a vision, but they demand excellence from them, and I think is possibly the same as well within your line of work. Because every single one of your your performers have got to achieve peak performance. And that that mindset shapes what you do and how you do within the pursuit of excellence and self actualization, your role is vital in creating that atmosphere, and getting to that experience and outcome.

Alana Clapp:

100% You're absolutely right. And certainly when we look back at on, on the creative greats that you've mentioned, I think another key component for them address as well is the manager's initial self awareness. Yeah, I'm self aware that a manager is the better they are going to be for their team. And that comes down to all kinds of things, you know, for us, when you're in the operation of a show, like you were talking about with the the peak level of performance that that everyone needs to be known at what we do, or it's very challenging, and it's extremely stressful at times. And, and so it's for that reason, your self awareness comes into play, because it's important that you know, as a manager, how you react under stress, how you react in high stressful situations, what your immediate response to adrenaline is like, and how you manage self manage practice self management in those specific areas. You know, your self awareness contributes also to how you put together a team, it's always in it, when we talk go back to that service management and service sort of leadership mindset. It's, it's always about what's in the best interest in the show, and the best interest of the show is having the most well rounded team and for that, you know, it's, it's about letting go of ego and really working with and hiring people that supplement your own weaknesses. And you can't really do that unless you're self aware about what those are, you know, everybody has them, everybody has things that they are not as strong as other individuals. And when the ego can be let go of, and you're able to hire a team that's, that supports you in your own, you know, weaknesses or deficiencies in certain areas, then when the team comes up together, the team has as well rounded as it can possibly be. And when the team looks good. And this is the other thing that sometimes management doesn't always see, when the team looks good, it makes the manager look good. It's not a threatening environment, it's not, you know, trying to feel like someone's going to come in and take my job, no, though, the mark of a great manager is to be able to step away and let the team sort of pick up and move everything forward. Because that is what makes a great manager stand out from the rest. And so by being self aware, you understand, look, I'm not as good at the computer part of it, or I'm not as good as that the, you know, the discipline part of it. And I need to supplement my shortcomings with someone else who can really lift and elevate the team. And when you can get to a place where you are confident and comfortable and existing in a in an environment like that. It's it's one of the best feelings because it's split out. It's without that feeling of dread or competition that I think can be so toxic and a lot of other environments. It truly is, is a very freeing feeling rather than feeling so so confined,

Roy Sharples:

Being clear about who and what you are, and are not. And appreciate the difference building purpose LED and mission driven teams help fill those voids. It starts with a big idea and a shared vision, then the team works through the details to come up with a big picture. The most innovative teams mobilize themselves in response to unexpected changes. And people who have and people who have the expertise and passion will step up at the right time throughout the creative process to lead and drive the completion of their respective input and add value to the team and solution. So how hence to your point, looking at the team as a holistic whole, rather than the individual parts and therefore it's down to the leader, the manager to instill the right creative atmosphere that's cultivated by providing autonomy and space is liberal and inclusive. Being clear a out the direction, expectation and the quality standards, yes is entirely focused an motivated to expedite the miss on at hand.

Alana Clapp:

Yeah, it's just such a great feeling. And ha ing experienced that on both en s, being fortunate enoug to be managed in that way, an also manage having my style of management translate into hat, it's just, it's, it just m kes everything great. And it g es back to that point of saying you know, we're in entertainmen . And we should also be enjoyin what we do by default, other han the nature of the work tha we're doing. And so this is his is a key component and m king sure that that happens as you reflect

Roy Sharples:

Reflecton on you career to date, what are y ur lessons learned in terms of the pitfalls to avoid, an the keys to success that you c n share with aspiring creati e leaders in stag

Alana Clapp:

Prioritization! In perspective, meaning, not everything is a 10 not everything is a crisis, not everything is going to be earth shattering. Sometimes, as we all know, working in the creative world, it can very much feel like that, because there's a lot of emotions that are going on creatives have to take in and and feel and, and harbor a lot of emotions, which is exhausting. It's exhausting to feel things all the time, you know, as, as human beings, I think we kind of get that and and so it's very easy to slip into the feeling of, oh, my goodness, this is this is the oh my goodness, we have to Oh, my goodness, this has to, you know, and the constant state of living at in crisis mode. And the reality of that is it's not always a crisis, yes, some some things really are a crisis, are you you know, someone's gonna lose a lot of money or someone you know, there are, there are things that are constitute those feelings, but no, is someone going to get hurt, is someone going to be injured is someone going to be in an unsafe situation, you know, these are really when you come down to that, those are what we should be caring about the, you know, if we're safe, if we're healthy, if you know, things are in a non toxic, you know, you know, environment, you know, the way to prioritize what all is important is not to say that, you know, having the right type of costume or having the lights right on this particular move, doesn't warrant its own. its own weight in terms of necessity. But we don't have to exist constantly in a state of 10s. You know, some things are fives, some things are twos, when you when you bring it back to the perspective of the larger picture, you know, and it's, it's not to diminish or belittle things that people perceive as being important at all. But part of the job in this particular position is gently providing some perspective without making people feel like their concerns are not warranted, because they absolutely are. But it might not be a crisis level where, you know, you have to feel like you're in an unhealthy situation, or you're losing sleep, or you're not able to eat because of your stress levels, or, you know, something like that. And so, I like to talk about perspective a lot in the sense that it, if we just put this to perspective, and really talk through it and bring it down to what it is, you know, what are we really saying here? Are we saying that the whole production is going to be compromised if we don't do this one thing? Or are we saying that we're going to need to work an extra day to make this happen? You know, and what are the realities of that particular prioritization? Because when you're able to help others see, through the emotions, when emotions run so high, as we know, that they so often do, it's important for stage managers in particular, to be the voice of calm and reassurance in providing that little bit of perspective to keep people more grounded, because existing at a 10 all the time, it's exhausting, it will be exhausting for anybody. And it's certainly not in service of of the work that you're trying to get done. I would also say that, as we talked about, you know, being so fortunate to work in this industry, the tailoring, the delivery is also a really good one. And then I always come back to ultimately you are nothing without your integrity. Integrity is very important in business, in this business in this industry and being a good human in general. And once you lose your integrity, it's extremely challenging to get it back, especially if it's within that same group of people and So always managing and keeping your integrity. first in line with your core values and your core objectives when you talk about working on a new project, or talk about working with a group of people, that the integrity is what will keep you grounded, it's what will keep you employed, that's what will keep you employable. And and additional, you know, people reaching out to you over and over again, because you're known for having that integrity. And sometimes, in order to not compromise your own integrity, that does mean having to deliver hard truths, it does mean having to do a challenging job. But at the core of it, if you can say, look back on a challenging situation and say, You know what, that was really, really difficult, or that was just an awful, an awful, you know, project. But I know that I didn't compromise my integrity, and I would not have done that, you know, for anything. And so if, if everything else went horribly wrong, and you're able to walk out with your integrity, still there, then is success.

Roy Sharples:

Absolutely. You possess a distinctly engaging, and inspirational leadership style, because you genuinely put people first are perceptive about their needs, and hold yourself accountable for your actions. And you clearly have a social conscience and empathy for the environment you work within, and the values and culture that you manifest within the teams that you manage. And the integrity that kind of goes without,

Alana Clapp:

There's an art to management, right? And there's an art to all of this, for sure, and, and holding yourself accountable. The accountability factor, I would argue, is even more so visible for yourself, then it would be for others just so people really, truly understand and see that I hold myself accountable for the mistakes that I make, you know, when you work on a team, and you're supposed to be leading the team. When the team is successful, the team celebrates in that success, the team is the one that made the success happen. The team is not successful. And this is in this area, we're talking about the perception of outside of the team. So if the team is successful, it's the team's celebrated success. If the team is not successful, it's the managers responsibility for the the not the downfall, but the the lack of success of that particular project. That is the perception of great leaders. Now, that doesn't mean privately, you then do sort of an internal audit with your own team to see what went wrong, or what you could have done better in those particular situations. But the perception is, when the team does a great job, the team was successful, when something fails, it is my responsibility as this team's leader to take that upon myself. And I will internalize that, and then address it with the team privately. But it's not something that publicly you know, well, it wasn't me it was the team because this is the team's responsibility, whether the team did it or not, as the face of that, that, you know, team and the management leadership position that you're in, that is part of the job. And when you are on a team, and you have a manager that does that for you, you notice it and it makes you want to work harder, and it makes you want to be better, because somebody had your back and somebody stood up for you. And that goes back to those, you know, initial moments of integrity of that is the way that I would prefer to be managed. I would like to correct mistakes and my boss doesn't have to take the fall for me again. But that's why we have leaders and leaders are the ones that should be fronting both sides of those conversations, they should not celebrate the success solely for themselves. But they should not displace the blame or the failure on behalf of the team and not internalize that

Roy Sharples:

Creative leaders have confidence in their ideas and never give up on bringing them to fruition. It means leading without frontiers by seeing around the corners and fearlessly navigating into the future. They inspire, empower, and stimulate people in teams to achieve the unexpected and exceed normal performance levels. They have the charisma that engages and excites and inspires and motivates people by having and living a compelling vision that provides clarity, generates enthusiasm and deliver success. Alana, what's your vision for the future of stage management, and where does creativity play a role?

Alana Clapp:

I love this que tion because I really had to thi k about this one. And part of t was that the pandemic gav , I think, a new perception to e on how I would answer this que tion. Whereas having not jus gone through the year that we ad, I probably would have had a different Answer. So I fou d that really interesting whe I was was sort of thinking abo t this, that there are act ally stage managers in many ind stries, they just go by dif erent names. So a lot of peo le who work in creative ent ties and sometimes non cre tive energies might not rea ize that they're working wit someone with the exact same or ery similar set of skill set that a stage manager would hav . And we're talking about no pro ucers in creative, creative end avors, or coordinators, pro ect managers, product man gers, all of these types of pos tions, innately have stage man gement skills as part of the r vocabulary. And we really rea ized this, when we didn't hav an industry to work on for a y ar and a half, and safety man gers went out and found oth r things that they were good at. And they found that they wer extremely talented and very nee ed in a lot of these, these are s. And so it's my hope that sta e managers and these other ind stries, sort of realize the r value and their ability to be ncredibly adaptable, in a wid range of skills and skill set . Meaning that they could wor in any, you know, number of dif erent industries, and pro ide a service to that ind stry that those industries may not know what's missing. But whe you work with a sales man ger, or work with a project man ger, who was a stage man ger, you work with a pro ucer, that was the stage man ger, we find, and we see tha people are extremely imp essed with the skill set and the quality of work that's, tha 's coming because the the ski l set for stage managers, and the environment for stage man gers is so fast paced, and it' still evolving, and so, so wid and vast that they're rea ly able to contribute in new and creative ways to a lot of oth r industries, which I think is eally exciting. And cer ainly not to say that stage man gers shouldn't stay within doi g theater or doing ent rtainment, but it's my hope tha they, they know that there are endless possibilities for the , and constant ways that the can and should reinvent the selves to have as fulfilling a p ofessional life as they they wou d want. So I think that was ver interesting. So it was som thing that really, really, I don t think I would have thought abo t as much had we not needed to ind other avenues of emp oyment over the past year and a half. And, and so tra sversely when you look at tha sort of expanding upon div rsifying the diversification of he industry and having a muc more diverse base of people tha are coming in and exp riencing what stage man gement is and, and how to be a g eat stage manager bringing you g people in the continue sor of this, this new evolving way of stage management. And by doi g so, you know, in in cou ling between wanting more div rsification, wanting to eng ge more people in it, that tha really starts at the level tha it involved in yet and get ing arts into schools and con inuing arts into schools and sho ing individuals look, you may have a passion for ent rtainment, and for art, for the ter for dance for music. But bei g in the spotlight may not be omething that you're pas ionate about, but you would lik to be connected to the ind stry in a different way. And the e are a number of you know, alm st a measurable numbers of dif erent positions like stage man gement or entertainment man gement that keeps you con ected to this community. And you can bring the skill sets tha you are passionate about in a n w and innovative way. And by doing that you get to expand on these programs in schools you get to expand on on mentorship program, and hope that people that enter into this industry then go on to want to bring in more people through engagement, education and mentorship and to sort of continue that. That rolling tide of community building that I think is so special and so unique to the creative arts to theatre to dance to music, and Opera and art in general is a special place to be in and meet as many people as we can to continue to provide that necessary service to humanity which is the entertainment industry.

Roy Sharples:

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