Erin McCulloch, 30, freelance assistant stage manager
What does a stage manager do?
‘Set up rehearsal rooms and work quite closely with the set designer on props and furniture. Sometimes you have to make a prop yourself. With “Richard III” at the Almeida, we had to figure out how to have blood squirting out of a guillotine block: it all had to happen in a blackout of about two seconds.’
That sounds awesome! Is it difficult to get your job?
‘To start off with it can be, but it’s just about getting your name out there and letting people know you have a good work ethic. I did the fringe circuit for quite a while then started working for bigger companies.’
What's your one essential?
‘A very good diary! I’ve got one on my phone and a paper one, and I constantly check between the two to ensure I have my itinerary down to a T and don’t miss anything.’
Is it hard to schedule in a love life?
‘There are going to be shows that run you ragged and it does take a bit of a toll. But if you can organise yourself, you can definitely work in a love life. I’m getting married in September and thankfully I’ve got a partner who understands that I can’t hang out with him all the time. I think it’s about finding the right person.’
Besides the guillotine, what's the weirdest prop you've sourced?
‘This is going to sound very weird, but for “Measure for Measure” at the Young Vic we had 120 sex dolls. The actors had to do crazy things like smacking each other with them, so making sure the dolls didn’t pop throughout the show was quite a task.’
What's the best thing about the job?
‘This is so clichéd, but the people I work with across the board make this job worthwhile. And some of the mad things that you do, like trying to fix 120 sex dolls by sitting on each of them and trying to find the leak... Where else but in theatre would you do that?’
Hours: 35-50 per week
Starting salary: £20,000 p/a
Qualifications: Stage management and technical theatre experience