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Things you only know if you’re a stage manager

Adele Lamb, stage manager for Cirque Du Soleil

…according to Adele Lamb, 35.

Making sure everything runs smoothly is as much as an art as a science

‘As a stage manager, my job is to “call” shows as they happen – so that could be saying, “Winch one, go. Sound, go” through a headset. People don’t necessarily think of it as artistic, but you’re having to read the music, the cast and the audience’s reaction, so there is an artistic side to it. We’re kind of the driving force that pushes things forward.’

Plays, musicals and circus shows all have their own challenges

‘I have done plays, but I’ve always been drawn towards musicals, because there’s more going on in a technical sense. I’ve worked on shows like “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Rock of Ages”. But now I tour with Cirque du Soleil, and the difference with circus is that we are slightly movable. Something can happen to an acrobat while they’re warming up that means they can’t do that act, and we have to rearrange things. We make sure we run seamlessly and the audience doesn’t know something’s happened.’

Knowing what happens backstage can make it hard to watch other shows

‘I make a real effort to see stuff that I wouldn’t usually work on – plays, dance and opera – but I’ve never been able to fully switch off. There are times when you’re watching something and you think: I wonder if that was meant to happen. But nobody else would notice!’

Circus life makes dating hard

‘I’ve been single for a long time now. It’s not a job for everybody, and generally people end up with somebody in the same industry because they understand the pressures you’re under. But if you end up on different shows – which lots of people do – you can be on opposite sides of the world again.’

Check out Adele’s work on ‘Cirque du Soleil: Totem’ at Royal Albert Hall from Saturday January 12.

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