Working for Hart House Theatre has been the highlight of my university experience. My first experience with stage management came about when my drama teacher at Etobicoke School of the Arts enlisted me to work on her show A Doll’s House at The Theatre Centre. Somehow, I felt that this was something I was meant to continue in, and found myself in a large group of people all eager to wiggle their way into theatre production.
Being the eager first year that I was, I immediately perked up when I heard that the theatre was looking for a third assistant stage manager (ASM) on the musical Into the Woods. It was at that moment that I decided that the job was mine and I was going for it.
Since then, I’ve participated in every Hart House production, from operating sound on Boeing Boeing, working as an ASM on Tideline, and now, taking on a leadership role as head ASM on the upcoming production of Carrie: The Musical.
There is no facet to the process of producing a show that Stage Management is not involved with. We start in production meetings, go to rehearsals with the cast, track their movements, script changes, directorial ideas, entrances, exits, and much more. It is our job to embody organization and always be ready with the answers to any questions, voiced or otherwise.
An ASM is the actor’s first point of contact backstage. If something goes wrong, it is the assistant stage manager’s responsibility to do everything in their power to resolve the problem. This is what drew me to the job: not only would I be a constant presence behind the scenes, but I could watch a show grow and mature.
Carrie specifically has been a testament to the vast opportunities that Hart House Theatre has to offer, not only for an aspiring stage manager like myself, but for all of the young talent that is featured in the cast.
Working under director Richard Ouzounian and stage manager Crystal MacDonell, in addition to the dream-team Hart House Theatre staff members Doug Floyd and Rebecca Ostroff, has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for the cast and crew alike.
It has been an amazing experience to see firsthand the amount of work and dedication put in by our actors, who have grown into their roles tremendously.
Rehearsals for Carrie are well underway. As we move into our tech week, I urge everyone to come out and see this show. It is truly something you don’t want to miss.
This is the chance to see something truly meaningful, and to support emergent talents that, without a doubt, are going places. Hart House is more than just a campus theatre, it is the first step that every young theatre individual needs. Be it cast or crew, it is the stepping stone that leads to amazing opportunities and a bright future.
Jordan Clark is a second year student at the University of Toronto, and the assistant stage manager for the upcoming Hart House production, Carrie: the musical, which opens January 20th.