Rose Bruford College

iSM – Stage Management in a Digital Age

Exploring ways in which stage management might engage with the latest developments in digital technology.

In the midst of a technological revolution, some people love it and some people absolutely do not get it.  It is a struggle to engage with these, says Mark Simpson, Senior Lecturer at Rose Bruford College

Reasons for using technologydelegate with tablet

Technology, hardware, software; kit is very common in our industries. However, as far as Stage Management is concerned, we are limited – or limit ourselves – to the prompt desk; cue lights and comms.

Some might argue that this is a conscious choice; that we work in a more traditional way than do other theatre production departments. But is this a) the case and b) desirable?

How might we embrace the technology on offer and use it to our advantage?

This presentation demonstrated how Rose Bruford is developing digital platforms to encourage students of stage and production management to engage with emerging technologies and to offer the industries we aspire to join, additional tools for collaboration.

How are we using technology?Rose Bruford showcase

We are developing a more visual platform. Moodle is not Facebook, though we want it to be as exciting, engaging as Facebook. We want them to be drawn into it. We want to turn it into an immersive environment.

  • Micro-sites within the framework of VLE for visual appeal:  http://marksimpson.co.uk/tpb/ This acts as a back door into a not very appealing Moodle.
  • Useful bits of information, hints and tips for students.
  • Looking at responsive skins – much more appealing than the standard format.
  • The main development from iSM is the idea of a production office. Ethos is:“Let’s get out of the office and back on the floor away from paperwork…”
  • The production book for professionals about workflow for students researching workflow. How could we do it better on a digital platform?

How was the learning enhanced?

We’ve looked at ways of improving student engagement through digital platform.
It’s about people not the technology. About us and our relationship with our students.

About the presenter:

Mark Simpson, Senior Lecturer

Mark Simpson has been a Stage Manager or Company Manager for organizations including the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet, Garsington Opera and the Barbican Centre. He has also worked on a large number of tours, both in the UK and abroad, with several spells in London’s West End. Mark started lecturing at Rose Bruford College in 2008.

Whilst at Rose Bruford, he has kept in touch with industry contacts and worked with both British Youth Opera and Music Theatre Wales as Company Manager. He has also lectured at the University of Kent, run seminars for a variety of institutions and has recently worked closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company on their Open Stages initiative, running skills exchange workshops up and down the country.

Passionate about exploring the fusion between creativity and technology, Mark is also conducting research at doctoral level with a focus on collaboration in the performing arts, creative relationships and the management of the creative process.