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What To Put In Your Stage Manager's Kit

Updated on October 6, 2012
Get yourself an artists' or make-up artists utility belt. They're smaller, lighter and have more small pockets than a normal tool belt.
Get yourself an artists' or make-up artists utility belt. They're smaller, lighter and have more small pockets than a normal tool belt.

What Does A Stage Manager Need?

What To Put in Your Stage Manager’s Kit

In a theatre production the Stage Manager or SM is the keeper of all records and schedules, the organiser, the problem solver, the nurse, the agony aunt. The Stage Manager is the go-to person for everything. The SM liaises with every member of the production team and the performers. From pre-production, through the rehearsal period the SM is keeping everything organised and on track. When the production moves into the theatre for the tech rehearsals, the SM is in charge. Often a director will move on to the next job once the show opens.

There are some essential things you need to keep in your SM kit. Most have two kits – one for things you want to keep always handy and another for other tools and things that usually stays in the theatre or your car.

I have a kind of small artists tool belt that I picked up at one of those two dollar type stores for only $4.00 (go figure!). I keep all the handy things I want on my person so I can grab something no matter where in the theatre I am.


  • Pens, lead pencils and sharpener ( or go for the click-type, no need to sharpen), eraser, marking pen/sharpies, paper clips, post-it notes.
  • Small scissors, multitool, tape measure (25m).
  • Work/Riggers Gloves. Carpenter's gloves have the thumb and first two fingers cut out so you can still do fine work, I sometimes wear one like this and one full glove when lighting or set moving.
  • Sewing needles and thread both light and dark, Safety pins.
  • Spike/Marking tape in different colours (I always keep white, yellow and red.)
  • Glow tape and PVC electricians tape
  • Gaff or cloth tape – black. Always write ‘SM Gaff-hands off!’ inside your roll. Gaffer tape is a precious commodity in theatre and everyone will want to ‘borrow’ it. Watch out for the set crew! I keep mine attached to my belt loop or tool belt.
  • Torch – cover the beam with a little blue lighting gel to cut the glare and reflection. Some use a clip-on book light with a dimmer. Also, you can get small USB lamps that attach to your laptop.
  • Chalk
  • Stopwatch (most phones can do this).
  • Tissues, Throat lozenges.



Get a basic tool kit.

Screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutter, utility knife, level, cable ties, string for lines, scale ruler, set square, large scissors, nails and screws, cordless drill.

Extra Office Supplies-

Coloured pencils, highlighters, glue (PVA), stapler (with remover), hole punch, rubber bands, paper clips. Clear sticky tape, double-sided tape.

Extra scripts.

Someone is bound to forget theirs and you can't lend yours out.

Small sewing kit - that includes a dressmakers measuring tape and some Velcro strips.


Extension cord(s), USB cords. (Remember that all electrical appliances need to be tested and tagged before being used in the theatre.) Digital camera. Batteries.

Personal Supplies –

Tampons, band-aids (get good cloth type ones, as often the plastic one’s won’t stick to actor’s sweaty skin.) Cotton balls and cotton tips, lip balm, paracetamol or similar, hair pins, wet wipes, anti-bacterial hand cleansing lotion.

First aid kit (often the theatre will have one, check it to make sure it is complete).

What Kind of Toolbox?

How you keep your kit(s) together is entirely up to you. Many of us don't want to lug a big toolbox around, and they can be expensive.

You can use a canvas bag, a little trolley or suitcase on wheels, whatever suits you. Remember a Stage Manager also has a lot of paperwork to carry around, too.

Scour the hardware stores and even the cheap Reject Shop type stores and start building your kit!


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    • The Green Lady profile imageAUTHOR

      The Green Lady 

      5 years ago from Australia

      Your best bet is an art supply store. The one in the picture artist's tool belt that I found in the art section of one of those bargain stores that sells all kinds of stuff. It cost me $4, but I think it was a case of right place, right time. Another alternative is a make-up artists tool belt. Keep a lookout at department stores and bargain stores or search 'artist tool belt' on ebay or amazon.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello, where can I find the stage managers tool kit belt that i see the guy in purple shirt wearing on your website? please forward me info


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