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The Stage is Moore-Thom’s World

Georgia Boutot

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From auditions, to rehearsals, to opening night, to strike, there was one girl behind the organization of Animal Farm, McCallum’s last production of the year.

Sophomore Zora Moore-Thoms is the stage manager of Animal Farm. A stage manager is third in rank behind the director (Joshua Denning) and the technical director (Laura Kieler). A stage manager is essential to every show, and the cast members of Animal Farm will tell you that Moore-Thoms filled the position admirably.

Zora Moore-Thoms writes down blocking for Animal Farm during rehearsal. Photo by Ramona Sever.

Zora Moore-Thoms writes down blocking for Animal Farm during rehearsal. Photo by Ramona Sever.

Stage managers have countless behind-the-scenes responsibilities they must tackle during the long process of perfecting a show.

“I make the contact list and attendance sheets,” Moore-Thoms said. “During the rehearsal periods I take blocking notes and make rehearsal reports. I’ve also been helping out with the playbill company on this show. I have a prompt book for when we’re doing tech week for when I call all of the cues.”

The stage managing wields a lot of power and it requires a set of skills that not everyone possesses. 

“She [Moore-Thoms] is so organized!” said senior Amy McInnes, an assistant stage manager. “She has spreadsheets for days. She’s also not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is correct, so she’s very confident.”

A stage manager not only must be very organized and on top of every aspect of the show, but also be able to manage the actors.

“Her ability to deal with people who aren’t easy to deal with is her strong suit,” said sophmore Ramona Sever, another ASM. “If someone is late to rehearsal, she’ll call them out and take care of it.”

Moore-Thoms has had experience in other realms of technical theatre but found her niche in stage managing.

“With stage managing you get to learn about all of the other aspects of tech and be involved in them, but you don’t necessarily have to be great at them,” Moore-Thoms said. “Also you get to work with actors, who I love. It requires a level of organization that influences my everyday life. When I’m stage managing I’m a lot more organized in school and at home.”

It’s not her first rodeo either—Moore-Thoms has been stage managing for more than three years for various theatre companies across Austin.

Moore-Thoms works on painting a prop. Photo by Georgia Boutot

Zora Moore-Thoms works on painting a prop. Photo by Georgia Boutot.

“McCallum is different from other places I’ve worked because people tend to trust me more here,” Moore-Thoms said. “When I’m working with professional theaters and adults, sometimes being a teenager means they don’t take me nearly as seriously. But here, working with all other teenagers, I’m taken a lot more seriously, which means I get more responsibility, which means I’m able to learn more about how everything works and about the business side of theatre.”

Separating personal and professional relationships can be difficult when you have to manage your friends on a daily basis but her peers say that Moore-Thoms is able to pull it off.

“She’s very calm during rehearsal,” McInnes said, “and then when we get out she’s like an entirely different person. I really admire her for that—she’s very professional.”

Theatre Dictionary:

Strike: The taking down of a show. This can include taking apart the set and putting away costumes and props. Usually takes place on the last day of the show.

Blocking: The director’s instruction to the actors on where to move spatially throughout scenes on the stage.

Prompt Book: A script that includes every instruction that the director has given to anyone, especially in the technical aspects. The stage manager usually manages this.

Tech Week: The week before opening night which includes rigorous rehearsals to fully integrate the acting and technical aspects of the show.

Cue: Signal for a change in lighting or sound or blocking.

ASM: Assistant Stage Manager

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