The Stage Manager co-ordinates the work of the other technical sections during the running of a play, giving cues over the headset system to lighting, sound and flying sections and liaises with other departments (props., costume/wardrobe, set design, music) to make sure the play runs smoothly. All the work for each play/show is written down on cards or wall-charts and in the Stage Managers script.
If you want to work backstage and youre not sure where to start, stage crewing is a good place to begin. No experience is necessary, you will be involved in the running of the show and you can see what all the other sections do. You dont have to be strong, but you do have to be quick, quiet and calm when working backstage - training will be given in anything else you need to know.
Many set pieces, cloth backgrounds, gauzes etc are suspended over the stage and "flown" is when they are needed.
The Crescent stage has approximately 30 flying bars, all hand operated. Flyers move the bars up and down by pulling on ropes, accessible from the fly gallery, approximately 25 feet above the stage level.
All the bars are counterbalanced so that, even if a heavy piece of scenery is suspended from the bar, it does not require super-human strength to move it.
A head for heights helps - the picture shows the flying operator's view of the stage during Into the Woods.
Sometimes on very large productions stage crew are organised by an Assistant Stage Manager.