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  • Writer's pictureLisa Baldacchino

The Stage Manager of some of the biggest musicals brought to Malta!

Hello Beautiful People!! I hope that you are well and that you are having a lovely week! So I have started a new concept on this column whereby I am going to be featuring numerous people both on stage and off stage in the theater community.

How many times have you gone to the theater to watch a show and you walk out thinking about how brilliant the cast was?

How many times have you walked out of there thinking how great the costumes are? How the great the harmonies were? How good the dances were? The lighting? The set?

Sometimes we tend to forget that besides the people who are on stage performing, there are people backstage running the show from a technical point of view. All these people respond to the STAGE MANAGER.

What is a Stage Manager you say?

A Stage Manager is the Director's right-hand person. This person runs the show come production week and the performances. Anything that happens has to go through this person.

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Mifsud Bonnici. Lisa is a 23-year-old Teacher who has had a love for theater from a very young age!

Lisa Mifsud Bonnici is a Stage Manager who has worked tirelessly with FM Theater Productions. Lisa has Stage Managed, 'Mamma Mia', ' We Will Rock You' Sleeping Beauty Panto and 'The Little Mermaid Panto' .. Simple shows right?

Here are some questions I asked Lisa during the Interview.

How would you describe a Stage Manager’s Job?

For me, being a stage manager is about being on top of everything. Coordinating all areas that aid in the production, from the costumes, sets, and props to actors and rehearsals, so that everything runs smoothly. Organisation is key. A stage manager needs to be organised, have an eye for detail and tend to all that needs to be done

How and When did you start Stage Managing?

I started Stage Managing in 2018. Being involved in theatre for most of my life, I always loved the stage and everything that came with productions. I started to work as backstage crew and I was approached by Edward Mercieca (FM Theatre Productions) who asked me to stage-manage 'Mamma Mia' and that's when it all began.

What is the rehearsal process like for a Stage Manager?

If we are in rehearsals, it's all about making sure everyone is set up and knows what they need to do. Ensuring that everyone has their own props and knows what is available. Keeping track of time and ensuring everything is running smoothly is of extreme importance.

What is the production week process like for a Stage Manager?

When it comes to production week, health and safety is my number one priority. Keeping my eyes and ears on everything. Ensuring everyone such as dressers, hair and makeup, crew, and cast are settled and ready to go.

What skills do you feel are necessary for a person in your position?

The ability to take initiative and be a leader. Be able to accept criticism and to work well under pressure (very important!!) Think fast and act fast. Last but not least, patience. Staying calm in stressful situations is always vital.

Photo By Justin Mamo: Cast and Crew We Will Rock You

As a stage manager, what do you think is the biggest challenge you face when working on a show?

Every show feels like an even bigger challenge. You’d think that after your first few shows you’d get used to it, but that’s never the case! I would say my biggest challenge is making sure everyone is on the same page. Each show comes with a different cast and often new crew members - making sure everyone is focused and has the same understanding is challenging but very rewarding. Teamwork makes the dream work!

What do you love about your job?

I love everything about it. Meeting new people, gaining new knowledge and experience in the field. However, what I love most is definitely the thrill you get on opening night.

You have worked on some of the biggest musicals and Pantos that have come to Malta ( We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia, My Fair Lady, Sleeping Beauty Panto and The Little Mermaid Panto) What was it like Stage Managing for productions of their size?

Extremely overwhelming but so fulfilling! Starting off as a stage manager in a huge production was scary but I will always say it was a great way to start. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone is the most challenging yet most rewarding step one can take.

Photo by Justin Mamo - The Little Mermaid Panto Rehearsal - Right to Left: Analise Cassar, Lisa Mifsud Bonnici and Lisa Baldacchino

Any Advice for anyone who would like to start Stage Managing?

You can’t do it alone. There will always be someone who knows more in a certain area. Connect with those people and work together to better your work. Always look at things from someone else’s perspective and not just your own. Be assertive and on top of everything. Enjoy each and every minute because when a production is done, you’ll be wishing for it to start all over again!

Do you know anyone in the performing arts community who should be featured? Let us know on

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