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Embracing Active Curiosity: How It Benefits the Stage Manager

Holland, Katherine

There are many traits associated with a good stage manager: organization, punctuality, decorum, intelligence, and the ability to handle stressful situations to name a few. All of these and more are necessary for a stage manager to perform his or her job effectively. But what of those stage managers who want to go beyond “good” and “effective” to “great” and “integral”? I believe the most important quality for a great stage manager to have is not a trait so much as it is a drive—curiosity. Curiosity is often ignored in favor of the above-mentioned traits, but it is essential to gathering and cultivating the many skills and attributes valued in a professional and experienced stage manager.
This paper will set out to prove that it is possible to actively train curiosity like any other skill, and that this conscious fostering of curiosity is of great use to the professional stage manager. The first section defines the psychological classifications of curiosity as well as what I term ‘active curiosity’. This section also examines the concept of curiosity through a sociocultural filter as a means to demonstrate its nature as a trainable trait. The second section explores areas of brain science—neuronal plasticity and learning—evidencing that active curiosity not only causes conscious learning, but can also assist in the fuller absorption of information. The third section transitions into a more direct focus on how active curiosity can benefit the stage manager, first through the most obvious route: the continual acquisition of new skills as a jack-of-all-trades. The fourth section delves into the effect of curiosity on interpersonal relationships and leadership/management styles, specifically within the theatre. Finally, this essay will turn its focus to the personal, emotional, and health benefits that can be gained from employing active curiosity over time.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Theatre
Degree
M.F.A., Columbia University
Published Here
October 13, 2015
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