John Nicoll, production

John Nicoll

Whilst at GSA I became a much more confident person within my field and was able to hone in my skills to become a fully rounded Stage Manager, and be able to be prepared for any eventuality.

Freelance Stage Manager working principally in Opera with Opera companies throughout the UK including the Royal Opera House

Have you always wanted to work in theatre?

I had always wanted to work in theatre from a young age, but did not know what position would best suit. When I was studying my first degree [MA(Hons) in French and Spanish] I acted, directed, produced and stage managed a few productions. I found Producing and Stage Managing the most rewarding.

In your opinion, what are the most important skills for a Stage Manager to have?

To have a level head

Be able to see things from lots of different angles/opinions

Never be afraid to ask questions

To have impeccable time management skills

Be a good people person. Know how to speak to people

[Specifically for Musical Theatre and Opera] Be able to read music!

What do you consider to be the most exciting aspect of your work?

An Open Dress Rehearsal or an Opening Night. If everything goes smoothly, you have done your job. Having all the technical elements and actors and musicians working in synch is the best feeling in the world for a Stage Manager.

What attracted you to choose the GSA?

Production at GSA is all encompassing. You don’t have to focus on your preferred subject until well into the end of the first year, which gives you time to breathe, and also maybe realise you like another aspect of technical theatre. For Stage Management it also gives you a strong foundation in all technical aspects, which is so needed for a successful career in the industry.

What is your happiest memory of your time at GSA?

My First show in the, then new, Ivy Arts Centre was Candide. I was Assistant Stage Manager on it, and being the first team to work in the space was thrilling. It was such beautiful music, and a great team and cast to work on it with, made it a very happy memory.

What would you say to anyone considering GSA?

Be prepared to work hard, and be pushed to your limits.

What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?

Never be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know something, ask.

Never say Yes straight away. Never Say No straight away. Say “We’ll see what we can do”.

Know your skill set and know your abilities. You will get caught out otherwise.