Behind the Scenes with Stefan Stout

Behind the Scenes with Stefan Stout

Tell us a little about yourself:

Growing up in a house filled with art, music, and wonderful people really set me up for a career in the arts. I hold a BFA in Arts Management from Emerson College and have worked as a lighting specialist for most of my career, but I have a very wide skillset that has served me well. I’m always learning. I love to cook and garden, and I enjoy spending time on the coast with my family.

How long have you been with the Houston Symphony?

March 2024 will mark my 5th year as Stage Manager, but I’ve been taking calls with the Symphony as a stagehand since 2005.

Tell us about your role as Stage Manager. What does that role entail?

There are many!  The analogy I use is that of the maître d'.  Knowing everyone and what their needs are, yields a better experience for everyone. Beyond the musicians of the orchestra, I generate, gather, and distribute information to the crew. A strong team needs space to work and the right tools/information to get the job done. Most importantly, the Stage Manager is a conduit for information between the Operations Department and the Crew.

What does a typical concert week look like for you and your team?

Monday is usually an off/dark day, but we’ve been busy coming back from the summer's renovations. Tuesday, we turn to the next concert.  Move the shell, reconfigure the stage setup to accommodate soloists, chorus, or a rhythm section, if it’s a POPS show.  Wednesday and Thursday are rehearsals, where the video team starts adding cameras and marking the shots. These rehearsals typically are not in order, to accommodate soloist schedules or special needs.  Friday morning is the final rehearsal in order to get a sense of flow. We take a five-hour break and come back to put on the opening concert.

What is your favorite part about your job?  

When the Maestro comes off the stage with a pleased look of satisfaction. Everyone came together in the moment: musicians, crew, etc. I can say that in my 32 years in the arts, this Houston Symphony is the most well-organized company I have ever worked for.  The others are great, but we’re awesome!

What is your favorite part about your job?  

When the Maestro comes off the stage with a pleased look of satisfaction. Everyone came together in the moment: musicians, crew, etc.

What are some of the more challenging aspects of your job?

The Houston Symphony, being the primary tenant, is not the only presenting organization at Jones Hall.  Occasionally, we must pack everything up, clear the stage for one day, and put it all back with precision when the other show clears.  We use lots of colored ‘spike’ tape on the stage to mark where things go, so we can maintain consistency between performances for the musicians and cameras.

What’s a fun fact about you that you would like our patrons to know? 

I’m also a beekeeper.

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