Current Courses

" guys are endlessly helpful and supportive. Thank you!"

"The Orchestral Stage Management Day at the Barbican was amazing. I have always wanted to develop my knowledge of the orchestral side of the industry both personally and as a Stage Manager. I learnt so much working with the LSO staff and at the end of just one day I am confident that I could set up a full concert orchestra for any classical piece. How great is that? We also were able to look in on rehearsals as well . A day full of wonder and knowledge. I can’t recommend this course enough. Hard work but a huge new string to my bow!" (Course attendee in 2015)

SMA logoTraining Support Vouchers

These can now also cover some travel costs as well as massively reducing training rates for eligible members.- ONLY £30 for a full one day course!   Please take advantage of industry giving something back to hard working SMs, and remember no one else on the course or in the industry will know the price you paid!! 

Members who are unable to afford our upcoming Cueing to Music or Corporate Showcalling training at this time will shortly be able to apply for our fantastic Training Support Vouchers.  This scheme is generously supported by GDS and The Theatrical Guild -  and allows us to offer some training places at ONLY £30 per place on the full one day course.  If you need financial assistance to attend a course which would be beneficial to your career (potentially including a contribution to travel expenses over 50 miles) and you are currently unable to work (including temporarily) please let SMA know which course you would like to take (one course per member per calendar year), why you are currently unable to afford to pay the members price, and how you feel that your career would benefit from taking the course now. We will contact you to help you get the support that you need.  


Finance for Freelancers, London

(SMA reduced members rate on this course)

Course description

This is an essential course for every freelancer – it will take you through everything you need to know to manage the business side of your freelance career.

 "Empowering - after 10 years as a freelance, I finally have an idea of how to run a business."       

Dealing with: types of self-employment, the main financial regulations you need to observe. By the end of the course, you will have a good grounding in the major financial aspects of freelancing and how to make the most of what you earn and manage losses and debt.

Included in the subsidized fee are simple downloadable accounting spreadsheets and access to follow-up individual advice through David Thomas Media. The course will be taught in straightforward language - no business-speak!  

Specifically you will cover: 

  • Taking control: set-up costs, where to find advice on money/debt management

  • The financial regulatory system - what you need to know as a freelancer

  • Accountants – do you need one, and how to get the best out of yours

  • Types of self-employment, sole trader, limited company etc

  • Separating personal and business finance

  • How tax works, National Insurance, VAT

  • Getting organized: sorting the paperwork, keeping track of contracts, insurance issues, professional invoicing

  • Your game plan: business planning

  • Forecasting and managing cash flow

By the end of the course you should have a firm grasp on the essential financial aspects of managing your business as a freelancer.

Learning Outcomes 

  • Have a greater understanding of the importance of business planning and cash flow forecasting, as well as issues surrounding tax and national insurance.

  • Receive handouts with tips and tools to organise your finances and accounts.

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the financial regulatory system

Who Should Attend?

New and existing freelancers and anyone considering a freelance career.

Cost: BECTU members £75; SMA members £90; non members £110

Next Dates: 19th November 

Book and pay for your place HERE

The Vocation training course privacy notice can be downloaded here


This course is held at BECTU head office


This one-day course runs from 10.00am - 5.00pm with one hour for lunch (lunch not included).

Emergency First Aid in the Office and Studio, London

SMA Members Associate Rate on this course


Lazarus Training


BECTU freelance skills course

Course description

BECTU is offering a new first aid course for its members Associate and Non Members. It is a one-day course delivered by Lazarus Training, a media training company with a knowledge of the creative industries.

It is valid for 3 years and is tailored for creative industries workers.

This course could improve your employability as well as your safety and that of your work colleagues by improving the first aid cover on a call sheet.

Course content

Outline the SAFE approach
Perform, in a simulated setting, basic life support
Demonstrate, in a simulated setting, management of choking
Place a casualty in the recovery position
Outline the management of a casualty with chest pain
State the management steps for a casualty who has fainted
Outline the management of a casualty who is convulsing
Demonstrate, in a simulated setting, use of direct pressure to control bleeding
Demonstrate, in a simulated setting, use of elevation to control bleeding
Outline the management of burns
Outline the management of scalds
Discuss the recognition of shock
State the management steps for shock
Demonstrate, in a simulated setting, initial management of suspected fractures
Discuss recognition and management of common major illness.
List contents of available first aid kits

Full info here 

The cost of this course is £120 with a discount price for SMA Members of £102.00 inclusive of VAT . SMA Members should please Select Associate rate 

Book your place for London.

The Vocation training course privacy notice can be downloaded here


The next London course will take place at BECTU sector office on: 

27 November 2018

If you have any questions about the course, please contact Alisdair Cairns


This is a 1-day course starting at 09.30am and finishing at 4.30- 5.00pm.


SMA are always taking expressions interest for  many  possible courses

(Where you aren't able to attend the current upcoming course detailed above)

                           AUTUMN BOOKING NOW:      Cueing to Music Level 1         

AUTUMN BOOKING NOW:        Cueing to Music Level 2     □

 BECTU COURSES BOOKING NOW:   Creative Industries Safety Passport

Emergency First Aid & refresher      □
Finance for freelancers      □
PLANNED FOR THE FUTURE : Orchestral Stage Management with LSO     □
                   Props Sourcing & Making      □
                          Corporate Showcalling with Kate Salberg        □
                              Theatre Showcalling Masterclass      □
                             Elements of Company Management     □
                                  Elements of Stage Management (SMs)     □

WATCH THS SPACE:   Working with QLab      
                           Stage Pyrotechnics Course for SMs   
                             Mental Health First Aid       
Make 2018 the year to upskill, and widen your SM career horizons and prospects!



Please email the SMA Office and we will notify you when your preferred courses are taking place


Alternatively please click on this link and complete the Training Interest Survey

Our very effective and practical Cueing to Music  courses are always popular, enjoyable and sometimes career- changing!       

   5% discount for booking two courses or more, including all SMA courses, or groups on any SMA course  


‘I went on the SMA’s Score Reading Level 1 and Level 2 course in May 2014. A year later, I was offered a job as an Assistant Stage Manager at Glyndebourne Opera House. The course was an incredibly valuable experience and is clearly highly recognised.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without the SMA’s opportunities.’


Supporting Excellence in Performance

 All SMA Courses finish by 4.30 PM to allow for evening show calls.    

 Earlier times or one to one courses can sometimes be arranged

SMA Members say " discounts helped me to improve my skills and move on to better paid work"

(Don't forget you can also get SMA discounts on courses from BECTU, ABTT and others. If in doubt, ask!). 




If you would like to develop your career by pursuing an SMA training course but are prevented from doing so by financial hardship please contact The Theatrical Guild to discuss eligibility for financial assistance. Tel: 020 7240 6062 or contact SMA HQ

  • Cueing to Music - We run this course, at two levels, at least once a year, and when there is demand we are able to run it a second time. The  Level One and Two courses were held in Spring 2018. When there is no course date indicated on this page, please do still express an interest as we will always attempt to organise it when there is sufficient demand. Contact us
  • Organise your finances/ assertiveness/ negotiating contracts - The majority of stage managers are self employed and dealing with the financial side of working for yourself can seem daunting. If there is enough interest, we'd like to take some of the stress away with a course which addresses all of the common, and maybe some not so common, queries and pitfalls, whilst also giving you the confidence to negotiate your contracts, something that we stage managers don't have agents to do for us! Interested? Contact us

Learn a new skill

Learn how to find courses in British Sign Language  . Courses are available from:

Frank Barnes School
Jubilee Waterside Centre, 105 Camley Street, London, N1C 4PF
18 Leather Lane, London, EC1N 7SU
Hackney Community College
Shoreditch Campus, Falkirk Street, Hackney, London, N1 6HQ
Alternatively, you may search for other accredited courses through the Signature website following this link:

How Safe is Your Theatre?
Run by respected trainer Geoff Joyce, get together with colleagues and book this course at your theatre or register interest with the SMA and with enough interest we’ll consider running one in-house.  SMA Members receive discounted rates
This course examines the health and safety regulations that specifically relate to theatre staff, stage managers, technicians, workshops and front of house staff.
Read the full course details here -  including contact details for more information.

Manual Handling Training.  Out of date training in manual handling results in strains and muscle damage due to twisting and pushing or straining- we are aware of a number of cases where members lost many days and even months of work as a result of these injuries last year. Geoff Joyce offers a complete course in all areas of manual handling, and SMA Members receive discounted rates.  Contact the SMA for more details, or consider booking a course for all of your backstage crew - especially if the risk assessment involves lifting or manoevering heavy furniture, pushing trucks or heavy and tricky scenery moves.

HM Revenue and Customs: Free short courses on tax issues
'Like many I thought I would struggle with the financial aspect of freelancing, but there's a lot of information out there. I pretty much had my hand held through my first tax return, courtesy of HM Revenues and Customs'.
They run free, short courses (an afternoon) in most areas, it's pretty easy to get, but do check it covers stage managers and UTR as well.


NEW for SMA Members:
BECTU:  SMA has negotiated special rates (close to BECTU Members rates) for SMA Members. Contact SMA first whenever you see a BECTU course of interest.
ISMSMA has also negotiated similar with The Incorporated Society of Musicians 

>ALSO always check these for the latest news on training WITH SMA DISCOUNTS:

ABTT: Association of British Theatre Technicians - a year round programme of industry leading technical training
RC-Annie: For all your violent needs
Stage Electrics: too many training courses to list, including Portable Appliance Testing, Introduction to Sound, LEDs etc.
UK THEATRE (TMA/SOLT) : similarly - many, many relevant courses
ITC: Independent Theatre Council - An extensive and excellent year round programme of very relevant courses
PLASA: PLASA have a huge database with lots of training from outside the theatre sector - nonetheless relevant - particularly if you are interested in technical aspects.
Contact SMA if you see any interesting training- we may have a special rate or be able to negotiate one!