My Opera Job - Paula Tierney

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019
LLTO Rehearsal

Company stage manager, Paula Tierney is responsible for, well...just about everything. If you need something done, she's the woman to ask. Read on to learn more about her opera job.

Can you describe your job in a nutshell?

I head up the stage management team and work alongside all the departments to help deliver the production from planning to stage performance. Day to day scheduling and people management take up a large chunk of it.

How did you get to be working in opera?

I read music so very soon after I started working in stage management, I was approached by Opera Theatre Company, Opera Ireland and Wexford Festival Opera. There are very few score-reading stage managers in Ireland so it’s a bit of a niche role.

What’s an average day in your job look like?

There is no average day… sometimes it just feels like I’m herding cats in a large open field!!

What’s the most challenging thing about your job?

It changes depending on the production. Sometimes it’s people management, other times it’s logistical. Probably when there are large companies of 60 plus then it becomes a bit of a scheduling nightmare trying to fit in everything: music calls, production rehearsals and costume fittings.

What’s the most fun thing about your job?

The people I work with. The craic scale is usually fairly high…

What’s one thing about your job people mightn’t expect?

That sometimes cleaning out dressing rooms and sweeping stages are as important as managing the actual shows.

What’s your favourite thing about working in opera?

Easy one, the music and the people I get to work with.

What’s your least favourite thing about working in opera?

There’s very little not to like. Probably photocopying repeats in Handel opera. The hours are long sometimes, particularly in production week.

What’s’ your favourite opera?

Hard to pick one… though recently one of my favourites was Acis and Galatea by Handel.