David McGraw honored for lifetime contribution to stage management

The Stage Managers Association will recognize McGraw and the biennial Stage Manager Survey he conducts at the Del Hughes Awards ceremony Oct. 28.

David McGraw, associate professor of arts administration, will be honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Stage Managers’ Association this fall for his contributions to the industry.

McGraw will receive the Special Recognition Award at the association’s Del Hughes Awards ceremony Oct. 28 in New York for nearly 20 years of conducting the Stage Manager Survey, the world’s largest study of stage managers. The results inform professionals, help them advocate for better working conditions and are also used in textbooks and as a primary source of scholarship.

Five recipients of the association’s annual Del Hughes Awards were announced June 20.

Since 2006, McGraw has spearheaded the biennial survey to examine practices, education and training, working conditions and employment in the industry. The most recent survey in 2023 — conducted with Elon undergraduate researchers and offered in English, French, Mandarin and Spanish — was the largest yet, collecting responses from 1,979 stage managers in 32 countries.

“I am overwhelmed to receive this special recognition, especially given the incredible careers of this year’s inductees,” McGraw said. “I share this honor with more than 30 former students who have assisted in the study since 2009.”

Since arriving at Elon in 2017, McGraw has mentored undergraduates in conducting four iterations of the study. Two of those undergraduates, Tara Patterson ’20 and Brianna Boucher ’24, co-presented the survey findings with McGraw at the Southeastern Theatre Conference.

The Stage Managers’ Association is the only professional organization for working stage managers across the United States. Its mission is to recognize, advocate for and provide continuing education and networking opportunities for stage managers across the country.