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A day in the life of a backstage manager

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IT’S common for men to work outdoors and sometimes spend  nights at work to finish a project or task, but this week LIFT   spent some  time with a female concert backstage manager who often works outdoors and at night.

When we spoke to Nou Sokha, 25,  a concert backstage manager  for SSB Productions, she was busy preparing for a concert in Siem Reap province.

After reading the agenda for the concert, Sokha told me about her study background and her work.

She said she had not attended, or graduated from, any course related to the organising or production of concerts; in fact, she has a degree in  accounting from the National University of Management.

Then she learned organisation skills by spending a lot of her time watching Thai or Korean concerts, and observing  Cambodian and Thai backstage managers who had years of experience.

As she continued preparing her agenda, Sokha said:  “I have to spend about a month, or sometimes more, preparing the concert agenda and organising the singers, the band, the dancers, the MC (master of ceremonies) and the actors or actresses. “If there is any change to the agenda or the schedule, I have to spend a night at work preparing for it.”

I noticed that for an hour, Sokha had not sat still or relaxed.  But after the concert had been running for half an hour, she looked rather relieved, sat down and said to me: “Crazy working hours have become my habit, and sometimes I forget whether I’ve had dinner.’’

She continued that sometimes she had to modify a concert agenda immediately, then double-check it, because the singers asked to alter the order of the songs – sometimes because they had a problem with changing clothes and make-up, and sometimes because the music wasn’t right. 

But  whenever a concert runs smoothly and the audience cheers, she loves her job.

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