About Online Stage Manager / Four Style of Online Event

This article in Japanese was posted in Nov. 2020. I tried to translate it into English with my friend's support. Thanks, Clarence and Reiri!!

If you find strange a sentence or word, please comment on it.



One day, I received a grateful request from the Sumida City Cultural Promotion Foundation to give a talk online about my activity as an Online Stage Manager.  It was a good chance for me. 
Because I felt that the social mission of Online Stage Manager had ended and I have wanted to string my thoughts together about my activity from May to November 2020.
In this article, I am going to define Online Stage Manager while sorting and referring to some online events into four styles and to consider what is the next step of an Online Stage Manager.

About the Online Stage Manager

I checked my Twitter and it seems that I noticed that I became an online stage manager on April 21st of this year.

“Now I am starting to get the business of Online Stage Manager and have already joined 3 projects. The Covid-19 era starts.”

I temporarily defined the Online Stage manager as below.

Online Stage Manager is a staff who manages the overall progress of an event that takes place only online.


I think the social mission of an Online Stage Manager is finished. Then, when was the existence of an Online Stage Manager more important? 
On this topic, While referring to NHK news about Covid-19,  I am going to summarize how our society has changed with the virus.

  • January 16th:  The first Covid-19 infected person was found in Japan.
  • February 3rd:  The ship with Covid-19 infected people arrived in Yokohama harbor.
  • February 27th:  P.M. Abe requested to let all schools close.
  • February 29th:  Almost all museums in Tokyo are closed.
  • March 22nd:  The Fighting Event K-1 took place in Saitama Super Arena.
  • April 7th:  Japanese Govt. declared a state of emergency in seven prefectures. (It was soon nationwide.)
  • April 11th:  The number of infected persons per day was over 700.
  • May 21th:  Japanese Govt. ended a state of emergency in 39 prefectures. (It was soon all prefectures.)
  • June 2nd: Tokyo declared “Tokyo Alert”.  The Governor of Tokyo gave attention to avoid infection.
  • June 19th: Japanese Govt. loose people the regulation of moving across prefectures.
  • July 12th: The baseball teams resumed play in a stadium with an audience. But the number of audience in the stadium was limited.
  • July 22nd: Japanese Govt. started the “Go-To Travel” campaign*1
  • August 1st: The Govt. has loosened the number of event visitors limit.
  • November 3rd: Japanese rock band - THE YELLOW MONKEY - held a live event with 19,000 audiences in Tokyo Dome stadium. *2

The period is called “Stay Home Period” in Japan. Almost all economic activity stopped, and there were no people in the city as we stayed at home and did not go out.
Shibuya is one city in Tokyo but it was almost empty. The large LED vision put on the building showed the Governor of Tokyo spoken to avoid the virus. Who was she giving a speech to? It was like a dystopia. *3


“Stay Home Period” ended for one month and a few weeks. In the period, the event could not take place normally, because both artists and staff could not gather in the same place. Therefore, many online events began to be organized. In the situation, "Online Stage manager” was increased to be needed.

Case One:  “Stay Home Style”

In “Stay Home Period”, the below sketch can explain how events were organized.


In this format, every person (all artists, staff, and audience) access the same event space on the internet from each home. 

Reference List

I did not join the events on the list. But they are important events, I think. 

  • Travis Scott and Fortnite Present: Astronomical *6
    • Music live on Fortnite (Fortnite is an online game)
    • YouTube
  • TOKYO 03 comedy group “We are far apart from each other.” *7


I joined these events below, so I am going to explain more details.

YCAM Sports Hackathon 2020” + “Yamaguchi Future Sports Day 5”


Yamaguchi Central Art Museum[YCAM] has organized “Sports Hackathon” and “Yamaguchi Future Sports Day” every year.  I have joined them as stage manager for several years. This year, it was not easy to organize normally. But YCAM staff, especially YCAM Interlab Members, and UNDOKAI Association staff planned to do everything online. The theme is “But do that with everyone. All competitions are the world's first. The forefront of sports events!”. It’s so emotional! I got a lot of knowledge and skills at this event. Thanks to all staff and guests!

DrillBros  Open.mtg #20 *8


This April, I expected that many events would take place using the video chat applications, for example of Zoom.  So we tried to use it and organized an online meeting event. I attached this movie link and a link of the materials distributed to business acquaintances. 

DIY MUSIC on Desktop
  • Sound Live


Some artists played the DIY instruments on their desks and I distributed their performances on YouTube. Besides, The BreadBoard Band members as hosts of this event talked with them. Everything was done on Zoom.

Virtual Theater - Short Play Festival TOMEKOME Preview *9


In August, “Virtual Theater - Short Play Festival” I joined as an advisor took place at Wingfield Theater in Osaka.  In commemoration of release archive videos, We organized the online talk event. I was in Tokyo, other staff were in Osaka. (It is over 400 km between Tokyo and Osaka.) 

Break - TimeLine 

We are checking the timeline again.

  • April 7th:  Japanese Government declared a state of emergency in seven prefectures. (It was soon nationwide.)
  • April 11th:  The number of infected persons per day was over 700.
  • May 21th:  Japanese Government ended a state of emergency in 39 prefectures. (It was soon all prefectures.)
  • June 2nd: Tokyo declared “Tokyo Alert”.  The Governor of Tokyo gave attention to avoid infection.
  • June 19th: Japanese Gov. loosened the regulation of moving across prefectures.
  • July 12th: The baseball teams resumed play in a stadium with an audience. But the number of audience in the stadium was limited.
  • July 22nd: Japanese Gov. started a “Go-To Travel” campaign. 
  • August 1st: The Government has loosened the number of event visitors limit.
  • November 3rd: Japanese rock band - THE YELLOW MONKEY - held a live event with 19,000 audiences in Tokyo Dome stadium.

On the 21st of May, A state of emergency ended, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced let us start “New Lifestyle”. Museums, Theater, stores, and every place people gathered restarted under strict rule. Social distancing, wearing masks, keeping silent and using hand sanitizer, etc. In particular, the number of event admission was limited by 50%. But almost all organizers could not plan the event inviting audiences immediately. The reason was they were afraid of infection of Covid-19. Therefore the no-audience event took place for a while.

Case Two:  “No Audience Style”


This style is that artists and staff gather at the same place but audiences are not there. The audiences can watch the event via the internet using a PC, cell phone, and more.

Reference List

Rohm Theater Kyoto “PLAY! Theater at HOME 2020”

This event was organized every summer at Rohm Theater Kyoto but online this year. Talking, Concert, Dance, Music Live, and more! Several broadcasts were distributed somewhere in the theater at the same time. I want to let you see the time schedule of it. How exciting and difficult it is to organize this event! 




The hackathon took place at FabCafe Tokyo. Over 60 students participated in it from all parts of the country. Of course online. This hackathon is organized every year but it wasn’t the same event perfectly this year because of Covid-19.  After the event, some staff said “See you next year! ”. When I heard it, I was glad that this event could continue without stopping.

Miyu Hosoi “Vocalise”


This telepresence performance was performed by Miyu Hosoi. She performed using her voice in an anechoic room at NTT Intercommunication Center[ICC]. This voice was sent using Zoom to a reverberation room at ONO SOKKI and output from one powered speaker. Besides, the output voice was input by a microphone, broadcasted to YouTube. The details are on her website. *14

Chiharu Shinoda Online Performance “The 5×5×5 Legged Stool” at YCAM
  • Dance Performance / Lecture
  • Website

This performance style was the simplest “No-Audience Style'' for online events. But this stage was like a desktop on a laptop! This performance progressed depending on Anna Harplin’s dance score. Performer and audience migrated some space-time. When the audience had finished watching the performance, they got a strange feeling that when did we watch it, how did we do it, who did we do it with.

Case Three: “Public Broadcasting Style”


Public broadcasting is the broadcasting and recording of television and radio programs with the audience. (Quoted from Wikipedia Japan.)

The broadcasting was done before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the following points are different from the previous ones.

  • The rate of using the audience area is not 100%.
  • Increasing paid broadcasting events.
  • We have gotten used to watching online events.

Reference List

Many events have been done in this style. There are two events I want to pick up.

Virtual Theater Short Show Festival


I joined the “Virtual Theater Short Show Festival”  as an adviser. 
“Could we create different expressions for the audience in theater and audience online each at the same time?” “Could we remain the expression and the result of experimentation to theater artists 100 years from now?” was the concept of the festival. 



When I organized “SEIKO HOUSE vol.8”, we could not invite our audience, therefore the event was “No-Audience Style”. But vol.9, they came back to the CBGK Theater!  At the request of the government, the rate of using the audience seats had to be held to 50%. So we also broadcasted the event for the audience who could not join it.
At this event, when the theater opens before the show starts, there is s special content for audiences to have fun. The content is using the “Audience Sit Down Judge System” in which some computers judge whether the audience sits down or not and the visual projected on the screen changes depending on the result.
At this time, we could use just 50% seats. So, our challenge was how to describe the seats that were not used. Our idea was that when two audiences sit down across the no-used seats, the online audience will appear on the no-used seats. Like a game of reversi! lol. I wanted to feel the online audiences were nearby.

Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum x Yamaguchi Cultural Art Center [YCAM] Online/Onsite Workshop Event “Invent your way to watching”


Do you know “Blind Talk”? A blindfolded person and a person looking at the work are paired up, and the latter tells the former about the work in words.
In the workshop, the on-site audience, who were in the museum, were blindfolded persons and the online audience, who participated in the workshop via the Internet, saw the work and communicated it with words.
At first, the onsite participants could not see the work.
The online participants saw the work picture which was taken on high resolution and told onsite participants about the picture with words. After, the onsite participants saw the work directly. But the work exhibits in a showcase for saving, they have to see it from 1 meter far.
“ I can see the work, but it is a photo” “ This is real, but I can not see it well.”
This workshop is to learn to appreciate and to experience the difference in the resolution of information between real and copy. It is a very rich workshop, I think. *16

Case Four: “Hybrid Style”


There are audiences in both the online space and the onsite space. To the online guest, the event is broadcasted via the internet. It is called “Hybrid”. But I do not think it is Hybrid. A true “Hybrid” would be the form in this diagram.
The audiences are onsite and online, and the performers are onsite and online as well. There are not many examples now. So I am going to introduce the event that I joined.

APAF Exhibition 『フレ フレ Ostrich!! Hayupang Die-Bow-Ken!』+Happy Birthual Tamago Party


Tokyo Festival 2020 APAF Exhibition "フレ フレ Ostrich!! Hayupang Die-Bow-Ken !" Photo: Kazuyuki Matsumoto

The performance was presented in APAF(Asian Performing Arts Farm) 2020. APAF reported the article of the event on the APAF website. If you read it, you would know how hard the performance is and how many things it suggested. Please check it. (But this article is Japanese only.. sorry..)


The scope of the online stage manager

I classified broadcasting events In the Covid-19 pandemic into four groups. In Addition, I try to classify them by whether they are online or not.  

  1. Stay Home Style
  2. No Audience Style
  3. Public Broadcasting Style
  4. Hybrid Style

I have experienced the events I introduced in this article, I feel that the scope of the online stage manager should be just “Stay Home Style” only”.
Why? Around the work, 2 stage managers are not needed. If there are 2 managers, the staff will be confused. And I would be confused myself. “Which instructions are more important, by the stage manager or the online stage manager?” 
When I joined the “Public Broadcasting style” event as the online stage manager, I was confused and worried secretly. The camera staff saw through my confusion post a photo and comment on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by chanmaru (@chanmmaru)


So, What occupation is to adapt the least 3 styles? Yuko Uematsu, APAF staff, suggested the “Online Technical Director” instead of "Online Stage Manager".

Online Technical Director

“Online Technical Director” is to connect the activity onsite and online. 
Almost all professional staff have been confused by mixing the online and onsite in the present situation. I have seen them pray to god because everything does not go smoothly.

"Online Technical Director" removes their worries and supports them to create new expressions and activities.


  Online Stage Manager Online Technical Director
Contents Managing the event. 
Suggest the web tools everyone can use in broadcasting.
It will be more of directing and providing technical solutions in relation to specification that can cater for online / onsite expression.
Scope All of the event a part of the event
Development of broadcasting environment Because each person stays at their home, they need to set up a broadcasting environment themselves.(Supporting to connect to the internet via the internet.) Development of broadcasting environment onsite. Arranging the operators.  Sometimes arranging the operators, too

The online Technical Director seems more simple than the online Stage Manager. It’s ok. 
From now, many events will be broadcasted. So, the online technical director is going to be on events as a matter of course. Therefore it is better for their name to be simple.


I put the stage manager, the online technical director, and 4 styles of the online event together on this article. Such a long article!!
Many people told me “There will be many jobs for the online stage manager from now”. But I could not agree.
A person who said that to me may combine “online stage manager” and “online technical director, '' and feel that they are the same.
The online stage manager’s big role like the rescue team has come to an end. From now, their presence will become like a town doctor. Many people could be online stage manager.
And the online technical director will join the middle or more scale of the event, I think.


These jobs are new for me. I had not understood these jobs well yet. So I could not explain many people who let me join each job and I could not complete all the work which they wanted to let me do, I feel. I would like to show my appreciation to all of you who work together. Thanks.


How is “Public Viewing”? Japanese Karaoke room like the contemporary church?

In this article, I would like to put 4 events on the Covid-19 pandemic together. So I did not write about “Public viewing style”. In Japan now, people can not be together in an unclosed tiny space because of preventing Covid-19 from spreading. Most organizers of the live event do not recommend that way of seeing the program.


There are a variety of public viewing styles

Recently, we can use the internet in karaoke rooms. So, some people go to the room and see the live broadcasting. It is so fun to watch it with friends, so they want to do it. 
Distribution copies the idol. Some people worship it and sing a song together. This situation is in many Karaoke rooms in Japan. Therefore the karaoke room is like a church, I feel. lol.


まいやん卒コン対ありでした!ドームで見たかったけど卒コンでみんなでコールできてよかったです!!#乃木坂46 #白石麻衣卒業コンサート #ガールズルール #白石麻衣

♬ オリジナル楽曲 - まつりまつり

This movie was recorded and posted in 2020.

What's a rich appreciative experience?

About the stage play and the live event, It is best to experience it live, most people have said for a long time. When live broadcasting was very popular 10 years ago, “As live broadcasting increases, live event’s aura become stronger.” I feel it too.
But the value turned over.
The performance I joined as an online technical director went ahead in Tokyo Art Theater. The theater had strict rules to prevent Covid-19. The seat was separated largely, all audiences had to wear each mask and sterilize their fingers. They were forbidden from chatting.
This performance was attended by audiences. Aokid, a dancer, greeted the audience in the theater and online participants. Online participants could say something but the audience in the theater did not.  As the story progressed, online participants drew a picture and ate some sweets. In the theater, they could not do that. Just watching.
After the performance, we checked the questionnaire by the audience. Some comments of the audiences in the theater are “We were not free. We were uncomfortable" with negative feelings.
Even at the festival that preceded this performance, most audiences said “We are happy to be watching it in the theater. Therefore,  I was surprised by the opinions of the audiences in the theater. In this time, we can analyze the rich appreciative experiences, I feel. The timing of consideration has come. 

*1:"Go to Travel" campaign is the government covering several percentage fees of travel instead of tourists. It was going to start from the end of summer but the government did early.

*2:This live event has a very important meaning. At first, this was organized with 19,000 audiences in a large space. Next, it was ROCK MUSIC LIVE. The large-scale of events like this was rare yet in the world at this time. 
Sep. 11th, Japan government institutions “COVID-19 Information and Resources” deregulated the number of event admissions. But they divided between the event what the audience shouted and not, and changed the rule to each. The latter has been regulated strictly yet now. Under the situation, this event started and achieved success. Because all artists, staff, and audiences cooperated with each other. After two weeks after the event, the organizer announced that nobody infected the virus.  

*3:We can check the strange sight of Tokyo at that time on a music video of NOGIZAKA46. NOGIZAKA46 is a Japanese girl's pop music group. The video is very important reference material, I think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gD76kKWKsE&feature=youtu.be

*4:This play was released at the beginning of May. So early it was! The form of playing was smart and simple.

*5:The style of a play using Zoom was called “Zoom Theater”. In the story, the characters were students who could not go to the university from entrance to graduation. They always joined classes and parties from their home. This story suggested the real-life of Japanese university students. Currently, they have hardly been able to go to the university yet.

*6:Travis performed live music on "Fortnite". "Fortnite" is an online game and people throughout the world play it.. When I watched YouTube, this event looked like the future, I think. Certainly, we are able to do everything in the game world. Artist’s scale would be big like some building, and the audience could fly. This event proposed to be a possibility of a live event in the future.

*7:During the period of Stay Home, many Japanese comedians tried to do an online show. This showing was especially great as it made use of the characteristic of Zoom.

*8:Drillbros is a creative unit. Takashi Hongo and I have activated it since 2010. Mainly activities are research on the relation of live events and movies. Recently, we started the “2022” project.

*9:TOMEKOME - this means stopping a movie and doing comments.

*10: I was surprised by the graphics of this game “GRAN TURISMO”. It was very realistic and beautiful. And in this show, the style of the motorsports tv show was expressed using a web camera for driver / player. Particularly, the screen layout. It looks easy to realize it but not. I am sure the staff researched many things and experimented many times.

*11:HONDA Theater Group has many theaters at Shimo-Kitazawa in Tokyo. In this pandemic, those theaters must be closed. In June, the main theater reopened with no audiences and broadcast. This broadcast sold paid tickets. Until this time, broadcast via the internet was free basically.

*12:The broadcast of music concerts before pandemic always distributed just the performance on stage. And cameras were placed not to disturb the audience watching the show. In no audience situation, seats do not need to be placed. Therefore the camera could be placed anywhere and moved. Broadcast changed from a flat expression to flexible. Some artists who could dance and sing adopted this style.

*13:This is a good example of how much work an ad agency and a production company can do remotely to promote a product. We're just playing rock-paper-scissors remotely, lol. I've always been told that online events are "easy to do", so for those people, I showed the scene at the beginning of this video where a lot of equipment is set up.

*14:After all, I did not meet her directly once while preparing for one month.  lol.

*15:This is my best piece of Japanese performance published online in 2020.

*16:In the workshop, these staff used many ideas and techniques that they experienced in many online events. They all understood what we need to pay attention to in online events. Each staff member was positioned as suitable. In the event in this style, the organizer often lets either onsite guests or online guests feel alone. To avoid this sad situation, the organizer sent the facilitator and supporter to online space and onsite space, and they always cared for the participants. 
This system would be beautiful, I said to this event organizer. If I organize the online event, I will think about it based on the workshop.