The Stage is a British weekly newspaper and website covering the entertainment industry, and particularly theatre. It was founded in 1880. It contains news, reviews, opinion, features, and recruitment advertising, mainly directed at those who work in theatre and the performing arts.
The first edition of The Stage was published (under the title The Stage Directory – a London and Provincial Theatrical Advertiser) on 1 February 1880 at a cost of 3 old pence for twelve pages. Publication was monthly until 25 March 1881, when the first weekly edition was produced. At the same time, the name was shortened to The Stage and the publication numbering restarted at number 1.
The publication was a joint venture between founding editor Charles Lionel Carson (then aged 33) and business manager Maurice Comerford (26), and operated from offices opposite the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
The Stage entered a crowded market, with many other theatre titles (including The Era) in circulation. Undercutting their rivals, Carson and Comerford dropped the price of the paper to one penny and was soon the only remaining title in its field.
The newspaper has remained in family ownership. Upon the death in 1937 of Charles Carson's son Lionel, who had assumed the joint role of managing director and editor, control passed to the Comerford family. The current managing director, Hugh Comerford, is founder Maurice's great-grandson.
In 1959 The Stage was relaunched as The Stage and Television Today, incorporating a pull-out supplement dedicated to broadcasting news and features. Derek Hoddinott, the main paper's TV editor, became editor of the new supplement.
The name and supplement remained until 1995, when broadcasting coverage was re-incorporated into the main paper. The name on the masthead reverted to The Stage, but in 2006, the paper introduced a blog concentrating on television, named TV Today.
The Stage Awards were launched in 2010. They are given annually and recognise outstanding organisations working in theatre and beyond in the following categories: London theatre, regional theatre, producer, school, fringe theatre, theatre building, unsung hero and international.
In August 2013 The Stage launched The Stage Castings, an online casting service with a video audition function.
In May 2019, The Stage partnered with the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and UK Theatre to launch Get Into Theatre, a website dedicated to theatre careers.
Charles Dance landed his first role in a Welsh theatre after seeing an advert in The Stage.
Alexandra Burke stated in an interview her family purchased the paper to find auditions when she was starting out: "My mum used to buy The Stage all the time for auditions for me. That’s how I got to go on [BBC TV talent show] Star for a Night with Jane McDonald."