Who does what | Initial Questions | You and the stage manager

Who does what

CreativeTeam.pngA local theatre group approaches you to direct one of their productions next year. Make sure you know who's doing what from the beginning. A division of labour and jobs go a long way to successfully manage time.

There should be a producer, designers, stage manager, and technical director. People may not use the official titles but those jobs need to be done and preferably not by you unless you choose to do so.

I strongly recommend that you have a separate stage manager.

If the community theatre company doesn't already have them, get job descriptions for each of the key positions, including yours, and be certain everyone agrees on them. The company may have a set way of doing things or may be very fluid from show to show.

Initial Questions

Things to ask at that first meeting:
  • When does the show open?
  • When are auditions?
  • When do rehearsals start?
  • How long is the rehearsal period?
  • Where do rehearsals take place?
  • How long is production week?
Notice how many of the questions deal with time. How long is a question you should ask often.

These initial questions help prevent misunderstandings later on in Stages 2 and 3. The answers could range from a detailed list of exact times, days, and durations of auditions, rehearsals, and performances to the expectation that you are going to determine everything as long as the play opens on a particular date.

You meet with the play selection committee from the theatre group. They offer you the spring comedy next year. Here‘s the latest information on your show.

You get the plays out of the library and start reading. When you get the chance to choose the script, make sure it excites you. There might be tough times and when you're passionate about the show, that fervour will carry you through.

You and the stage manager

Standby.pngThe stage manager (SM) is your lifeline so choose wisely. Many professional directors will work only if they have certain stage managers as part of the team.

If available you should opt for a SM of the opposite sex. From a practical standpoint, if the leading lady is sick, one of you takes her part and if the leading man's ill, the other performs for him…a very efficient use of time.

If you can't do this then try to enlist an assistant director the same way for the same reason. It leads to superior results.

I know I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating: make sure you understand each other’s responsibilities. Exchanging or agreeing on job descriptions is a good idea.

next page

back to top

site map