Handbook - Direction & Design

First, we choose the play. The committee will call for offers to direct a production and for suggestions for appropriate plays. Any society member may make a proposal. If more than one firm proposal is made to direct a play then readings will be held and the committee will decide which play to stage, considering aspects such as the quality of the play, casting issues, stageing issues, the likely cost, the potential audience, the similarity of the play to recent productions, and so on.

The chosen
Director will hold readings and/or auditions to choose the cast for the selected play. Where possible the play should be cast with existing society members (and this should be considered when the play is originally proposed). If it is necessary to bring in an actor from outside the society then they must become a member. When the play is cast, as well as notifying the chosen actors the Director must also inform the unsuccessful readers as soon as possible.

The Director is the driving force of the show. He or she must interpret the script to the actors, enabling them to present the story to the audience in a creative and entertaining way while remaining faithful to the author's intentions. They will work with the committee to appoint the rest of the production team, assigning individuals to be responsible for each of the activities listed below, and in the sections on production, stage and business management.

The Director will produce and publish a rehearsal schedule and will run the rehearsals, firstly blocking out the moves for the actors then adding interpretation and feeling to the performances. He or she must keep the rest of the production team informed of all relevant decisions and needs (such as costumes, properties and furniture).

The Director must liaise frequently with the Set Designer and the Lighting and Sound Specialists to discuss the creative aspects of their work, the opportunities the drama studio provides and the constraints which it imposes. More information on Lighting and Sound...

The Set Designer must produce a detailed scale plan from which the set construction crew, the Properties Manager and the Lighting specialist can work. To be practical the plan must take into account the precise measurements of the stage and the size and number of flats, rostra, steps etc which the University Drama Studio provides. This information is available on the downloads section of the drama studio’s web site.

The Director may wish to appoint an Assistant Director to consult with or perhaps to run occasional rehearsals in his or her absence. There may also be a need for specialist assistance such as a Musical Director, a Fight Director or a Choreographer.

As the person in charge at rehearsals, the Director is also responsible for generating a team spirit and sense of enjoyable enterprise amongst cast and crew. Rehearsals are a big commitment and we all do this for fun!
Although not mandatory it is traditional for there to be a post-production party on the Saturday night / Sunday Morning after the run. The Director will normally arrange for (though not necessarily host) the party.