Exploring this Job
Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field should participate in every experience they can related to theater. Get involved in the school drama club, school theatrical productions, and/or community theater groups to hone your skills and knowledge. Attend a variety of theatrical shows to see how they are staged and performed.
Take classes in drama, theater, and English. As the majority of stage directors are self-employed, business classes will also prove useful. Many community colleges also offer non-credit courses in theater, acting and directing. These are a great way to learn new skills and meet others interested in theater.
Read books about drama and stage productions. Read classic plays. Talk to crew members and directors in your school and local community theater groups about what they do.
Stage directors oversee all aspects of putting on a play. They bring their creative vision and style to the production and guide cast and crew along the process of staging a dynamic and entertaining show. Directors sometimes work closely with playwrights to interpret a script for the stage. Other times they make a play uniquely their own by imprinting their personal vision onto it.
Stage directors make or consult on all key decisions of a production, including casting, staging, set design, lighting, costumes and makeup, props, music, and other elements. They work closely with the cast to polish and perfect their performances and direct how they deliver dialogue and move around onstage or in the theater to depict each scene. They also manage the crew, who create and revise costumes, sets, and props, and work the curtains and lighting during performances.
Stage directors have input with virtually every creative aspect of a play to give the play a unified look and tone. They work very long hours during rehearsals, determining what lines, actions, and moves best convey the vision of the script, as well as spend many hours in production, getting shows ready for opening night. Directors may call for and oversee changes along the way if an aspect of production is not working out.
Once the play is rehearsed and opens, the director's work is largely done. Sometimes directors remain with a production after opening to fine-tune or change aspects of the play based on audience reaction. Mostly, they move on to another project, although they may be called back to rehearse new cast members if the play runs for an extended period of time.
Much hinges on the director's work. His or her casting choices, staging decisions, and creative vision for a play can often be the deciding factor in whether the play is a hit or a flop.