After years of working on stage you’ve decided that a life in the theatre is the right place where you want to be. The job of theatre director is what you want to do!
To make the best preparations you need to be well read. Social history, plays and novels, alongside biographies and screenplays – whatever is available find the time to read. Work as an assistant to a director or take any job in the theatre to see how the theatre works from the other side. Working in the wardrobe department or as a member of the lighting crew will give you valuable work experience. Learn to watch people and analyse them – an asset for producing true reflections of real life onto the stage.
Meet as many actors and directors as possible to get to know their work and understand what makes them be so good at what they do. Appreciate their skills of becoming a character and how they perform night after night. Meet reputable scenic designers who are responsible for the stage set design. They’ll work with you to establish the visual concept for the production and design the stage environment. It will be their responsibility to create the scenery and make plans to show all scenic movements, working closely with you to ensure each scene is creative yet true to the story being told.
Consider forming your own theatre company. This is the ideal way to learn about the directing process and allow you to choose the actors and all the other members of the production team that you willl be working with. You will also be able to practise using the skills you have to be successful. These include your ability to negotiate and to motivate and inspire your fellow workers, to use your time management and artistic skills alongside your awareness of technical issues and the workings of the theatre.
Theatre directors must also understand the issues of authorship and ethics as well as having an awareness of audiences, resources and investors. Find out of your local arts council offer any training bursaries for young directors or if grants are available to help you get started. It’s a very good idea to join the Directors Guild Trust and Directors Trust of Great Britain as this gives you access to advice guides as well as offering discounts on training and events.
At the end of the day if you have the financial support, the directorial talent and the stamina and persistence to succeed then you should just go for it!