4 October 2012

Theatre directors take responsibility for the overall creative production of plays.

The director comes up with the 'vision' for a production.
The director comes up with the 'vision' for a production.

What is the job like?

The director comes up with the 'vision' for a production, and leads the cast, technical crew and design staff to deliver the finished show.

On larger productions they may also work with choreographers, musical directors and fight arrangers. Different directors have different ways of working, and even the same director might vary their approach from play to play.

At all times, you also have to bear in mind the constraints of production. Your vision needs to be possible in the space it is being shown in, and you need to make sure your project doesn't run out of money. 

Some directors are also writers, and may direct their own authored productions. Most directors are self-employed. They may also be employed as artistic directors or resident directors in particular theatres, or be attached to a particular theatre company. 

In many ways the director is the key figure in a theatrical production, coordinating everything from the casting to the final performance. As a director you are crucially responsible for the artistic interpretation of the play. If it’s a new play, you may also spend a lot of time working with the playwright on the script and the best way to stage it.

The director is the key figure in a theatrical production.

Directors may also spend time working as assistant directors. This means being part of the core creative team on a production, and working closely with the director.

It can mean simply being a sounding board for ideas, or keeping tabs on key moves in rehearsals. On a big production, it can mean directing whole sections of the script.

How do I get into directing? 

At school, getting involved with drama as much as you can is a good place to start. Find our whether there are any local, amateur or youth theatre groups you can get involved with in your area.

Make sure you read as many plays as possible, and take any opportunity you get to go to the theatre. 

If you are also interested in acting, drama school may be an option, but many of the directing courses on offer at places like RADA are MA degrees

If you decide to go to university, look for a university with opportunities to get involved with student theatre. Some directors start out as stage managers, then move into assistant directing and progress from there.

If you do decide to do an MA degree course, you will need to have amassed some experience of directing, whether amateur, student or otherwise, before applying. You could also take a number of short courses and then consider setting up a theatre group or company. 

An MA in Theatre Directing is only one way into the industry. Take care to research the course before applying so that you are sure it will give you the experience you want. 

Also of interest

Stay updated

Sign up for our weekly careers newsletter

View our privacy policy.

Related jobs & apprenticeships

Related events & opportunities