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Directors oversee the artistic decisions made on a production to create a unified piece of theatre. They will often create a concept or vision for the production, lead the rehearsal process with the performers and creative team. 

In the rehearsal room, the Director works closely with actors to explore and understand the characters, and to make choices about the staging of each scene. Directors work with designers and other creative specialists such as composers to agree how the set, lighting, costume, sound or movement will help to tell the story.

There are many different ways a Director might begin working on a project. Directors working on new writing may be brought on when the script is ready, or they might be involved in developing and workshopping a script in collaboration with a playwright. Directors might put on a production using an existing play script, often aiming to bring a new interpretation to the play. Some Directors do not start with a play at all, but will devise in the rehearsal room with actors from an idea, research materials, or another medium such as a novel.

From Script to Stage

Lucy Kirkwood and James Macdonald give their tops tips for writing and directing, including knowing when a script is ready, choosing a play to direct, and the purpose of workshops.

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In conversation with Roy Alexander Weise

From growing up in Brixton to becoming Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange, actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith speaks to director Roy Alexander Weise during tech week for ‘Master Harold’…and the boys.

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How do you become a theatre director?

Follies director Dominic Cooke explains his journey to becoming a theatre director. He chats to his old friend, actor Sophie Okonedo.

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Becoming a Director

Directors come from a range of different backgrounds, and formal training is not essential. Some will have got involved in theatre through local and youth theatres. Many Directors will have trained as actors, or studied subjects such as English or Drama. Some Directors will chose to develop their practice by studying a Directing Masters degree.

Getting started
Directors are freelance, so you should be active in building a network of actors, writers and creatives who you might collaborate with. Some Directors will develop their industry experience by working as an Assistant Director - write to Directors whose work you admire. Directors will often create a company as a structure within which to make their own work, and to get programmed in smaller theatres or spaces. Feed your creativity by seeing as much theatre as possible, reading, watching films, listening to music.