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California Community Theatres: 

Finding Directors

 Survey results are from Summer 2017


Who is responsible for securing directors for your productions?

Artistic Director

Board of Directors

Executive Director

Play Selection Committee


How do you find new directors to work with?

They apply

Social Media

Put out a call for people interested

"Usually from people who show interest. But they must assistant direct at least one show before being approved as a director."

Contacts within the profession, research, relationship development, mentoring those who are ready to take that step.

Interview, watch work at other theater groups.

We put out a "Request for Submissions" in June of the previous year. Directors are invited to submit a show and a breif resume if they are new.

Most of our directors are people who have worked with us before or performed in a production. We also put out an email blast newsletter searching for new production staff.

How are directors matched up with productions? (i.e.: potential directors offer shows they would like to direct, or vice versa)?

Directors suggest and/or we select directors for selections the board makes.

Selection of productions.

Directors offer up to 3 shows they would like to do. Board of Directors decide on the play.

"I listen to what show(s) the person has a passion for as well as matching them up to shows that fit their style/personality."

Most people pitch a show and a director is either lined up with it or we must find one.

I compare the calendar timing, artistic needs and complication of the production with the skills and availability of the directors I am considering.

Different directors have different strengths. Some don't do musicals, for example. We do our best.

Directors submit a show they want to direct.

After we announce our season, we take requests from directors for the titles announced.

Are your directors paid? 

"I find you must be constantly cultivating new directors."

There is only a $200 stipend so I picked not paid. It never covers expenses. Directors are often the ones pitching shows. Finding new directors- Some come from out of the area with experience, sometimes this experience is complete BS though, but for the most part, we have been lucky. We usually have a "new" director work with an established director as an AD and'or we ask for a resume. It kinda depends on the interview process as well. The Production Committee interviews the directors along with their pitch. One of the key questions I ask is, "what are the key "themes" of the play. If they tell me A.R. Gurney's "Sylvia" is about a dog, then they do NOT get to come near the theatre. If they tell me it is about a relationship or a married male falling in love with an enticing young girl or the thought of falling in love with someone other than his wife, then they get it. I have seen "experienced" directors have no clue about the actual play other than the plot, how dreadful. Unless it is a farce with no plot or a thin one.

This is one of the many complicated areas of my job. Finding the right director for the right show is tricky. I like to encourage new/young directors, and that takes quite a bit of time and mentoring. I also like to give our casts the opportunity to learn and improve their skills by giving them directors who are highly skilled, well trained, experienced, and good communicators. There are people in the community who would like to direct and who do not have a skill set I feel sure of so I don't use them. That can be disappointing and frustrating for both the would be directors and for me. Sometimes over time we can develop a relationship and I can advise them about areas I would like to see more strength (ex. learning to read music, learning about the dynamics of staging, learning to work with actors and communicate clearly and creatively, etc.).

In a small community, it's difficult. There aren't many options, and the good directors are in high demand.

If we are short on submissions, we will call and recruit Directors from those we know of in our region.

"This may be different at other places, but we have found fewer and fewer of the younger generation want to direct. They are content to just be in productions, which is less responsibility. That desire to be the creative force behind a production just doesn't seem to be in many younger people today."


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