In all productions big and small there’s a variety of aspects that need to be considered well in advance of the show. These are often integral to the performance but can easily get left out and forgotten about then rushed at the last minute. This blog is all about keeping on top of these things before they become an issue.
Some of the things you might want to consider well ahead of the last few weeks of rehearsals are:
- Costumes (including changing room arrangements and quick changes)
- Front of House
One of the things I always advise groups to do is hold monthly production meetings. Many groups hold these with each ‘head of department’ so typically you might hold these with the Director, Publicity Officer, Stage Manager (responsible for set & props), Head of Wardrobe and Front of House Manager. If each of these bases are covered and you give monthly reports to your colleagues you will find that this means you get a better chance to sort out problems as and when they emerge rather than in a rush when you suddenly realise the front cloth hasn’t been ordered for your front of tabs scenes.
Directors and Producers
I would also advise each company to appoint a Director(s) and Producer(s) as part of the core creative team. Each Director and Producer would usually compliment each others’ abilities and having a Producer releases the Director to concentrate on the shows creative direction rather than the organisation of the show which the Director needs to be involved in but not in charge of.
Some of the responsibilities an amateur theatre Director might have are:
- Blocking scenes
- Casting actors
- Having input into the costumes & set design
- Making creative decisions about the production
- Keeping cast informed about the progression of rehearsals
- Delivering notes to cast and polishing scenes
Some of the responsibilities an amateur theatre Producer might have are:
- Drawing up a rehearsal schedule
- Organising auditions
- Organising production meetings and producing minutes and actions from these
- To act as the communication touch point between the Director and the group’s committee
- Making organisational decisions about the production
- Organising the get-in/out at the venue
The Wider Team
Once all the bases are covered by the Director and Producer, they should then be able to rely on their wider team to support them to create the show. Of course there will be others and external parties who are called into play as rehearsals continue but if all of that groundwork is down then the rest should become easier about more about the production creatively rather than spreading the Director too thinly across all the skills/disciplines needed. Many amateur theatre Directors are required to act in one or more of the production team roles and this is ultimately unsustainable as the roles are not fulfilled to the same degree as if they are performed by individuals who can concentrate on them.