Beginning as a Director

Beginning as a Director

Getting started as a director, with or without a performance background.

Stuart Maunder
Auckland, New Zealand

Beginning as a Director

Getting started as a director, with or without a performance background.

Question:

Do you think you need a background in performing to get into directing? If not, what tips do you have to make the jump from other streams of performing arts (design, stage management, etc.) into directing?

Answer:

I certainly don’t think it is necessary to have a performing career, but it definitely can’t hurt! The most important thing for a director is to understand what it’s like to lay everything bare in front of an audience: if you’ve performed, great. If not: observe, listen, sympathise. It’s important to create a safe rehearsal environment where you and the cast can explore the work, experiment, make mistakes, laugh and try to discover things you never thought possible. The director needs to analyse the work, have a view on the work, listen to the actors (it’s no use trying to fit a square peg into a round hole), have the skills to draw the best from actors, and hopefully inspire the actors to give of their best. And those skills are best honed by doing it; no amount of theory and research can prepare you for the thrillingly daunting prospect of facing your first rehearsal with a new cast… all those expectant, hopeful, terrifying faces.