What Are Directors For? 

Convener(s): Sarah          

Participants: Nick Coupe, Regina, Rod, Sophia, Backi Hainis, Dave Johnston, Emily Kempson, Tom Creed, Anouk Kishti, Annette, Gail Sawyer, Jackkla, Thomas Hescott, Will Heather, Nick Moran, Paul trussel, Jen Lunn, Rajha Shakiry, Mark Rhow, Sophia Lersmon, Lucy Pw, Binoya Solanki, Tom Brocklehurst

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Here are some of the answers I was given:

  • People Management
  • Creating a warm room
  • Outside eye
  • Stimulation
  • Reassurance
  • Giving notes
  • Pushing people further
  • Admin and publicity
  • Creating a space, creating goalposts
  • Cultivating an atmosphere of trust
  • Creating a safe space
  • Creating a dialogue
  • Finding a common language
  • Asking why
  • Liberating the story
  • Communicating

We pondered whether it’s possible to make theatre without directors. A lot of directors thought it wasn’t, but there are examples of groups achieving this. If people are good enough collaborators, a director’s job becomes less important or possibly completely redundant.

We thought bad directors have a failure to communicate with their team, or concentrate only on actors. Is it bad to nurture the neediness of actors? Some actors want to be told what to do – is this ok?

A playwright had lots of useful things to say about working with a director who did not take the time to understand what he had written, and there was criticism of directors who have closed rehearsals when working with new writers; the writer/director relationship is a difficult one, it seems.

We also talked about the relationship between directors and designers/othe members of the creative team. This is often neglected in training and in ‘real life’.

We discovered that in Holland, directors are usually trained with designers rather than actors, which leads to a better ability to collaborate and to the theatre practice having a much more holistic process/result.

We talked about continental companies who work without directors. If anyone can remember the names of a couple that were mentioned, please write them down for me! (Tegestan?)

Two phrases that I will take away with me:

“What are you trying to achieve?”

“Conjuring meaning from within.”

Thank you for all your contributions.