What do Actors want from Directors? 

Convener(s): Emma Bernard 

Participants: Jamie Beddard, Bette Bourne, Joanna P, Alyn Gwyndaf, David Shah, Jonathan McGuinness

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

We were all speaking as directors.

Jamie – wants to pin down what is directing. 

Every actor needs something different. Directing is the closest thing to being  a football manager.

Actor as child, director as parent? Do we want this? Actors treated as children become children? Director needs to be more robust.

[we need some actors in this group to really discuss this.]

Director needs to be trustworthy, reliable. Good at juggling elements and drawing people out. Opening hearts and minds.

Devised work needs a director (Joanna)

Different approaches are fine as long as they are clear.

Acting is easier than directing.

Actors want to have their hands held but given a safe space. Not too much concept imposed. More organic process? Actors are creators.

Student Director versus Experienced Actor who felt uncomfortable – egotism in young director. She said ‘It’s easy to make me happy’. She needed to keep people focused on the job at hand rather than her own ‘stuff’/

Do established / non-established actors get treated differently by directors? Everyone needs to be treated the same because everyone has something to offer.

Harder to work in screen environment.

Time pressure – calmness and respect.

Theatre can produce pressures as well and ‘should’ be kept outside rehearsal room – actors don’t really want to know?

Generosity of spirit – openness.

Actors don’t want to know about production hassles?

Actors if they are a real ensemble can be aware of the emotional impact of production hassles on the director,

Want a director to know you personally. Like a father? Can it be a mother? Is it the same? 

Want straightforward communication.

How do you create an audition environment that works for actors and directors.

Clear and honest.

Actors want to know why they’ve got the job.

Someone who is choosing you because of what you are.

The actor needs to feel informed before they come into the audition.

To be a proxy for the audience. 

99% of actors believe they are not very good. Can you create an environment where people don’t feel they have to prove themselves. Spend the first day of rehearsals with actors on their own.

Actors want direction. To eat together. The Job.