4 Weeks! You rehearse and rehearse!

Here I am again… spending my evening in a darkened theatre preparing for an opening.

My job as the director is almost complete, but the final stretch is the busiest with all the tiny details coming together. It’s frustrating and exhilarating and you always wonder if it will ever come together. But somehow it always does – “it’s a mystery.”

i cant its tech week

In Kiss Me, Kate! a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew the cast sings of their nerves before the show opens.

Four weeks! You rehearse and rehearse…

Three weeks! And it couldn’t be worse…

One week! Will it every be right…

And out of the hat is that big first night!

So… soon it will be first night. Very soon. There’s always nerves involved and there’s always something that you wonder if it will ever work or ever conform to your vision, but time will march on no matter what efforts you may make to the contrary. So you do the best you can and you spend all your free time with your team and your cast and crew to get every last detail perfect. Each show has it’s own particular hurdles, be they technical or artistic and no matter what, you cross your fingers that the efforts of your team will be fully recognized.

Perhaps that’s why I feel the need to attend almost every performance of the shows I direct. I get so connected to the entire project and feel the need to morally support it right through to the end. I suppose if I directed shows that lasted a whole lot longer, I wouldn’t attend all the performances, but here in my community, most shows run for about 8 performances, maybe 10 and it’s over before you feel it’s even started. You’ve got to make the most of it.

That’s a good life lesson, don’t you think? Making the most of something because you know it isn’t going to last – no matter how hard you try.

My share of the task/load/project

Everyone’s got to do their share, right?

They sure do and in theatre the share can be any size… but whatever you can give is worth it. Believe me.

Last night we had a mix up in our rehearsal. It turned out to be a great mix up as it meant we got to rehearse on our stage a little earlier than originally planned, but it meant moving a fair bit of stuff from one room to another and then packing it all away out of sight and mind to be safe from the Big Event that’s coming into the space this weekend. That kind of task could be unbearable or a heavy burden on one or two people, but that’s not what happened.

What happened was this, everyone volunteered to help move a little something. That many hands made all the stuff transfer and then disappear into protected areas in minutes. Something that would have taken the Director and Stage Manager hours to do on their own took minutes. That’s what happens in theatre – EVERYBODY chips in – even folks who can’t carry heavy things can help – and they do. Hold a door, pick up a coffee, turn pages for the pianist, whatever – it doesn’t matter what it is, every little bit really does help.

So, I’m asking you, right now, what are you going to contribute? I don’t care if it’s big or small or minuscule… just do it, okay? Someone will appreciate it.

To sum up… What makes the best…? (Part 10)

Good people. That’s what you need more than anything is good people who are willing to give their time to a project. Then you got to let them run with it! Give them the tools to succeed, support them and believe in them.


This community of theatre we work in is so accepting, so dynamic and so very, very rewarding. Take a chance on a new role in theatre. Push yourself to succeed and then give someone near you a push as well. You’ll never know what you can accomplish until you try.

The theatre needs you. It needs you to perform, to produce, to create, to direct, to sew, to dance, to sing, to sell, and most importantly, it needs you to attend and support the creative efforts of your community. So get out there and get involved. You won’t be sorry.

Share these with your friends and get them to join you in your love of theatre – they won’t be sorry either.

Part 10=People

Part 9=Actors http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-9/

Part 8=Directors http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-8/

Part 7=Music Directors http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-7/

Part 6=Choreographers http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-6/

Part 5=Lighting Designers http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-5/

Part 4=Costume Designers http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-4/

Part 3=Set Designers http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-3/

Part 2=Stage Managers http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best-part-2/

Part 1=Producers http://www.theloversthedreamersandyou.com/what-makes-the-best/

What makes the best…?(Part 8)



Lots of things, really, but we’ll just mention a few. A few vital things like, vision, planning, creativity and an ability to inspire others. The best directors I’ve worked with were able to see potential in others and bring it out of them. They could see the future character, or the singing ability or dancing ability or comedic/dramatic ability and they knew the performer could deliver. They knew it so intensely that could even give confidence to the entire team that some crazy difficult show or scene was possible – sometimes during supposedly insurmountable odds. Their vision and confidence carried the entire team to the finish line and even if there might have been some doubt or hesitation along the way, they wouldn’t let that stop the progress of the show.

The best directors have a plan for success. They get down to the business of planning their rehearsal process for success and they share that plan with the entire team. They are also open to suggestions from the team. No one is excluded and no idea is too small to be ignored. The best directors seek out ideas from their team and make sure all those contributions feel valued and honoured. You never know when brilliance will strike and you can’t possibly be the only person with good ideas. But if you’ve explained your vision and you’ve inspired your team, then you’ll definitely be setting the stage for great ideas and they’ll come your way. Be ready for them.

Creativity goes with the entire job – and is vital to every aspect of being a director. You’ve got to be creative in your casting, in your scheduling, in your promotion, in your staging, your design of your show and even in how you end your project. Always be on the lookout for new ideas, new ways of approaching your work and new ways to challenge your creativity as a director. It is taxing, for sure, but it is also very rewarding.

Choose a new project – get out there and plan for new challenges, it’s truly rewarding.

What makes the best….?

First in a series of opinion pieces about theatre personelle.

I’m always on the lookout for good people. Good people to work with on wonderful new productions. I enjoy it – the challenge of finding someone who I think, would be a great Performer, Costume Designer, Props Builder, whatever. Each role in the theatre production has inherent needs and a skill set that accompanies the role. Often, wonderful people will cross my path and I think, “Boy, he/she’d be a great Producer…” but if I ask them about it, they are frequently surprised or beg off and say… “Oh no, I could never do that. I’ve never done it before.” And I’m always thinking, “Well, then, how do you know you couldn’t do it?”

It can be a challenge to find new people who are willing to take on a behind the scenes responsibility and lately, I’ve had folks asking me, “What does it take to be a _________?” So, in pondering the question I thought I’d examine a few of the key roles on the production team – from my personal point of view.

Today, I’ll start with Producers.

Producers are tough, because no two are alike and no two see their roles the same. Some folks like be very hands off and others demand to be in the thick of the production. For me, a balance somewhere in between is the best. In my opinion, the best Producers are problem solvers and recruiters. Producers know people and enjoy meeting new people. They aren’t afraid to meet someone new and ask about their interests to find a way to get them involved in a production. Producers are good at finding the right person for a job and then empowering that person to do their best at it. They’ll find assistants and suppliers and cheap rentals and all on a tight timeline.

Producers solve problems. Non-stop. They solve everyone’s problems. Money problems, personelle problems, scheduling problems, construction problems, Diva problems – you name it, they have the confidence to deal with a difficult situation and not take it personally. They can smooth ruffled feathers and talk a beleagured director off the proverbial ledge. They can get all the actors, crew and peripheral people to come together in one place, at one time, for that commemorative photo and convince them that submitting their bio on time is of utmost importance.


Producers also know where and when to shine the light on excellence. Their pride should rest in the success of others: The Director’s success in acheiving the vision of the show, the Set Designer’s success in building or creating something new, the Costumer’s success in staying in budget while creating the show stopping gown, the actor’s accolades from the audience… All of this the Producer is willing and proud to promote – for the overall benefit of the show.

If you are an office manager, if you’ve worked in human resources, if you enjoy seeing others do well and helping them acheive their goals and if you can do all this while balancing a budget and keeping smiles on faces – then YOU are a potential Producer.

I’ve worked with some great Producers – but I know there are more of you out there. What’s stopping you?

Don’t YOU Wanna Be a Producer?