Interested in directing for the Woodhouse Players? Here's a collection of resources that you might find useful when planning your show.
If you want to put forward something for us to do, then see how we choose plays first. If you think you'd like to direct something for us, but aren't sure what would be a good choice, you could consult the slush pile.
There are plenty of ways to set up a directing team. On a smaller show you might just have one director in charge of the whole project. For larger shows, or if you don't have much experience, you could consider directing in a team or separating the role of director (working with the actors) and producer (organising the costumes, props, admin etc.).
In general, a show typically has the following phases in rehearsal:
Read through (for timing)
Blocking (giving the actors their moves)
Singing Rehearsals (if it's a musical)
Polishing (re-running scenes you've already blocked)
Choreography Rehearsals (if there's dance or a fight)
Runs (doing whole acts or the whole show through)
Technical Rehearsal (to sort out issues with sound, lighting, working props etc.)
Dress Rehearsal (with costume, lights etc.)
However, every director has their own style. Depending on the play they may want to do workshops on particular skills, or split rehearsals up by character. There is no single solution.
Below is a production checklist for directors to follow. The timings are not exact, as different shows have different rehearsal periods, but it should give you a sense of all the things that need thinking about.
See the Committee page for the identities of the Production Co-ordinator, Treasurer and Publicity Officer.
Important Health and Safety rules from the Welsh Church elders - Health & Safety (click to download)
Time/Who does it
20-15 weeks to go
Director/Producer and Production Co-ordinator
15 weeks to go
Director/Producer and Treasurer
Director/Producer, Stage manager and Treasurer
Director/Producer and members of committee
c. 11 weeks
Director/Producer, Technical Team
Director/Producer, Publicity Officer, Committee and Cast
week of show
week after show
If you've got any questions then contact a member of the committee
Check availability of WCH and book performance dates.
Check availability of copyright (if applicable) Pay royalties.
Think through production values of show. Start work on costume and set design. Discuss budget issues
Advertise auditions – poster, website and e-mail?
Hold auditions and cast play, contacting all auditioners after a set decision time.
Confirm casting and members of crew. Check availability of cast and crew – Dates they will miss.
Design Poster and flyers and put info re production on website.
Book rehearsal dates – in particular Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Check clashes with Dance Group and Play Group and other WP events. Give out rehearsal schedule
Update rehearsal schedule and plan for extra dates for rehearsing and set –building and costumes
Send out mailings to people on contacts list – Send out a press release – Distribute posters and flyers
Sort out existing publicity photos and arrange for photos to be taken of new members
Send out e-mails to members of the group re forthcoming show, getting people to come to see it and help FOH or backstage
Finalise FOH helpers for Box Office, Audience Survey and Refreshments
Give programme details to programme writer
Liaise with playgroup regarding storage of playgroup equipment
Give out jobs to individuals for the production week, curtains, FOH photos etc
Give out jobs for clearing up after show
Ask all involved (including Director/Producer) for feedback to help with future productions.
Download our handy producer's guide, by Steve Balchin:
Producer's Guide (click to download)
Also, here are links for the two local arts councils we belong to - Redbridge and Waltham Forest.
On these sites you will find some information about local initiatives and events as well as information about funding opportunities and grants. The Waltham Forest site has a good section about particular grants that may be useful to directors.
The Front of House role covers all aspects of looking after the audience. The main jobs are:
· Staffing the box office
· Organising and serving refreshments
· Meeting and greeting the audience and answering any queries
· Making sure the public areas are clean and safe for our audience and other Welsh church hall users.
If you're interested in being a Front of House Manager, or helping out at a show, have look at the FOH guidelines document written by Jenny Moorby which tell you about the role in more detail.
FOH guidelines (click to download)
Here's a few useful tips and pointers:
When using the Welsh Church Hall for rehearsals and performances, DO NOT use equipment belonging the playgroup or other users of the hall. Not everything belongs to the Woodhouse Players. If you have to move anything that isn't ours, make sure it is replaced properly. A couple of other Welsh Church Hall ground rules are: no alcohol at rehearsals, no smoking, make sure doors are secure once everyone's arrived.
Plan well in advance for as much as you can. You will get much more done in rehearsals if you know clearly what you want to achieve when you walk into the rehearsal room. Tell the cast what your aims are, or they will find it hard to help achieve them!
Actors need both positive and negative feedback - and everyone likes praise (remember - for many of us this is supposed to be a fun hobby!). But different actors each need a different balance. See if you can find out from each actor early on what works best for them.
Lay down some ground rules for actors at the beginning of the rehearsal process (e.g. on lateness, how you want feedback, silence when others are performing) - don't assume everyone already knows the rehearsal room rules.
If you are working with people new to Woodhouse, or recruiting new people, make sure you know what to do. They'll need information about membership fees and we'll need various details from them. Talk to the group secretary about this.
Try to be consistent in what you are asking from the actors and make your expectations clear from the start, especially if working in a team of directors.
Technical matters - planning is particularly important here. Talk regularly with your technical/sound/lighting people and be prepared to take their advice if they are experienced. The clearer you can make your vision to them, the easier for them to come up with a solution that works for you. Make sure your rehearsal schedule includes enough time to get all the technical elements ready. Get actors to help.
If more than one show is going on simultaneously, show tolerance and respect for other directors who are working alongside you. Talking possible issues through in advance is a good idea.
If you run into difficulties that are too big for you to handle, do contact the committee asap for help.
After every show, we ask people for their feedback so future shows can run smoothly.
See comments on previous shows
Jack and the Beanstalk (click to download)