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Guidelines for Aspiring Directors

Cartoon by Max India

The title of ‘aspiring director’ is to identify members who are not professional directors, but feel that they have a talent for direction.

AWL wishes to maintain a high standard of professional direction, while still enabling talented aspiring directors to emerge, and to guide them in playing a part in the development of AWL.

It is proposed to give these aspirants the experience of working with a professional director and cast, and to become familiar with the preparations necessary to direct a rehearsed reading. As with all professions, one may decide that “it isn’t for me”. AWL aims to make aspiring directors aware of the responsibilities of a director so that they may reach an appropriate decision for themselves. Accordingly, you are advised to study AWL guidelines for directors while preparing to carry out your responsibilities as an aspiring director.

Consultation with Director and Writer

Having been appointed to a reading as an aspiring director, you should read the script as soon as possible and then make contact with the director and writer to say that you are ready to join in the discussions regarding the writer’s intentions and the director’s approach to the work.

The writer and director must agree a version of the play with a running time of no more that one hour and forty minutes and, ideally, with suitable provision for an interval. You should expect to contribute to this process.

Casting is organised by the director, working in conjunction with the writer and the Casting Co-ordinators and based on the priority casting list. You must be aware that the casting may change if actors gain professional engagements. Your director will advise you in the event that this happens.

The writer will be responsible for the provision and distribution of copies of the script to the director, aspiring director, programme scheduler and cast members, and in the event that any re-casting may become necessary.


Cartoon by Max India

Once the rehearsal day has been booked, the organisation of the rehearsal and performance of the reading becomes the sole responsibility of the director.

As an aspiring director, you will quickly become aware that the shortness of the available rehearsal time is a major constraint on what may be achieved. Accordingly, you should find an opportunity before the day of the rehearsal to discuss the director’s proposed treatment of the play and the proposed blocking, so that this discussion does not intrude on precious rehearsal time.

You are encouraged to shadow the production by producing production and acting notes in parallel with the director’s notes and to compare notes with the director in due course.

You should be prepared to act as stage manager if the production requires it.

Apart from the above, your role at rehearsal should be that of an attentive observer of the production and the acting, consulting with the director as appropriate. Do not be surprised if the director has to change his/her plans during the rehearsal. This often happens as practical issues emerge in performance or because of the limitations of the playing space.

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