What does a Stage Director do?

A stage director is in charge of all aspects of a theater production’s creative aspects. Interacting with script writers, auditioning and hiring actors, conducting rehearsals, overseeing the production crew, and making all other creative decisions are all part of the director’s job description. A stage director can work with a theatrical production, a dance company, a musical group, or any other performing arts group that takes the stage. Most stage directors have worked in various aspects of the theater and/or studied theater in an academic setting.

A production’s stage director is responsible for bringing all of the creative elements together. If it’s a new play, for example, the director and playwright may collaborate closely, adapting the script as needed. The stage director is usually in charge of auditioning, hiring, and rehearsing the actors. The stage director’s job also includes providing post-performance feedback to keep performers informed about the production’s strengths and areas for improvement.

The production crew and stage directors collaborate closely. Costume designers typically report to the stage director, who has the final say on the costume design’s effectiveness. The lighting crew receives instructions from the stage director and makes adjustments based on the director’s specifications. Stage directors ensure proper placement of musicians on stage, determine the appropriate volume for the music, and assess the appropriate musical mood for the overall production in musical productions. Stage directors are involved in determining the timing of dancers’ entrances and exits, as well as the location of the performers on stage, if choreography exists.

Because there are few permanent professional director positions, most stage directors must be willing to travel. When directing a stage production on a cruise ship, some directors are required to travel with the cast and crew. Some directors work in their local communities, directing local productions. The high level of competition for directing jobs often necessitates a director’s willingness to relocate to a new city, state, or country.

Individuals can prepare for a career as a stage director taking a variety of paths. Many directors began their careers as actors. Others spend time in local or community settings studying with seasoned directors. Another common route is to enroll in a university program that teaches all aspects of theater production. Some stage directors have completed independent theater workshops that teach basic to advanced directing skills, despite having no formal academic training.