The most important job of a director is to find an answer to the question, "What are we trying to say and do with this play or musical?" The great joy of directing is serving as the unifying voice among the many people involved in a production, steering the many ideas and artistic decisions that arise along the way into a final, effective, cohesive product. From the selection of the piece to be performed until the end of the very last performance, directors are at the core of the artistic vision of every NMP show.
New Minowa Players selects directors each season based on proposals written by anyone interested in directing. No prior directing experience is necessary. At the proposal stage, we ask directors to share the piece(s) they are interested in directing, any artistic vision they have for each of those pieces, which production(s) in our season they are interested in, and whether they have specific people in mind to serve on their production team.
Once approved, it is the director's responsibility to begin organizing their production (with the support of the NMP board when necessary). Before the first rehearsal can take place, directors need to consider the technical needs of their show and put together a team to help meet those needs. Common production team members include production managers, musical directors (for musicals), costumers, set designers, and lighting designers, though some shows may necessitate other roles as well. Directors are also responsible for organizing and conducting auditions, casting the show, and then scheduling rehearsals once the show is cast.
Once production has begun, directors find themselves fulfilling many different duties. During rehearsals, directors communicate their artistic goals and vision for the piece to their cast and production team and help guide actors' artistic choices in terms of blocking, delivery, characterization, and more towards those goals. Some directors prefer to hold regular production team meetings to give production staff a chance to communicate and ensure that everyone is working toward the same overall vision. It is common for NMP directors to organize set and tech workdays for cast members and anyone else who might be interested to help build the set, find or make props and costumes, and do other work on technical elements.
In short, directing can be a large responsibility, but a good production team and the support of the NMP board can make it manageable even for newcomers. Guiding a show to completion and watching its underlying messages and goals blossom into an experience for audience members is extremely rewarding in a way quite different from being on stage. Without a director, any production would be an incoherent mess!