Last week I blogged about dealing with scheduling and conflicts for actors. But it’s not just actors who need to plan ahead and consider their schedules; directors need to be even more organized, since they have to consider not only their schedule, but everyone else’s schedules! But with some smart planning and clear communication, directors can keep their rehearsal and production schedule running smoothly. Read on for some useful tips!
1. Be clear and upfront about your rehearsal schedule and performance dates. Let people know these dates during auditions or even before, if possible. It will (hopefully!) save people from disappointment if they’re cast and then have to drop out because of conflicts.
2. Ask for conflicts from your cast and crew in advance. Get this information in writing so you can refer back to it later. Let people know when the cutoff date for conflicts is. Be clear about your expectations for rehearsal attendance for all parties.
3. Make a rehearsal schedule in advance and let people know about it with plenty of time. Don’t waste an actor’s time by calling them to a rehearsal they’re not needed to attend. They’ll just sit there, wasting time, possibly distracting the other actors, and feel resentful that they’re not doing anything.
4. Respect everyone’s time. Don’t keep people for hours after the scheduled rehearsal time for those last few notes. Actors and crew have families and other commitments. One of my friends sent me this recently, and it’s so true:
“As the spouse of someone who does theatre, my advice to a first time director or stage manager is plan your rehearsals well and efficiently. Give plenty of notice for who is called and when and stick to it (yes I am aware there can be the occasional exception). I’ve had to put away cold dinners for rehearsals that have run 2+ hrs late, and during the week no less.”
5. Give clear timelines to everyone involved in the show — actors, crew members, designers, producers, etc. Let them know when you expect off-book day to be. Let your costume and props team know when you’d like to have a costume parade and when you want to start working with props. Work with your producer to find out what dates you want certain marketing to occur on. The clearer and more organized you are with your timeline, the better your show process will run.
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