On the Care and Keeping of Educational Theatre Artists:
Tone and Perspective for Directors and Production Staff
- Allow for a student-friendly creative process to occur in design and tech areas. Use an approach that sounds as if a tech element (a cue, costume, set piece, scene shift) can be “improved,” implying a multi-step adjustment (like acting) that allows for less-than-perfect result, rather than “fixed,” implying a one step correction to make perfect.
- Avoid a double standard between directorial decisions and technical execution. If decision making and planning lacks urgency early in the process, increased urgency should not then be applied to the execution of those decisions. Directors should understand that when the approval of a design element is delayed, it reduces technicians’ ability to execute it well in the time remaining.
- During tech and dress rehearsals, student technicians and production staff must be treated with the same patience as student actors, who have been honing their performances for six or more weeks.
- Respect school/life boundaries. Avoid applying pressure for excessive activity outside the footprint of the school day, even when the process is affected by snow days or unforeseen events. We know our students are dedicated and hard-working, so we should avoid taking advantage of their willingness to stay late.
- Design priorities of the production should be identified and adjusted regularly to avoid surprises and excessive tension. When we run short on time, we may need to adjust or drop design elements.
- Directors should avoid a tone that implies an individual production should be the most important thing for the entire program and everyone involved. While production weeks often require an increased devotion of time and energy, remember the company has numerous responsibilities to balance.