What does a Director do?

Directors are responsible for bringing a Playwright's words to life on stage or leading the Actors in a direction to create a story, called ‘devising’. They oversee every detail of the creative process and create a cohesive and compelling play by using their own artistic interpretation of the script.

What are the main responsibilities of a Director?

  • Analyse a script and understand its themes, characters and messages 
  • Develop a vision by deciding on the overall style, tone and mood of the play
  • Cast Actors
  • Plan and facilitate rehearsals
  • Collaborate with other members of the production team, such as Set Designers, Costume Designers, and Lighting Designers
  • ‘Block’ the performance by determining where Actors will move and stand on stage to enhance the storytelling 
  • Oversee technical rehearsals to ensure that technical elements like sound and lighting enhance the play
  • Attend initial performances to provide notes and feedback to the company

What qualifications do I need to be a Director?

While there are no specific qualifications needed to be a Director, these courses could be beneficial:

  • Directing
  • Acting
  • Theatre Studies
  • English Literature
  • Drama Studies

Having experience in directing through amateur dramatics or community theatre can be helpful in building your CV and understanding of your own directing style. 

Here are some subjects that you can study at school which will teach you some useful skills on your journey to becoming a Director:

  • Drama/Theatre Studies
  • English
  • Psychology 
  • History 

What skills do I need to be a Director?

If you’re thinking of becoming a Director, these can be the desirable skills to be an ideal candidate:

  • Creative vision 
  • Creative thinking 
  • Artistic and personal sensitivity
  • Leadership 
  • Collaboration and communication 
  • Technical knowledge 
  • Literature skills
  • Researching skills
  • Analytical thinking 
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability 
  • Troubleshooting 
  • Time management
  • Organisation 

What does a career in directing look like?

As a Director, you start the process by analysing the script, grasping its themes, characters and messages. You might plan what you want the play’s key message to be before the actors join. Research and development days may follow - experimenting with ideas alongside the creative team. Both creative meetings and logistical production meetings with the production team happen throughout the process.

In rehearsals you guide actors through scenes, giving direction and ensuring that your vision is successfully coming to life. During technical rehearsals, sound and lighting elements are incorporated into the play, overseen by the technical designers. There will also be dress rehearsals with all costume, set and props. Directors may watch initial performances to provide feedback, but it's not mandatory. Once the show is running, your job is done. 

Throughout the whole process, you will need to manage admin tasks, communicate with the team and balance artistic goals with practical constraints like budgets. Despite the demanding work, collaborating with talented artists to bring stories to life on stage can be highly rewarding.

How much can a Director earn?

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.


Photo: Alex Brenner

Updated: 17 May 2024

Get personalised theatre opportunities

From an organisation? Share your opportunity

You can list your training, outreach or funding opportunities for free and within minutes. Set up an account now and we’ll start helping you reach the people you need…
Read me aloud