Artwork for Theatre Production Processes: Directing
Sarah Goodes in rehearsal. Photo: Alice Stephens

Theatre Production Processes: Directing

Learn more about what directors do in each stage of the theatre production process.

By Nick Tranter

Directors Dean Bryant and Sarah Goodes provide behind-the-scenes insight into their work directing plays at Melbourne Theatre Company. Watch each video, then scroll to the bottom for activities.

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In the planning stage, directors may choose scripts, select their creative team, work within budgets, plan rehearsal schedules with stage management, audition and cast actors, research, undertake dramaturgy, and more.



In the development stage, directors may run warm-ups and rehearsals, create safe working spaces, block scenes, explore the text with actors and designers, attend production meetings, integrate ideas from the company, and more.



In the presentation stage, directors may attend Previews and make notes, support the cast, respond to audience feedback, give maintenance notes throughout the season, and more.




  • What are some ways directors become involved with a show?
  • Unpack the question that directors ask when considering a play, "why this play, why now?"
  • What kinds of things might a director discuss at an interview to work on a show?
  • What are some things that determine a budget for a production?
  • When would a design team be brought on board?
  • What might a director discuss with a design team in the planning stage?
  • What are directors looking for in auditions?
  • What kinds of things might a director discuss with a stage manager during the planning stage?


  • How would you describe the goal of a director during the development stage?
  • How does the director work with the creative team during rehearsals?
  • Who is responsible for integrating different ideas during the development stage?
  • How does Dean Bryant describe style?
  • What kind of research might directors do in the development stage?
  • What are some of the differences between directing a classic play versus a new work?
  • What are some of the differences between directing a musical versus a play?
  • How can directors promote safe working practices?


  • What is the purpose of Previews?
  • What might directors look for in Previews?
  • How might directors respond to audience feedback?
  • Why might lighting be such a big concern during the presentation stage and not earlier?
  • Discuss Sarah's comments about 'moving a camera around the stage'.
  • What else might directors do during a production's season, e.g. maintenance notes.

Videos made possible by Virtual School Victoria. 


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