For directors

NLA Directors: Guidelines and Benefits

Directors should be current members of NLA.
They should have previous professional experience, with at least two recognised professional contracts as a director,
or have led as an apprentice director for two NLA Circle Readings,
or have previous directing experience with NLA, or similar playreading groups.

Directors are assigned to specific readings by the NLA committee member responsible for directors. Decisions are based on the director's professional experience.

Having had a play choice accepted, or been invited to direct a specific play, or lead a Circle Reading, the director is required to prepare the script as soon as possible and then liaise with the NLA committee member responsible for casting. Copies of the script must be made available for each member of the cast, especially if the play is obscure and difficult to find. The director, together with the NLA committee member responsible for casting, will ensure that each member of the play's cast has a script in good time prior to the rehearsal day.

Casting decisions are normally made between the NLA committee member responsible for casting and the play's director.
Rehearsals are usually held on the Sunday prior to the performance day (whether a Wednesday or a Monday) and once the rehearsal arrangements have been confirmed the administration of the rehearsal and performance become the sole responsibility of the director.

  • Rehearsals are generally between 12 – 6 or less, and time is allowed for lunch, which is provided.
  • As rehearsal time is short and the language of the play possibly archaic, it is vital that the director prepares for the rehearsal in good time, and that he/she has a clear interpretation and a proposed blocking scheme already prepared to present to the cast. The director should make costume suggestions, appropriate to character, and a minimal use of props if so desired.
  • If the director decides to use sound effects, it is vital to have a sounds effects plot prepared before the rehearsal and to ensure that this is ready by the rehearsal day.
  • As the cast are professional and giving freely of their time, it is appropriate and polite that their suggestions and opinions are considered during the rehearsal process. However the director is responsible for delivery of the play and so is expected to maintain focus and direction to ensure the optimum use of an, admittedly, brief rehearsal period. NLA depends upon a spirit of positive cooperation amongst its members.
  • Directors are expected to realise an NLA reading with the same commitment as a professional engagement.
  • Directing for NLA gives both practiced directors, and those wanting further experience, an invaluable opportunity to work on neglected texts and plays not customarily included in the normal repertoire.

'It is frequently said that theatres today are minimising their repertoire, for fear that audiences will not come to see anything they do not already know. Happily, NLA goes in the other direction.'
Helen Cashin, actor and NLA member

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