Behind the Scenes as a Director
A student perspective on everything needed to get a show on the road.
By Eve-Marianne Maalouf, Glendon Campus, York University
Have you ever wanted to take a seat in the Director's chair for a day? Have you ever wondered what happens backstage at the theatre? Perhaps you're even the next Martin Scorsese?
In that case, the role of a theatre director likely intrigues you. Though there are many resources to learn about directing online, it can be valuable to also have access to a class where you can get a real hands-on experience in this area. Luckily, the Glendon Campus of York University offers a course called "The Director's Process," in which you get to walk in the shoes of a theatre director for one semester. The class culminates in a final show, where your production, along with those of your peers, is showcased on the main stage. You'd have access to all of Glendon's very own theatre installations, including professional grade lighting, sound and multimedia technologies. Learn more about Glendon's Drama and Creative Arts program here.
If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, keep reading for a "behind the scenes" look at my own experience.
Baby steps: getting started in the dramatic arts
Before enrolling in The Director's Process, I had never stepped foot in a theatre. If you can also identify with this, rest assured there's no level of expertise required to take this class. As a total newbie, I was welcomed with open arms and my brain was like a sponge! Surrounded by friendly faces, it was the perfect introduction to the world of theatre. For an inside look at what it's really like to be a student in this class, check out this vlog I made leading up to our final performance!
The perfect fit: a personalized experience
Imagine a class that's tailor-made to fit your personality... That was my experience in The Director's Process. In fact, our professor only sent us the plan for the semester after getting to know us and figuring out what kind of structure we'd benefit from the most. Throughout the whole process, we were given total freedom to choose our own path. In the end, we lead our own experience, all while being supported throughout the process and benefitting from personalised guidance right up until the end.
Small class sizes: a means for collaboration
There's no better place to display the power of teamwork than on the set of a performance. Every single person matters — whether you're assigned to move a coat off stage when changing sets, or you're working the curtains. As a director, it was crucial to communicate with everyone involved. Every week, we scheduled our own rehearsals with actors. We even had meetings with technicians to plan the stage, lighting, and sound effects. The best feeling was watching it all come together beautifully in the end. It's an absolute wonder to watch, let alone to be part of!
As a whole, The Director's Process was an invaluable experience, and the lessons stretched far beyond the realm of theatre. We got to develop our leadership and collaboration skills, which can be applied in any life situation. Most importantly, we became skilled at quick problem solving and adapting to new and unexpected situations. After all, the show must go on! Regardless of where you come from or what your experiences may be, anyone can benefit from experiencing The Director's Process.
Check out The Director's Process at Glendon College