A theater director or stage director is a professional in the field of theater who oversees and orchestrates the production of theater such as plays, operas, dances, dramas and musical theater performances by unifying the various activities and aspects of production.

The function of the director is to ensure the quality and completeness of the production of theater and to lead the members of the creative team to realize their artistic vision for it. In doing so, the Director collaborates with a team of creative individuals and other staff to coordinate research and work on all aspects of production, including the technical and performance aspects. Technical aspects include: stage design, costume design, theatrical properties (props), lighting design, set design and sound design for production. Performance aspects include: acting, dance, orchestra, singing, and stage combat.

If the production is a new piece of writing or a (new) play translation, the director may also work with a playwright or a translator. In contemporary theater, after the playwright, the director is generally the visionary principle, making decisions on the artistic conception and interpretation of the play and its performance. The different directors occupy different positions of authority and responsibility, depending on the structure and philosophy of the individual theater companies. Directors use a wide range of techniques, philosophies and levels of collaboration.

Styles of Directing

Directing is an art form that has grown with the development of theater theory and theater practice. With the emergence of new trends in theatre, the directors have also adopted new methodologies and engaged in new practices. The interpretation of the drama, at the end of the 20th century, had become central to the work of the director. Relativism and psychoanalytic theory have influenced the work of innovative directors such as Peter Brook, Ingmar Bergman, Peter Stein and Giorgio Strehler.

Kimberly Senior, Director of Disgraced on Broadway, explains her role as director by saying, “I get to take things that were previously in one dimension and put them in three dimensions, using my imagination and my intellect and the skills of the people.”

Once a show has been opened (premiered before a regular audience), theater directors are generally considered to have fulfilled their role. From that point on, the stage manager will remain in charge of all the essential concerns.

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