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In all major theatrical productions for a stage, there needs to be someone who takes charge and gives direction to all staff involved. This is the role of the theatre director, who has the responsibility of coordinating all aspects of a theatrical production, from early production stages right through until the final performance.
Theatre directors decide on the practical and creative interpretation of a dramatic script or musical score, taking into account the any constraints such as the budget or location. A script or musical score will be given to a theatre director to interpret with an artistic vision and then deliver to an audience. Directors work with personnel from all areas, including writers, actors, designers, musicians and backstage technicians. They therefore need to be able to coordinate effectively across a wide range of disciplines using their imagination and creativity.
Typical tasks might include:
Some directors are also writers, and may direct their very own productions. Most theatres are headed by an executive administrator or general manager answerable to a board, a local council or both. Directors may also spend time working as assistant directors, where they are part of the creative team on a production. In the case of a small performing company, such as a touring fringe company or a theatre-in-education group, the director may take on extra responsibilities as administrator or producer.
Most directors are usually employed on a freelance or fixed-term contract basis.