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Top comments that mention products on r/Theatre:

u/rising_moon · 1 pointr/Theatre

Warm-ups, Games, Exercises:

This largely depends on who you are working with, but I stay away from requiring actors to do group exercises. The more experienced and professional they are, the more likely they are to resent group exercises. Experienced actors often have their own warm-ups they do before they even arrive in the rehearsal room, or that they show up early to do and feel like their time is wasted with group warm-ups. However, group warm ups can be very good if you have new actors in your cast, because they do not know HOW to warm themselves up, and it's a good way to encourage them to get in their bodies and voices without singling out the new actors. Just be prepared for some push-back.

Getting off-book:

Generally you can request that people be off book at anytime as long as you announce it early. Shy away from announcing an off-book date less than 2 weeks before the actual off-book date, which means that if you want them to come in on day-one off-book that you need to be sending e-mails 2 weeks before you begin rehearsal, at the very least. That said, it's generally accepted that if you don't give an off-book date that people should be mostly off-book during scene work and totally off-book when you start doing run throughs. Because you have three months, I would encourage you not to put the off book date too early. In fact, encourage your actors to have scripts in hand. This will help them grapple with the language on a deeper level. Also, have an off-book date (which means no books in hands, but they can still call line) and have a no-calling-line date, too (this should be much later in the process, perhaps during tech.


I think this will come down to good planning in your blocking. Find the elements that don't change from space to space (for instance, there's always a stage left and stage right entrance in every space) and do most of your blocking around that. When you're rehearsing, tape out or flesh out somehow the dimensions of different spaces that you'll be in each time - so the actors can get a feel for how each space might be different. If possible, make time to do a dress rehearsal in the space before you perform in it. Or if that's not possible because of budget or because of scheduling, make sure that you make time for your actors to walk through the space at least to get a feel for it.

Initial Sessions:

Depending on the group, I would avoid giving the actors homework. They'll have their own ideas about what kind of homework is valuable. But having a discussion about the play and doing table work is a great way to start it off. First rehearsal should be a short discussion about the play and a first read-through of the script. Then table work is usually reading the play with full-cast scene-by-scene and at the end of every scene stopping and inviting questions or responses about the scene. Because it's Shakespeare there will be a lot of questions about what a word or phrase means. While you don't have to have all the answers, you should come very prepared to explain the meaning of things, or have references readily available that you can read from. But encourage broader discussion too about theme or character, or scansion.

Minor Roles:

Absolutely do not call them to every rehearsal. They are not playing a principal role and should not be expected to show up to as many rehearsals as principals. Respect the time of minor roles by only calling them when you're working on their scene or even their french scene, but make sure that they are integrated into the cast as a whole by having regular all-calls for the cast where you do something meaningful as a group (table work, stumble throughs, dance choreography, etc)

Individual Work:

Yep, this is absolutely the status quo and is the most respectful use of people's time.

Technical Stuff:

Stage management should be there before day one. They can help you organize scheduling, and often can help you even during casting. They should be in the room every rehearsal taking blocking notes for the actors and for your reference and making notes for designers as well. (A lot of these notes will likely be props notes, for example: "Props: we're adding a handheld lantern to Act I Scene 2"). These notes can be e-mailed out to actors and designers as a rehearsal report at the end of every rehearsal. You should know who is designing from day one, but they don't need to be involved that early, necessarily. Ideally, you will have had a chat with your scenic and costume designer weeks before day 1 of rehearsal and they will be prepared to give a presentation to the actors with their scenic model, renderings, and costume illustrations, but this is not always necessary and is more the professional model than the typical community theatre model. Depending on the technical ambition of your show and your resources available, you may not even need to give a presentation to actors, but remember that you cannot start blocking until you have an idea of the set so scenic sketches should be acquired ASAP.

It's typical for all of the designers to be present at your first stumble through of the show (this might be very early on depending on how you set it up) and also customary for them to be present during the first read-through. This will help them to get an idea of where you're taking the show, and will help the scenic and lighting designer get an idea of how you're using the physical space. This is an important part of their process and if they cannot make it to the first stumble through, find another early run-through that they can attend. You should be meeting with them regularly throughout and they will probably have a better idea than you about what their milestones are and what dates those milestones will be due (costume fittings, light plots, costume parade, etc). As a new theatrical director, rely on your designers to inform your process a lot.

Apart from the first stumble through and the first read, often designers do not need to come to rehearsal until tech week, or just before tech week in order to prepare for tech week. (For example, a good experienced lighting designer will show up 2 or 3 days before tech week to write down where they think lighting cues will go in their scripts. They may even start programming earlier than tech week).

Books, Resources:

Do you have any books about this kind of stuff that you think could be useful? I've got several on the artistic side of things, but nothing about how to organise rehearsal, measuring progress, case studies, and other questions mentioned above.

You should get and read through a Stage Management book. This will answer a lot of questions you have about etiquette and about scheduling. My all time favorite stage management book is this one and another good book is this one. You should also get Notes on Directing and Tips: Ideas for Directors. This two directing books are my favorite because they are not long winded explanations about the theory of theatre - they are practical, very short snippets of advice and that you can take piece-meal. Another great book for Shakespeare is Mastering Shakespeare by Scott Kaiser. This is a great book about the actors process with Shakespeare, so as a director it might not seem super helpful, but it really and truly is, especially if you're new to the theatrical process - understanding how the theatrical actors process is different than films is very important. Another very good series on acting Shakespeare is the series that BBC aired called Playing Shakespeare by Jon Barton and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Here's a link to youtube, they have almost the full series online. I'd recommend particularly the video I linked to on Verse and another video they have on Rehearsing Shakespeare.

u/theangryfix · 9 pointsr/Theatre

I'll try to respond to each item:
Rehearsal Time: 3, 4, or 5 nights a week is reasonable. As long as you don't have every actor called to every rehearsal. (I'll discuss this more later.)
Schedule: Plan out what you are going to work at every rehearsal. For example, on Monday we are working Act I Scenes 1-2. Call only the actors that are in those scenes. Work those scenes, run those scenes move on. If I have a long enough rehearsal process I like to plan in 30 minutes to 1 hour of rehearsal for every minute of show.
Warm-ups and Exercises: I'm a firm believer that these are activities that actors should take care of before rehearsal begins. Sometimes you'll encounter an activity or an exercise that will help with a scene or a moment in the show, then, by all means, work it into the rehearsal
Off Book: An expectation that I have for my actors is that the third time I run a scene, they are off book. They may not have a scene memorized at the start of rehearsal, but if you're using your rehearsal time well, they will have it memorized by the end. You can also set official off-book dates. With Shakespeare I would do it by Act. Let's say that I'm going to block and work Act I over 1 week. Well, the final rehearsal that week would be the official off-book date for Act I.
Staging: Venue size shouldn't matter too much. If your actors are comfortable in what they are doing, then they'll be able to adjust. If you can secure them a bit of time to work in each venue before hand that would be ideal. Just enough time for them to work their spacing and to move around the space and get comfortable.
Initial Sessions: I like to have a brief discussion with my cast, introduce the designers and stage manager, review the production calendar, and then do a table read. It's ideal if your designers are at the table read, but I know that doesn't happen all the time. Discuss your ideas about the characters, but don't dictate exactly what you want. As for character research, that is part of the actor's job description. Rehearsal is a place for the actor to try out the work they've done on their own. The director is there to shape what the actor brings, not to dictate what is seen.
Minor Roles: Call them when needed. Invite them to come to sit in at any rehearsal, but only call them when you need them. There's nothing worse than feeling like someone is wasting your time.
Individual Work: (See Above)
Technical Work: Preferably before you've even auditioned. You should have production meetings before you ever start working with actors, get everyone on the same page. Invite them to the table read.
Books and Resources: [Stage Management] ( [Tips: Ideas for Directors] (
Hearts and Minds: Don't waste their time. Be well prepared for every rehearsal. Do your director homework. Study, analyze, and plan. If you don't have an answer to an actor's question, find it as soon as you leave that night. Have an answer for them the next day before you even start rehearsal.
Actor Wishlist: This is strictly my opinion, feel free to ignore it. Don't give a line reading. Nothing more humiliating as an actor than for a director to have to give you a line reading.

That's how I work. I would absolutely kill for a 3 month rehearsal process.

u/_apunyhuman_ · 2 pointsr/Theatre

I think there are a lot of good answer in this thread, but i just wanted to add the link to Brecht on Theater, a collection of essays written by Brecht regarding his view of theater.

Also this book 20th Century Theatre which does a good job of boiling down the salient bits from Brecht on Theater, as well as including essays from some of Brecht's actors (e.g., Helene Weigel). This is also a great reference for pretty much everyone of note in 20th Cent. Theater, from Vakhtangov and Mayakovsky, down through Brecht, Grotowski, Peter Brook, etc.

u/thesilversnitch · 1 pointr/Theatre

This has good reviews on Amazon! I would just look around there for books! You'll find some good things. Also knowing period makeup and what was popular for men and women in each decade is super helpful!

The Makeup Artist Handbook: Techniques for Film, Television, Photography, and Theatre

u/PhillipBrandon · 13 pointsr/Theatre

I love the Sondheim productions from the 80s

>Sunday in the Park with George

>Into the Woods

>Sweeney Todd

But I'm also pretty fond of the Donny Osmond
> Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat

which was produced for recording, and not just a filmed stage production, but still manages to feel very theatrical.

For a bit of variety, I'll throw in
> Pippin

> Kiss Me Kate

I don't remember if Kiss Me Kate was a theatrical production or a sound-stage, I think I've seen a couple of versions of that, but it's really good.

The Great Performances recordings of productions are always fantastic, but sometimes hard to track down.

u/LouisIV · 1 pointr/Theatre

That's a fantastic book and if she's a Tina Fey fan, [Bossypants] ( is a fantastic book and she has 'bits' in Live From New York, a collection of cast member's experiences on SNL and a history of the show. Glad she liked it!

u/OldHob · 3 pointsr/Theatre

Rather than /r/askhistory I would try /r/askhistorians. The responses tend to be much better.

Btw, this would be a fantastic topic for a research paper.

edit: Just did a cursory search on Google Scholar. The book Out on Stage by Alan Sinfield seems like a great starting point.

u/iiredsoxii · 2 pointsr/Theatre

I am a director and I was given this book a long time ago. At first, I didn't know what to make of someone giving me a book about directing, but it really is great.

It is now my go to gift to get for new directors.

u/BobBeaney · 1 pointr/Theatre

I think for the ordinary schmoe (like me, for instance) "contact the SM and ask for access" for a video recording of a play isn't really a practical option.

But there are some excellent productions recorded on DVDs, available commercially. I have a few :

The American Film Theatre Collection


Sunday in the Park with George

FWIW I heartily recommend them all.

u/ActionRick · 1 pointr/Theatre

This is usually a winner:

I usually keep a few tins on hand just in case. You can also buy them on Amazon, and a lot of independent booksellers if you've got a local shop you want to support.

Sharpie used to sell a stainless steel marker, but it was discontinued. I'm also a fan of the following for just about any creative-type:

EDIT: added a hyphen where it felt needed.

u/source4man · 1 pointr/Theatre

I wrote out a huge nice reply and accidentally hit back... Long story short: This book if you want to actually learn about the history of theatre by reading through representational plays of many eras and genres that are well annotated and explained. I highly recommend this. Be warned, you might actually have to think.

If you just want a text book that is boring and gives you facts, figures, and dates: Here it is.

u/cquinn1 · 1 pointr/Theatre

If she wants to Stage Manage professionally you should look into a light weight headset. I just got one for my birthday and I love it. Mine is from Production Advantage, but other places sell them too. This is what I got:

Another good thing for a theatre technician is The Backstage Handbook:

u/Griffie · 1 pointr/Theatre

Try some beard balm like this. It can help with the itch some. It's kind of hit and miss to find one that works, so you might have to try a few.

u/theatremints · 4 pointsr/Theatre

I second the recommendation for Jory's book, and I really like Notes on Directing too.

u/BadAtMarketingAndPR · 1 pointr/Theatre

For finer points beyond our advice, I would strongly recommend reading Reginald Nelson's How To Start A Theater Company. There will be nuanced differences in following his advice since he's speaking from a US POV, and you're Canadian, but the overall step by step approach applies.

u/SonOfSalem · 3 pointsr/Theatre

I found this book to be a nice resource. Some of it I knew already, but some things I hadn't thought of. I don't know how advanced you are so I apologize if this is too basic.

u/mahollinger · 1 pointr/Theatre

Another great book, if interested in the psychology of combat and fighting is On Killing by Dave Grossman.