The Nottingham New Theatre

Directing

For a potential director, proposing a play at the New Theatre of course presents challenges, but you’re also free to propose a play for your love of it alone. With no university oversight, innovation and new writing are encouraged. From physical theatre, to in-the-round theatre, to theatre of the absurd and site specific plays, the New Theatre has encouraged and financed it all. So why direct? Why not act? Or produce? Or tech? Or stage manage? Or design a set? Or take one of the other myriad of opportunities that the New Theatre can offer?

Directing at the Nottingham New Theatre has been a brilliant and life-changing (I know that sounds pretty profound – but seriously it was!). Hours of brainstorming ideas and solidifying them with your producer come down to a night of nail-biting anticipation, and when you finally get that phone call there’s barely a moment to catch your breath before you’re hurled into auditions, call-backs and casting – but don’t worry, there’s so much support every step of the way. When I first started directing it was very much a case of working out blocking and mood for scenes, but having attended some of the workshops provided by the NNT, especially the clowning workshop, I now love using game-playing and workshopping to build scenes.

I’ve also been lucky enough to direct a range of plays from a period piece, a Shakespeare and a contemporary piece – something I highly recommend doing as it challenges you to find new ways of approaching different texts. Above all though, directing at the NNT has meant working closely with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met – from actors, to sound and lighting designers, to brilliant stage managers, and I love nothing more than discovering and encouraging new talent from within our membership. Directing is one of the most difficult and time-consuming opportunities the NNT offers, but its rewards are immense. My advice to anyone thinking of proposing is – do it! It’s broadened my knowledge of every aspect of theatre, challenged my in every possible way, and has brought me so much joy. Do it!” (Felicity Chilver, Director ’17)

directing

Steps

Here are the steps to follow if you are interested in putting on a play:

  1. Decide on the play you want to put on. The choice of play is totally up to you. It can be something you studied at school, a play that you’ve seen or read and loved, or a piece of original work by yourself or a friend of yours. When choosing your play it is important to consider the logistics of putting it on; one thing to consider, for example, is the number of male and female roles in your cast; about three times as many female students audition than male!
  2. You have to make sure that you can obtain the rights to put on your play in the New Theatre. The company you would have to call to enquire about rights is usually listed on the inside cover of your script.
  3. It might sound obvious but you will need a director and a producer to put on a play. If you cannot find another person to pair up with, don’t worry: the Committee will be able to find you someone after the proposals meeting.
  4. At the proposal meeting you will be asked to give a one minute presentation about why you are wanting to put on your play. Afterwards there will be a 15 minute discussion period with questions including but not limited to; a brief synopsis, reasons why your play would stand out from others, how you would overcome any obvious staging/lighting/casting difficulties and what you would require as your budget.

What to do next

We realise this sounds like a lot to do in such a short space of time. Obviously we can be flexible if your decision to put on a play is last minute. And it’s definitely worth it.

Please contact our Productions Coordinator Maddy Strauss at productions@newtheatre.org.uk if you have any questions about directing In House or our Fringe Coordinator Callum Walker at fringe@newtheatre.org.uk  if you are interested in the Fringe season. Anyone wishing to direct must complete a relevant proposals form and submit it prior to the Proposals Meeting.

The Productions Pack and a Blank Proposals form for this season have now been released. Here is the Productions Pack for this year, and here is a blank proposals form for our Fringe Season. Here is the information given out at our proposals advice meeting.