But not all artistic people can become theatre directors. One must possess a few important qualities. First of all, a would-be theatre director must have excellent people skills. He/she should be able to communicate well in order to be able to express their ideas and opinions properly. Another important skill that theatre directors must possess is great management skills. In essence, a director is a manager, overseeing everything and everyone involved, from the actors to the lighting equipments. Other important characteristics include perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm, and the ability to know when to take risks. Many successful plays are the result of the combination of these things. But of course, innovation is very important. Otherwise, if a theatre director just “re-heats” a cookie cutter kind of story and claims it as his own, then the play wouldn’t be worth watching.
So what does it take to be a director? First of all, one must have a degree in English (or Literature), Theatre, Performing Arts or Music – actually, any degree involving theatre, directing or humanities. But there are cases of directors who succeeded in their field because of sheer wit, talent and luck alone – no educational background in anything related to theatre or directing. But a good background is always preferred by production and theatre companies. A good candidate shows good time management skills, excellent research capabilities; a tendency to make up innovative solutions and ideas and of course, good negotiation skills.
Most theatre directors today work freelance and rely on word of mouth in order to land jobs. That’s why it is important for aspiring theatre directors to meet with already established directors. Better yet, try working for them. Most directors start out as assistant directors in order to gain more experience and later on become full-fledged directors in their own right. In order for one to become fully established, at least ten years of good output and reputation is required. But of course there are those who skip a few years and become reputable despite their lack of age.
A theatre director’s salary is like that to an actor’s – sometimes high, sometimes none but always negotiable. The lack of source of income in some months could be supplemented by making use of talents in other jobs like setting up workshops, teaching in schools, scriptwriting and so on.